British retailer John Lewis may have deployed Snapchat lenses to boost its lavish annual TV ad, but 44% of UK mobile users still reported not having experienced a single Holiday campaign on their phones this year (Marketing Week, 2016).
Linear TV is the primary battleground for advertisers vying for the most evocative Christmas campaign – but brands are missing a trick by not providing digital channels for conversion and connection alongside their blockbuster efforts.
A few brands attempted to engage with online culture. Microsoft played into the memes surrounding Yule log videos with a macabrely branded video promoting its Dead Rising games franchise, while Burger King combined Yule logs with holiday jumpers. Scottish whisky brand Lagavulin created an experience not dissimilar to watching a crackling fireplace, with an hour-long video featuring the famously stoic US actor Nick Offerman sipping whisky in silence. Finally, Icelandic vodka brand Reyka lampooned often-eventless Facebook Live broadcasts with a two-hour live stream wishing every Icelander a Merry Christmas by name. However, these campaigns also fail to connect to a larger brand narrative or genuine customer concern.
Alternatively, Budweiser's US ride-hailing partnership with Lyft earlier this year – in which free rides were given out to curb drunk driving – demonstrated how to reach seasonal customers by addressing current needs. Such mobile-enabled utilities give brands a chance to be an appreciated part of the festivities and the stressful weeks leading up to them.
For more on marketing by providing useful services, see Mastering the Attention Economy: Social Media Week London 2016. To stay on top of developments in online culture, follow our monthly Pop Culture Round-Ups.