Q4 is a pivotal time for businesses. The winter holiday rush means that advertisers need to meticulously plan their campaigns and marketing spend. Below, we’ve outlined the most compelling cultural touchstones of October, November and December along with examples of innovative campaigns to give you a dose of inspiration this holiday season.
October is the official month of breast cancer awareness. One in eight American women will develop breast cancer over her lifetime. Many brands are moved to participate in National Breast Cancer Awareness Month to support customers and employees who have been affected by breast cancer. The National Football League (NFL) launched their “A Crucial Catch: Screening Saves Lives” campaign to remind women about the importance of having a regular mammogram.
They encouraged fans to visit NFL.com/pink to sign up for a personal screening reminder, donate to the American Cancer Society, and post a social pledge to get screened or to help a loved one to make time to get screened. They also had players wear pink gear on the field for the month of October, to keep the initiative at the forefront of fans’ minds.
Halloween is a 9-billion-dollar industry and despite the pandemic, consumers are still going to want to celebrate. Although there will be more masks and gloves than usual!
Burger King’s #ScaryClownNight was one of the most talked about Halloween campaigns. It kicked off with a 90-second video in which a young man flees an army of scary clowns. One of the clowns bears an uncanny resemblance to Burger Kings’ arch nemesis’ mascot, Ronald McDonald. It also included real-life meetups of scary clowns at Burger Kings nationwide.
On Veterans Day, Americans take a moment to appreciate those who have served in our armed forces. Many brands publicly thank veterans by posting on social media or sending out emails. A simple “thank you” over social media can go a long way, especially in a month inundated with Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. Athletic company Under Armour partnered with actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to show their appreciation for vets, posting the below picture to their Instagram page.
Thanksgiving is a great time of year to express thanks to your customers. In light of COVID-19, using this time to appreciate your customers is more important than ever. Some of your customers are struggling with loss of loved ones, job loss, loneliness or the stress of working while juggling remote learning and childcare.
To show thanks to their customers, TD Bank created their #MakeTodayMatter campaign. The bank gave 24 customers across the U.S. and Canada $30,000, that they were to use to give back to their communities. Customers chose to give back by feeding the homeless, installing ramps for disabled people, and more. Watch the video below to see more about how the 24 customers used that money to help others.
Black Friday it the busiest day of the year for brick-and-mortar retailers. As the COVID-19 Delta variant proliferates, it’s hard to know how in-store shopping will be affected. Black Friday is best known for its door busting foot traffic. In 2020, pandemic precautions lead retailers to move Black Friday sales to earlier in November and push sales online. Burt’s Bees, Target and Macy’s all adopted this strategy in 2020. As we approach 2021, we may see similar strategies bear out.
With Black Friday restricted, retailers should shore up their ecommerce strategies in preparation of Cyber Monday. In 2020, Cyber Monday was the biggest shopping day of the year, and it will likely hit new levels of success in 2021.
All brands offer deals for Cyber Monday; sales, sale on sale, free shipping, and BOGO are all popular. Beauty retailer Sephora offers extra gifts and rewards points for their loyalty rewards members. Other retailers will partner up with a different brand to stand out. For example, sock company Bombas teamed up with Sesame Street to create a limited run of themed socks that they released just in time for the holiday season.
Shoe brand Allbirds doesn’t offer discounts…ever. But they didn’t want to leave their customers flat-footed on the biggest shopping day of the year. They decided to offer something very exclusive to attract more shoppers on Cyber Monday. They released a limited-edition sneaker for the holidays, and it sold out almost immediately, proving that discounts aren’t the only way to attract Cyber Monday shoppers.
Hanukkah is the Jewish winter holiday, also known as the Festival of Lights. The holiday lasts for 8 days and celebrates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire. Hanukkah isn’t associated with sales, which is surprising because the holiday does include 8 nights of gift-giving. Many brands take to social media to wish their followers a Happy Hanukkah, however, there is more opportunity for brands looking to connect with their followers who celebrate this holiday.
Brand example: Walmart
Walmart created a funny but touching video on the struggles of parents who have to pick out 8 nights worth of presents. The brand titled the video, “Hanukkah 2018: We got this…?” along with the caption:
“When you crush it too hard on the first night of gifts, where do you go from there? Small sensible gifts for the other seven nights? Ha! Shop big, or don’t shop at all. There’s no such thing as a “meh” gift with us. Be the best gift giver you can be. You got this.” Watch the video below:
Christmas is the biggest holiday of the year in the U.S. Brands have a few options to connect with consumers. They can offer last-minute shopping deals to help bail out procrastinating shoppers, they can send Christmas cards or post sentimental seasons greetings to their social media pages. No matter your approach, Christmas is one of the best times of year to build goodwill with shoppers.
Brand example: Starbucks
Starbucks have made their holiday cups synonymous with the holiday season. Every year, Starbucks debuts their holiday cups and it creates controversy, or at the very least, discussion. Some have argued Starbucks holiday cups aren’t Christmas-sy enough while others have argued that they are too boring, or too stupid (when the brand debuted ‘Merry Coffee’ as their holiday slogan for 2019). Love the cups or hate them, Starbucks continues to keep themselves top of mind for consumers and in the news-cycle with their cheery Christmas themed cups.
Starting the day after Christmas and lasting until January 1st, Kwanzaa is an annual celebration of African-American culture. The holiday was created in 1966 by Maulana Karenga. Gifts are exchanged on the first day of the new year, along with a ‘feast of faith’ called Karamu Ya Imani. Like Hanukkah, Kwanzaa isn’t associated with sales, however, brands should address the holiday through social media or email.
Brand example: Twitter
Twitter created a Kwanzaa emoji to help their users celebrate the day. There were emojis for Hanukkah and Christmas, and the social media giant didn’t want Kwanzaa celebrants to be left out. The emoji is the kinara and 7 candles, which represent the principals of unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith.
As Content Marketing Manager, Natasia is responsible for helping strategize, produce and execute Data Axle's content. With a passion for writing and an enthusiasm for data management and technology, Natasia creates content that is designed to deliver nuggets of wisdom to help brands and individuals elevate their data governance policies. A native New Yorker, when Natasia is not at work she can be found enjoying New York’s food scene, at one of NYC’s many museums, or at one of the city’s many parks with her two teacup yorkies.