Our 5 Favorite 2018 Holiday Marketing Campaigns

As the holiday advertising season seems to creep earlier and earlier up to the day after Halloween, it’s clear that the competition for holiday shoppers’ attention and dollars is steeper than ever. As marketers and consumers, we’re all cognizant of just how competitive this brief season is. Today we want to share five of our favorite 2018 holiday marketing campaigns that inspire us to up our marketing game.

1. John Lewis & Partners “The Boy and the Piano”

All of the campaigns we love do more than just sell product. In John Lewis & Partners “The Boy and the Piano” we journey through the life of Sir Elton John from present day back to when he was a little boy.

At the end of the ad we see a little boy receiving the gift of a piano–the same one John is seated at when the commercial starts. We’re left with the message, “some gifts are more than just a gift.”

Through storytelling John Lewis & Partners masterfully reminds us that a gift can really change someone’s life. On YouTube, the spot has been viewed over 11 million times.

2. Apple “Share Your Gifts”

Apple also released an ad that does more than just promote MacBooks and iPhones. In an animated spot, “Share Your Gifts” serves as a reminder that we should not only share presents, but our talents with others.

It features a young creative woman that continually creates but hides it from everyone around her.  Even as she goes through her life (at work, on the bus, etc.), the woman’s creativity shines, but she quickly hides it so no one can see. When her creations float out the window, she runs desperately outside to retrieve them, but it’s too late. People have discovered her work—and to her surprise, enjoyed it.

The ad no doubt resonates with creatives, risk takers, and anyone who has feared rejection in their work. Apple reminds us all that falling prey to perfectionism paralysis does not serve us and it doesn’t serve those who may be touched by our work either. This spot has been viewed on YouTube over 8 million times.

3. L.L. Bean “2018 Holiday”

L.L. Bean’s 2018 holiday spot conjures up classic Christmas commercials of yore (Folgers coffee, anyone?), but quickly surprises viewers when a Grinch-like experience befalls the family. Then joy ensues when the children realize the parents have moved the Christmas celebration outside. This ad does a great job of connecting the holidays with families and the great outdoors. It’s visually stunning and tugs at the heart strings.

4. Tiffany “Believe in Dreams”

Tiffany’s 2018 holiday ad is an example of retailers opting for short films over the traditional commercials. “Believe in Dreams” is a short film starring Zoe Kravitz inspired by Alice in Wonderland. The director of Beyoncé’s Lemonade, Mark Romanek, shot the fantastical campaign in their flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York. The spot includes cameos by Naomi Campbell, Xiao Wen Ju, Karen Elson and Maye Musk.

“Believe in Dreams” is one of our favorites because of its visual appeal. It maintains the Tiffany branding while coming across almost futuristic in its science fiction storytelling. The ad has garnered over 8 million views on YouTube.

5. Microsoft “Reindeer Games”

“Reindeer Games” made our list because, again, it’s a feel good spot. Microsoft brings a refreshing look at everyday Americans, kids living in split-level homes stopping whatever they are doing to gather to celebrate with a friend as he wins a computer game. This ad not only resonates with gamers out there, but anyone who has felt the joy of a shared win. It’s a reminder of the joy and innocence of childhood. And it attempts to show that technology can bring people together rather than make the world a more isolating place.

Each of our favorite 2018 holiday marketing campaigns are creative, built on great storytelling, visually appealing, and quickly get the viewer invested in the world of its protagonists. These serve as a great reminder that excellent marketing doesn’t just promote products. It brings up themes that connect with the humanity in us all.

by Mckinley Marketing Partners