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10 Best Holiday Marketing Campaigns of the Decade

Each year agencies and brands pull out some of their best work to create holiday ad campaigns that really make an impact. As we’re winding down this decade, let’s revisit ten of the best campaigns from the last ten years. 

10 Best Holiday Marketing Campaigns of the 2010s

  1. http://inklingsandyarns.com/2012/01/new-toy-tuesday-christmas-gifts/ REI #OptOutside (2015)
    In 2015 REI flipped the Black Friday script and announced they would be closing their doors and giving their entire staff a paid day off. The move was a risky one but it proved to pay off separating REI from its competitors.

2. Prokhladnyy John Lewis & Partners, #EltonJohnLewis, (2018)
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.

3. American Express Small Business Saturday (2010)
American Express launched a campaign that turned into an official federal government recognized day, “Small Business Saturday.” AmEx showed that they are the credit card for small businesses. And Small Business Saturday has flourished over the years, shedding light on how “shopping small” supports the local businesses that impact their communities.

4. Google Assistant, Home Alone, Again. (2018)
Google revisited the classic film Home Alone with its star Macaulay Culkin to show how Google Assistant can be used. The film was a great one to revisit as the nostalgia factor is high for Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials.

5. Spotify’s “#2018Goals” (2017)
Running in 18 markets worldwide, this was the largest and first of its kind: a blend of hyper local data analytics, hilarious copywriting, and outdoor display advertising.

6. Microsoft Holiday Magic (2019)
This year’s holiday spot from Microsoft shows off the company’s new Microsoft Translator while telling a charming story about Lucy and the reindeer. While most holiday ad campaigns don’t directly promote a product, this ad does an excellent job of incorporating a product without sacrificing storytelling and the “warm and fuzzies” we expect from memorable holiday campaigns.

7. Believe, Macy’s (2010)
Macy’s “Believe” campaign gives guests the opportunity to have a magical experience writing letters to Santa while also supporting a good cause. For every letter written to Santa through Believe, Macy’s donates $1 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

8. Misunderstood, Apple (2013)
Apple’s holiday commercials tend to be a hit year after year, but this one showing a “misunderstood” teen who is using the iPhone to create something special for his family is a longtime crowd favorite.

9. Lagavulin: Nick Offerman’s Yule Log (2015)
Lagavulin banked on Nick Offerman’s popularity by perching the actor in an armchair next to a fireplace. The ten-hour version below is a particular treat. “This is smart branding on Lagavulin’s part,” Kristina Monllos wrote for AdWeek. “Creating an extended ad that can serve as a conversation starter — should consumers swap the traditional Yule Log video for Offerman’s at parties — will also get everyone talking about the brand.”

10. ET Holiday Reunion by Xfinity (2019)
This year Xfinity joined in the nostalgic movie fun by reconnecting E.T. and his buddy Elliott 37 years after the original film was released. The “reunion” shows all of the new technology that has been created since E.T. last visited earth. This ad satisfies any longings we previously had for a sequel.

Technology companies tend to lead the pack when it comes to heartwarming and memorable commercials, but retailers like Macy’s, American Express, and REI have created some of the most culture-shifting, buzzed about campaigns of the decade. All in all the best content created for the holiday season includes a touch of nostalgia, child-like wonder or simply serves as a reminder of what the holidays really should be about: celebrating with the ones we love most.

by McKinley Marketing Partners