Christmas-themed social media campaigns appear all over the internet from late November onwards, every year. The festive season is a wonderful opportunity for brands online to spread festive cheer, have fun, and engage their target social media audiences.
The best-of-the-best campaigns, and the ones with viral potential, tend to hook audiences in with either emotional stories or interactive social media fun — or a mixture of the two approaches.
Here are our picks for the top 5 best Christmas social media marketing campaigns of all time!
John Lewis – Monty The Penguin and Other Christmas Staples
We all anticipate John Lewis’ heartwarming Christmas ad every year, but what you may not realise is that they are spreading festive campaign cheer over on social media too. One of their most successful Christmas campaigns ever was #MontyThePenguin in 2014, an emotional (as usual) TV ad centred on a penguin finding love, paired with engaging social media activity and Monty merchandise in-store. The original video — now private — garnered over 19 million views on YouTube.
The simple, emotive storytelling integrated with hashtags and interaction on social media (some social media posts were even written from Monty’s perspective, bringing the character to life) made this a huge feat for John Lewis and is remembered even years down the line as a fan-favorite.
In 2020, John Lewis & Partners have shared all sorts of festive content, with a focus on their festive charity campaign in partnership with Fare Share UK and Home-Start UK. Partnering with charities for Christmas campaigns is a common strategy as it lets your audience get to know your ideals and values in the season of giving, encouraging them to get involved.
Ted Baker’s #TedsElfie Interactive Scavenger Hunt
It seems that 2014 was a good year for Christmas campaigns! Ted Baker launched their #TedsElfie interactive Christmas campaign with an Instagram profile () in the style of a ‘choose your own adventure’ game. Ted Baker’s Instagram followers were encouraged to check posts across multiple social media pages for hints on where to find Santa’s missing elves and win prizes. The games were quite complex, with several new accounts set up to provide the ‘choices’ in the adventure, such as whether to build a snowman or have a snowball fight, through the Instagram account tagging system on each post.
The campaign saw huge engagement from followers, with 14.5k competition entries and 37k interactions on the #TedsElfie hashtag. Not only does this indicate the success potential of creating custom festive hashtags for your Christmas campaigns, but it also demonstrates the importance of an engaging and interactive social media presence with unique ideas. This was the first campaign of its kind that gained traction with followers, clearly helped by Ted Baker’s big brand status but also with clever utilisation of social media to reach new and different possibilities from standard content posting.
M&S Pass The Parcel – Through The Years
In 2013, M&S launched the Pass The Parcel Christmas social media campaign, where followers could win one of the 3k prizes. The game was played by over 350k Facebook users and raised M&S’ Facebook like count by 70k.
Following the success of the initial Pass The Parcel campaign, M&S continued the campaign into the following years, with a new, fresh approach in 2015. For 2015’s campaign, M&S utilised a ‘microsite’ which functioned similarly to a mobile app and featured a sharable, digital game for followers to win Christmas prizes. Users swiped to “unwrap” many tiers of prizes from discounts to use online/in-store up to high-value gift vouchers, with five chances to win per day for just under one week in the lead up to Christmas. The sense of urgency with the time limit was bound to be a factor in the success of the campaign, as users rushed to get involved before the campaign ends.
The campaigns helped to build the M&S brand as a Christmas favourite, with fun and inclusive customer-brand interaction. both online and offline; online conversions raised 8% during the campaign, and offline footfall saw an additional 15k customers through the door thanks to the redemption of prizes in-store.
Annual UPS “Wishes Delivered” Campaigns
Every Christmas season, UPS revisits their #WishesDelivered campaign which launched in 2013. Users post and comment using the hashtag with their biggest Christmas wish, and UPS chooses lucky, winners to receive their wish. The campaign by donating $1 for each time a user shares a Wishes Delivered video on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
Each year of this campaign features emotional and joy-spreading stories; for 2020, the features Wish Delivered was allowing US-based ‘Free Mom Hugs’ — a company focused on giving ‘motherly love’ and hugs to the LGBT+ community — to send a care package to everyone who needed one. This campaign’s emotional value, social justice background, and ‘give back’ message appeals to and evokes a positive response from UPS’ audience in the festive season.
You can watch the .
Aldi’s Kevin The Carrot Christmas Mascot
Starting in 2016, Aldi UK released ‘Kevin The Carrot’ as a Christmas mascot and the star of their Christmas adverts. Kevin lives on to this day, featuring in yearly advertisements since his release and prominently on social media, with 2020’s advert featuring Kevin The Carrot rushing home to his family and the messaging of “Christmas without Kevin just wouldn’t be the same”. As seen with John Lewis’ Christmas adverts and campaigns, creating your own unique character to represent your brand and feature in Christmas campaigns can have a greatly positive effect on engagement.
This campaign is a nice, wholesome approach to Christmas advertising, appealing to a sense of family and togetherness, along with a big focus on what a lot of people love most about Christmas: the delicious food. Aldi uses this knowledge to show off images and recipes across its social media channels to appeal to its audience.
As you plan and implement your Christmas social media marketing campaigns for this year, we hope our list of the 5 best Christmas campaigns of all time has helped you with your ideas and planning for the festive period.