Happy Holiday Cookie

One of our favorite things about this time of year is looking back over the best winter marketing videos. There’s something wonderfully evocative about a holiday marketing video, whether it’s a tear-jerker or a festive fall-off-the-sofa funny commercial.

In this post, we look at the very best holiday videos that were a huge hit, and wrap up lots of tips for videographers as our gift to you.

Coca Cola’s “Northern Lights”

One of the sure signs that the festive season is upon us is the annual Coca Cola holiday video. But how on earth do you choose the best one? We have to admit that choosing our favorite one resulted in a lot of debate in the office!

In the end, the 1993 Northern Lights video won, thanks to the legacy that it inspired. The mark of a truly innovative video is one that’s not just an immediate hit, but that has a lasting impact on the videos that follow it. In fact, this groundbreaking commercial not only inspired Coca Cola to feature polar bears in their festive videos, it influenced the technology that was used in subsequent commercials and movies.

The standout message is not that cute animals are popular with viewers (which is of course true!), but that taking a risk can pay off. This can involve using exciting new technology that you might not be familiar with, or a sharing a bold message that’s a little different to everything else out there.

Campbell’s Soup “Let it Snow”

Coming up with creative ideas for engaging, uplifting holiday marketing videos can be easier if you’re marketing a product that is an obvious fit for the season. Think toys, clothing, food that’s especially tantalizing (because if you can’t indulge yourself over the holidays, when can you?). But, how can you promote an ‘everyday’ product and make it appealing during a time when many people allow themselves a degree of excess?

Watch the Campbell’s Soup “Let it Snow” commercial and you’ll be inspired. The team looked at the properties of their product –  the comforting, warming attributes of soup – and worked out how these could fit in with the season and the message they wanted to share (eat our soup, it’s tasty!).

Over the holiday season, most of us want to be treated. The team behind the Campbell’s Soup holiday video highlighted the familiarity of their product, rather than minimizing it.

The message for videographers? There’s a place for every product over the festive period, and it doesn’t have to be costly or ostentatious either.

Also, be honest with your audience. Attempting to convince your audience that the product is something it is not will not result in a successful video.

M&Ms “They Do Exist!”

I don’t know about you, but I spend a lot of my time being serious. It’s easy to get caught up in work, paying the bills, saving for the future, and other tedious, but necessary tasks. Any video that makes me temporarily forget about being grownup is an instant hit.

In the M&Ms video, the use of symbols associated with the season make it impossible to miss that this is a Christmas commercial. If this is the type of marketing video that you want to make, be sure to use imagery the audience expects. Picture sumptuously decorated Christmas trees, sparkly lights, beautifully wrapped gifts, and of course, Santa Claus.

Of course, there are lots of festive videos that tap into nostalgia. But, the M&Ms “They Do Exist!” commercial stands out because it injects fun into the message. Moreover, the humorous spot is consistent with the brand.

A word of warning – humor is difficult. It can so easily fall flat, confuse, or even offend. If you have a funny idea for a video, make sure everyone else gets the joke too.

Target “Elliptical”

Carry out a YouTube search for the Target two-day sale videos and you’ll not only enjoy a good laugh, you’ll also receive a masterclass in holiday marketing. We’ve shared one of our favorites, but honestly, they’re all great!

Unlike many other holiday marketing videos, this one doesn’t set out to appeal to our sense of nostalgia. Yet, it’s just as effective. The message is unambiguous with a clear call to action; it’s identifiable as a Target video; the viewer’s attention is maintained throughout; and it’s definitely a festive video.

Note the Christmas tree, decorations, and music. Thanks to this clever use of symbolism, the two day sale is positioned as an opportunity to purchase discounted gifts for Christmas, without the word ‘Christmas’ being used. While you should always ensure that your message is clear, it’s not always necessary to spell out absolutely every single thing for your viewers.

Much of the success of the video is down to the character played by comedienne Maria Bamford. The ‘Crazy Target Lady’ is very much a love her or loath her character; whatever your opinion, she’s certainly memorable! Whether or not you want to use humor, a character who appears in each of your videos is an effective way to create a series that viewers will immediately connect with your brand.

Further Reading

If you’re inspired by these holiday marketing videos, there’s no time like the present to get started.  Even if you’re working by yourself, you can still achieve a professional result for your holiday video. Check out our post ‘How to Produce High Quality Videos on Your Own‘ – perfect for anyone with a small team.

If you’ve made a fantastic holiday video and want to share it with local viewers, head over to ‘10 Ways to Use Video to Market Locally‘.

As ever, it’s so important to keep monitoring engagement, so don’t forget to use the SproutVideo engagement tracking features to take the guesswork out of video marketing!


If you have a great tip on any aspect of holiday video marketing, we’re all ears! Share it with the SproutVideo community in the Comments section below or on Twitter!

Written by Laci Texter

SproutVideo blog contributor. You can follow her on Twitter and Google+.

Posted November 28, 2016

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