In 2022, concerns about a looming recession prompted some brands to lean into sales and savings in their holiday ad campaigns. But, perhaps emboldened by the National Retail Federation’s forecast for holiday sales growth somewhere in the six to eight percent range over the 2021 season (lower than last year’s record leap, admittedly, but growth nonetheless), other advertisers have chosen a different path. For some brands at least, whimsy, humor, and imagination have emerged front and center in holiday campaigns. Let’s take a closer look at a few examples:
Speaking Your Pet’s Language
A fun spot from pet care brand Chewy underscores the humorous ways in which animals and humans try to communicate across the language barrier. The premise: just as we don’t always understand what that meow or bark might mean, our animal friends may be in a similar pickle as they try to make sense of the goofy matching pajamas and ugly sweaters we humans crack out at the holidays. But as the ad, accessible via social and the Chewy’s website/mobile app, points out, Chewy pet products help us speak a common language, one that our pets absolutely appreciate!
Kids’ Imaginations Power the Magic
Kids were the creative force behind a Lego ad featuring Katy Perry and a fantastical present-delivery vehicle made of Lego bricks. The film, which casts children from around the world, airs in a three-minute version on Lego.com, as well as on Perry’s social channels (shorter versions appear on TV and OLV channels). Before shooting the main film, the brand gave the kids boxes of Lego bricks and encouraged them to come up with their version of a perfect present delivery machine. Based on the kids’ ideas, Lego then built the vehicle and surprised the children with it; the kids’ reactions when they see the colorful, magical mashup (a fairytale castle is incorporated into the vehicle, as is a space shuttle, even a slide!) are completely genuine. Lego’s holiday ad campaign also incorporates videos of children interviewing Perry, and an online Lego Gift Finder helps consumers find the products that inspired the kids in the film.
Less Spend, More Tacos
When Taco Bell made its first TV ad for the U.K. market, it took an innovative approach. The brand paired up with YouTube creator AnOnymooose, who put together a 30-second ad that aired on television . . . exactly once. The spot also ran on social media, but the money Taco Bell saved with its streamlined run was then diverted into a taco giveaway on December 13: while supplies lasted, anyone in the U.K. could claim their own free Crunchy Taco at any U.K. Taco Bell. The humorous animated spot, in which restaurant reviewer Santa becomes nonplussed by a persistent, taco-loving swan, represents a fresh way to reward customers and have some fun working with an animator. (Fun fact: AnOnymooose enjoys 1.12 million subscribers and no one has seen them in real life!)
A New Kind of Yule Log
Resisting the idea of cranberry sauce as being a Thanksgiving-only treat, Ocean Spray has come up with its own take on the popular looping yule log video. In Ocean Spray’s version, three jiggling Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce logs enjoy a crackling fire while whimsically vocalizing. What does a cranberry sauce log say, you ask? Why, “jiggle” and “wiggle,” of course! The 10-hour-long feel-good video runs on Ocean Spray’s YouTube channel and as paid pre-roll placements.
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