10 wonderfully experiential Christmas marketing campaigns

10 wonderfully experiential Christmas marketing campaigns

Catalyst is known for our cutting-edge experiential marketing campaigns. We love to get creative and bring people into new worlds where they can have hands-on experiences with brands. The result? A memory audiences won’t soon forget and, more importantly, one that will influence their future buying decisions. And what better time to launch a powerful campaign than the holiday season? Here’s a look at some of our 10 favorite holiday marketing campaigns.

Pop-up Campaigns

A pop-up campaign involves a company creating a small, temporary physical location. It may be inside another store, in a mall, on the street, or anywhere a brand foresees their target audience being present. The purpose is to make an impact, boost brand awareness, and drive sales. Here’s a look at some creative and interesting campaigns by big name brands.

1. Amazon’s ‘Home of Black Friday’

It’s hard to talk about marketing during the holiday season without at least one mention of Black Friday, perhaps the biggest shopping day of the year and the day when many people do their Christmas shopping. For two years in a row now, Amazon has launched pop-up shops for Black Friday that have the look and feel of a home.

Last year, eight rooms were uniquely themed including a fully-functional kitchen and a living room equipped with gaming tech and a workshop space. Each room had a variety of different products that were on sale. Visitors could go room-by-room to sample the products and could also take part in free activities such as makeovers, candle making, yoga, cocktail master classes and tastings, and competitions with hundreds of prizes. This helped to bring Amazon’s online marketplace to life and created a buzz about the brand’s Black Friday sale.

2. Ferrero Rocher’s ‘Behind the Layers Pop-up’

Next, who doesn’t love those gold-wrapped chocolate and almond treats by Ferrero Rocher? Well in 2017, the brand launched a luxurious pop-up to reveal what is behind everyone’s favorite Christmas chocolates.

Inside, visitors were welcomed to participate in a multi-layered tasting experience which included sounds to enhance the mood, aromas of nuts and chocolate, ambient lighting, Ferrero-Rocher-inspired cocktails, and, of course, the original chocolates. This campaign fully-immersed the target audience in the brand, resulted in digital activation from all of the content shared on social media, and helped the company learn more about what resonates with its customers.

3. Estee Lauder’s ‘Christmas Workshop Pop-Up’

Estee Lauder launched a pop-up shop in central London for the month of December. It was inside the brand’s main office and looked like a home that was decorated for Christmas festivities. Inside, visitors would find limited edition gift sets from some of the brand’s most well-known companies like Bumble & Bumble. Additionally, a variety of beauty-themed workshops were featured.

Beauty campaign Christmas

4. Tiffany and Co. ‘Christmas Pop-Up’

Another example is Tiffany and Co. which hosted a pop-up in the St. Pancras station in London where it was offering fragrances and gift-wrapping services. However, what made this pop-up amazing is that it was located under a 43-foot Christmas tree also placed by the jeweler. The tree had more than 1,800 decorations and pumped out the brand’s eau de parfum scent!

These four pop-up campaigns demonstrate the concept and how to implement it successfully.

Experiential Campaigns

Next, let’s look at some experiential marketing campaigns which involve a strategy that engages consumers in-person using branded experiences.

5. KLM Royal Dutch Airways’ ‘Bonding Buffet’

Traveling during the holidays can be tough, especially if you are alone. KLM Royal Dutch Airways aimed to ease weary, lonely travelers by bringing them together for a free, delicious Christmas feast. How in the world did they do that? Very cleverly.

The brand built a circular platform that had 20 stools positioned in a circle. In the middle, was a table complete with the ready-to-eat feast but it was elevated 4.5 meters in the air. In order for the table to drop down, all 20 seats had to be filled. Once they were, the people in the seats could share the feast together.

What a fun and exciting way to bring people together and lighten up someone’s travel day. Plus, we all know how expensive airport food can be so a free meal is always a win! This was a great way to associate the brand with positive emotions.

6. West Jet’s ‘Christmas Miracle Campaign’

West Jet got very creative and generous with it’s Christmas campaign in Canada. It had a live video link that featured Santa asking passengers what they wanted for Christmas. The passengers put in their requests while waiting to board the plane. To the surprise of 250 travelers, when they went to get their luggage, the gifts they had asked for appeared on a festive carousel! There were items from socks to giant TVs!

7. Carlsberg’s ‘If Carlsberg Did Christmas Trees’

Carlsberg combined two things people love, Christmas trees and beer!  In its campaign, “If Carlsberg Did Christmas Trees,” which was held in London’s Southbank, the brand studded a tree with 100 limited edition ‘beerbles’ which were beer bottle ornaments. Visitors could grab a beerble, and then fill it up with beer at the tap for free, taking them home afterwards.

At the same time, people could participate online by trying to guess how many beerbles were on the tree. Winners received the chance to win a variety of prizes. This campaign was a success as it stuck to its core brand message, incorporating a social media competition for those who couldn’t attend, and creating an experience that was perfect for sharing on social media.


Digital Interactive Campaigns

Now let’s talk about digital interactive campaigns which create fun brand experiences in the virtual world.

8. Google’s Santa Tracker

Google launched a Santa Tracker which allows visitors to play, learn, and explore with Santa and the elves for the month of December. It has been around for a few years with its feature evolving over time. It’s great for kids and fun for adults too with interactive content pieces and a series of mini-games. This was a great way for Google to entertain people online and create positive associations with its brand.

9.  Coca Cola’s Ugly Christmas Sweater Battle

Coca-Cola adopted the ugly sweater trend that is so popular around the holidays by allowing people to design their own ugly sweater online. The goal was to create the ugliest sweater possible. The top 100 ugliest sweaters, chosen by the brand, would receive the real-life version of their ugly online creation! What a fun idea and creative way to engage the audience with the brand.

10. Ted Baker’s IG Game #SantasElfie

Lastly, Ted Baker, the clothing and accessory brand, launched an innovative treasure hunt game on Instagram. Customers were invited to try and find missing elves by following a series of clues in the form of images. Each image had a picture with a caption which told if an elf was nearby or not. Those who found the elves were entered to win prizes such as bracelets, hip flasks, and even a trip to see the Northern Lights!

Launch a Highly Impactful Holiday Campaign For Your Brand

We hope these campaigns have gotten the wheels turning on what is possible for your brand. At Catalyst, we specialize in experiential marketing campaigns which can include pop-ups and digital activations. We will help your brand to penetrate your market in a highly impactful and fun way that drives the results your company needs. And, don’t forget, these types of campaigns can be great for the Chinese New Year too! Ready to get started? Reach out to our team today!