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Top Five 2016 Holiday Marketing Campaigns that are Killing it This Season

I must admit: Every year my heart swells up like a watermelon, with happiness over the thoughts of the upcoming holiday season. There is some type of magic in the air – feelings of joy, happiness and togetherness. This magic that I am speaking of is something many marketers try to capture within their holiday marketing plans. While there is a handful of holiday marketing campaigns that complete miss the boat – there are some good ones that hit the mark and are able to capture the magic that the holidays can bring. Here are the top five 2016 holiday marketing campaigns that really are crushing it this year when it comes to capturing the feelings from the heart (in no particular order):
Starbucks – The Red Cup Phenomenon
Little known fact: In 1997, Starbucks introduced the first limited edition cup design with the hope of exciting customers about the holiday season. Since then, it has put Starbucks on the map for being a leader in holiday marketing campaigns. With the take off in recent years of user-generated content marketing with social channels such as Instagram, Starbucks has mastered the art of competition but effectively have tapped into customers’ creativity and incentivized social sharing with #redcupcontest. Bottom line: That red cup not only warms the hands on a below zero day in New England, but also the heart.

REI’s #OptOutside Campaign
In 2015, REI made waves when it said they would close the doors on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. Instead, they invited its community to join employees in taking Black Friday off from work and shopping – to do what they love most: being outside.

This year, REI came back with the #OptOutside campaign in bigger force. It ended up catching the attention of some big names, in particular the National Parks Foundation. Ultimately, what makes this such a great marketing campaign is that it sends a message to folks to stop and breathe the fresh air of the outdoors. While the holidays are usually filled with folks running around constantly – this is just a great a reminder to stop and take in the scenery once in awhile.
Samsung has had a pretty interesting year with their phones and other electronic products exploding on consumers. No bueno. However, they are trying hard to spread some of that holiday cheer to with its Gear VR. With technology like the Gear VR, folks can ultimately create their own experiences from the comfort of their living room couch.
What makes this holiday campaign another great one this year that it tugs ever so gently on the heartstrings. When you hear and see the reactions from the different family members who are using the Gear VR in the advertisement and see them being able to create the experiences they want – many different types of feelings come up, which I think makes this so relatable and once again tapping into that magic of the holidays I spoke to earlier.
This is another awesome marketing campaign by tying in the exciting of an upcoming movie release with a household product that most parent needs for their child’s electronics on Christmas Day: batteries. This advertisement does a great job at tying various emotions to it – both excitement around the new Star Wars movie"Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" and the holiday season by showing how Durcell came to the rescue for these sickly children. Now, I just need to remember to my husband tickets to see the new Star Wars movie…oops…yeah, I need to get on like now! 
When I first saw this TV ad – I was watching the 3rd episode of “The Walking Dead”. Honestly, having this commercial during that particular TV time slot = jackpot. However, what is really great about this advertisement is once again, it ties itself nicely into the “magic of Christmas” and how people can come together during the holidays. And, oh by the way, with over 7.4 million views – I would say the messaging and the marketing is definitely on point for appealing to the heart strings of the masses this holiday season.
Overall, what makes each of the five marketing campaigns I have mentioned above so impactful and successful is using feelings that typically surround the holidays, such as family and tradition, within their content. By tapping into those feelings and memories of their customers, whether thru social media or other mediums, these brands are not only take up some seriously valued mindshare with consumers, but also become synonymous with the holiday season for years and years to come.

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