The holidays are here, and that means brands are pulling out all the stops to get festive with their holiday marketing initiatives. But this also means marketing teams need to work extra hard to cut through the holiday noise on social media, by delivering meaningful and engaging messaging and content that resonates.

Here are a few takeaways from the top 2016 holiday marketing campaigns breaking through the social noise.

1. Show your sense of humor: HotelTonight

For most people, the holidays are centered around family dinners, seeing near and distant relatives and quality time spent with family. But as we all know, family time can sometimes be challenging. With all the conflicting personalities, opinions and political views, let’s face it, as much as we love our families, it can simply be exhausting to spend so much time with them.

But HotelTonight decided to help. They are making it easy for holiday travelers to visit family without staying, by offering easy-to-book hotel rooms using the brand’s website. Their solution and offer is simple, but it’s their funny and engaging social media campaign that is making waves. Their Facebook contest encourages their community to share a story of their worst/funniest holiday family memory in the comments.


2. Pull those heart strings for a good cause: Alzheimers Research UK

This year, Alzheimers Research UK launched one of its most hard-hitting advertisements ever, in which Santa develops Alzheimers and can no longer deliver presents.

The ad is a cartoon, narrated by Stephen Fry, with a powerful message. Santa is an important cultural figure, but the idea that he too could be affected drives home the point that anyone could be at risk – even the all-powerful Father Christmas.

The campaign’s main focus is to raise awareness and encourage donation pledges from viewers as a means of funding research into a cure. “Santa Forgot” has been viewed close to 60k times on YouTube.


3. Tell a compelling story: H&M

In H&M’s latest holiday marketing campaign, directed by Wes Anderson and starring Adrien Brody, viewers are taken along the journey of a train conductor and passengers faced with a weather-related travel delay on Christmas day. After the conductor calls in a request for an emergency supply of Christmas materials, the passengers (all decked out in H&M) are brought into the cafeteria car which has been transformed into a winter wonderland.

It’s not hard to see why this holiday campaign made headlines immediately after launching. Often, the most memorable and compelling marketing campaigns, like this one, are visually beautiful and tell an interesting and meaningful story – with subtle product placement.

Twenty-four hours after launch, “Come Together” was still the #1 trending video on YouTube.


4. Don’t forget to listen

Sometimes when you have a lot of great creative campaign ideas it’s easy to jump right in and start pushing out all your hard work to your followers. Of course your blog post is interesting and creative, but have you been listening to your community? Are you sure that you know what they want to hear? Be sure to fully understand your industry’s social landscape and the needs of your community in order to provide truly helpful and relevant content.

5. Learn from past holiday marketing campaigns and optimize for the future

It’s important to monitor and benchmark your performance to see how your holiday campaign activity has connected to business impact. Create KPIs that you can track before your holiday campaign starts, during, and after.

  • How did your campaign perform?
  • Did it boost sales?
  • Did people join the conversation and share your hashtag?
  • Did you reach your target audience?
  • Did it boost your brand SOV and create awareness?

To learn more about using Social Intelligence to help boost any of your marketing campaigns, including your holiday campaigns, check out our ebook: Turn Social Insights into Business Strategy.