5 Best Holiday PR Campaigns

December 23, 2014 Matt Allison: Founder, Chief Strategy Officer

elfyourselfGreat holiday PR campaigns require a little bit of finesse. Of course you want to exploit the season to spread your brand’s message, but you don’t want to look like you are exploiting the season to spread your brand’s message, at least not too much. We think the PR pros responsible for these 5 best holiday PR campaigns nailed it.

Office Max – Elf Yourself

In 2006 OfficeMax introduced the “Elf Yourslef” website, which lets users upload a photo of themselves and friends or family to see it transformed into a dancing elf video. The videos are hilarious and perfect for sharing. We love that this campaign is all about holiday fun and social networking. More than 800,000,000 dancing elf videos have been created.

Macy’s – A Million Reasons to Believe

Macy’s annual campaign to donate a dollar to the Make-A-Wish foundation for every letter to Santa that they collect appeals to both people’s giving spirit, and the nostalgia of a childhood Christmas.  In the last seven years, the campaign has raised more than $8.7 million dollars. This year, Macy’s is also asking people to help set a new world record for the longest wish list to Santa at macys.com/believe.

American Express – Small Business Saturday

When most people think about post-Thanksgiving (or lately, on Thanksgiving) shopping, they think big. American Express decided to go small by encouraging shoppers to patronize small businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. To help spread the word, and the American Express brand, they provided businesses with free Facebook ad templates, and social media scripts.

Butterball - Turkey Talk Line

Cooking the perfect turkey is tricky and most people don’t cook turkey that often, so Butterball set out to help. For more than 30 years, professionally trained turkey experts have staffed the Turkey Talk Line to answer all sorts of turkey related questions. Between November and December, more than 50 experts answer over 100,000 questions, for thousands of home cooks in the US and Canada. The campaign is a brilliant example of creating deeper connections by adding value to the customer.

Coke – Santa Clause

It can be reasonably argued that Coke invented the modern big, jolly, red-suited image of Santa Clause.  Before 1931, Santa was depicted as everything from a Norse huntsman, to a spooky-looking elf.  That year, Coke commissioned illustrator Haddon Sundblom to create advertising using Santa, and thus the traditional plump, friendly, welcoming, and human Christmas icon was born. Coke has featured Santa prominently in its holiday advertising ever since.

Each of these brands took a different approach to earning customer attention during the busy holiday season. Their success is based on finding a natural fit with the needs and emotions of their customers at this time of year. That’s a good place to start when considering your own holiday PR campaigns.

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