Marketing / Social Media

The Art of Persuasion: How to Influence Customers with Clever Christmas Inspired Digital Marketing Campaigns

July 7, 2023 , 6 minutes
Christmas Digital Marketing

In lieu of the traditional Christmas TV commercial, brands have been mixing up their marketing approach with more innovative digital campaigns designed to surprise, delight and of course persuade consumers over the festive season. Some companies have chosen to gamify their campaign with interactive user experiences, while others have partnered with influencers or run real-life stunts intended to go viral on social media. Here are a few ways to wow consumers over the holidays, with notable examples of campaigns that integrated these approaches. 

Collaborate with influencers and celebrities

Collaboration is an excellent way to persuade consumers towards engaging and buying your product or service. Collaboration from a digital marketing sense usually involves an ‘influencer’ who already has a loyal and wide audience who align as your intended target market.

Coca-Cola is well known for their feel-good Christmas campaigns. In 2021, the company partnered with Cameo, a platform that connects fans with celebrities. American consumers were given the opportunity to register on Coca-Cola’s website for a chance to win a personalised video in English, Spanish, or French, in the spirit of “spreading the magic of human connections.”

The two companies also hosted a live event introducing Coca-Cola’s “Real Magic” short film, with surprise appearances by celebrity guests. This campaign was inspired by the social-distancing and lockdown restrictions brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, which prevented kids from meeting Santa in shopping malls and families and friends from visiting each other over the holidays.

Create relatable, emotional Christmas narratives

Creating relatable, emotional narratives in your Christmas-inspired digital marketing campaigns allows you to forge a deep connection with your audience. By incorporating real-life situations, personal anecdotes, and heartfelt storytelling, you can evoke emotions that resonate with your customers, making your brand more relatable and memorable during the holiday season.

Disney’s animated short-film trilogy “From My Family to Yours” demonstrates the power of a compelling story. Released in three instalments in 2019, 2020, and 2021 on the Disney Plus streaming service, the films received hundreds of millions of views worldwide. The touching story follows the life of a young girl, Nicole, and her relationships with different members of her family as she transitions into adulthood and has children of her own. In the final instalment, “The Gift,” Nicole’s daughter, Ella, is at the centre of the story. This Christmas, she feels disappointed that her pregnant mother can’t participate in all the usual Christmas traditions with her. To comfort his sister, Ella’s older brother, Max, gives her a Mickey Mouse toy, lifting her spirits. When her new baby brother arrives, she passes on the toy to him.

The series was created to encourage viewers to donate to its decades-long charity partner, Make-A-Wish. The foundation helps grant the wishes of critically ill children, such as meeting Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters. For “The Gift,” Disney pledged to match all donations up to 100,000 USD.

Leverage social media and optimise for mobile

Leveraging social media platforms is essential for reaching and engaging a wide audience during Christmas. By strategically utilising platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and optimising your content for mobile devices, you can maximise your campaign’s visibility and accessibility, ensuring seamless user experiences and increased engagement with your brand during the holiday season.

To launch its 2013 Christmas campaign, “Believe in Magic and Sparkle,” Marks & Spencer (M&S) introduced a “Pass the Parcel” game for mobile and desktop. The online game, a reimagination of a classic British board game, was available to Facebook users who registered to play. For six days leading up to a week before Christmas, each user could “unwrap” a parcel that possibly contained one of over 45,000 prizes that could be redeemed in store. If a user didn’t win, they could pass the parcel on to a friend. The incentive was to spread Christmas cheer by maximising customer engagement. The strategy worked—within 24 hours, 350,000 people had played the game, and M&S gained thousands of new Facebook followers. At its peak level of popularity, 76,000 people were passing parcels simultaneously.

Given the campaign’s success, M&S increased their number of prizes to 200,000 in 2015. Extra initiatives were introduced for this version, including the chance to win extra “unwraps” by sharing the game with friends. The campaign was a resounding success, leading to improved customer sentiment on social media, more brand mentions, and thousands of extra customers visiting M&S stores. 

Personalise the experience

Personalising the experience in your Christmas-inspired digital marketing campaigns involves tailoring your messaging, offers, and interactions to individual customers. By utilising customer data, preferences, and behaviours, you can deliver targeted content and recommendations that make customers feel valued, enhancing their engagement and fostering a stronger connection with your brand during the holiday season.

Canadian airline WestJet aced this strategy with their 2013 “Christmas Miracle” campaign. While scanning their boarding passes at their gates, more than 250 passengers travelling to Calgary from Toronto and Hamilton were met with a virtual Santa who asked them what they wanted for Christmas. Little did they know, WestJet staff were listening intently. The team quickly shopped for the wish list while the passengers were in flight and delivered the neatly wrapped gifts on the baggage carousel when the passengers landed. In the span of only a few days, the WestJet-produced video of the stunt, which they released on their YouTube channel, went viral on social media, reaching over 13 million views—all this for only a fraction of the cost of a traditional TV commercial. 

Run giveaways and encourage user-generated content

Running giveaways and encouraging user-generated content are effective strategies to drive engagement and create a buzz around your Christmas digital marketing campaigns. Giveaways incentivise participation and generate excitement, while user-generated content boosts brand advocacy and social proof, as customers become active participants in sharing their experiences and spreading the word about your brand during the festive season.

Throughout December 2017, squads of Starbucks employees took to the streets of the United States, gifting 50,000 Starbucks Cards, each valued at $20, to people attending various community Christmas events, like tree-lighting ceremonies. The motivation behind “Project Give Good” was simple: “to give customers the opportunity to take a break or catch up with a loved one over coffee.” To drive engagement, Starbucks also released customisable holiday cups with plenty of blank space for colouring, encouraging customers to post pictures of their decorated cups on social media with the hashtag #GiveGood.

By mastering the art of persuasion through clever Christmas-inspired digital marketing campaigns, businesses can effectively influence, create meaningful connections and drive engagement with their customers during the holiday season.