Amid the tinsel sparked web experiences and online favicons donning Santa hats and snow caps, my RSS feeds have been rather dismal in pointing me to unique Christmas-based marketing initiatives across the web. I imagined that there would be a host of marketers making the most of social media and digital technologies. Though less than expected, I did chance upon a handful of interesting initiatives that have leveraged the spirit of Christmas and Thanksgiving to affect behavior, provide high involvement triggers, make meaning and create an emotional connection.
1) Canadian Blood Services
One simple yet standout initiative is by Canadian Blood Services (CBC) – a not-for-profit, charitable organization whose sole mission is to manage the blood and blood products supply for Canadians. Treating blood as a gift, the Holiday Miracle Campaign program urges Canadians to donate blood in honor of someone they consider to be a miracle in their life and share that dedication on Facebook. Running since December 1st 2012, CBC hopes to raise their donor numbers and volumes this year with this campaign. The true spirit of Christmas is in giving and being grateful. CBC effectively weaves in this message, while at the same time provides meaning to this marketing initiative.
2) Alzheimer’s Society, UK – #xmas2remember
Earlier in 2012, the UK government made a commitment to help the UK become a world leader in dementia care and research. Terming the disease a quiet crisis that required immediate attention Prime Minister David Cameron called for an ‘all out fight back’ launching the ‘National Dementia Challenge‘ (#dementiachallenge).
Complementing this initiative, another group is hoping to further awareness of dementia this Christmas with a rather unique take on making Christmas memorable. Moments spent with family and close friends over the holidays are cherished and subtly replayed over and over again by way of photographs, videos or fondly recalled tales. But not for those among us who unfortunately suffer from Dementia. Urging us to be mindful of the problem while we celebrate, a social media campaign – #xmas2remember – launched by the Alzheimer’s Society (UK) invites people to send in their favorite Christmas memories with their families and friends on the organization’s Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr feeds.
3) John Lewishttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0N8axp9nHNU Every Christmas UK Retailer John Lewis delights. This year they pushed it further. In a television commercial, they infused life into one of the most popular motifs of the holiday season – the snowman. In the advertisement, he endearingly treks cross country in search of the perfect gift for his belle. The hashtag #snowmanjourney integrated social media and allowed viewers to manipulate his journey offline – the snowman himself making an appearance across different spots across the UK for the public to take pictures with and share among their networks. Reports suggest that this activity was a big hit with people tweeting their experience and also inquiring if the snowman would make his way through their town.
4) Symantec Corporation – Norton AntivirusApparently Symantec Corporation does not want us to have so much fun that we forget about viruses altogether. Ensuring a share of the festive cheer, they advise that we back up what matters most with this funny holiday video.
Clearly, integrated marketing efforts tend to stand out when they focus on meaning and story that tug emotional chords. Social media platforms and technologies when enabled smartly are great tools to engage and build a strong consumer-brand bond anchored in what the brand stands for, and the holiday season seems to be the perfect time to employ such tactics.