Three Holiday Marketing Campaigns to Bring in the New Year

By Jordan Watkins, Guest Blogger

For many, the holidays are an exciting time of the year spent with family while retelling old stories and making new memories.

It is also an exciting time of year for the marketing industry as new and unique holiday marketing campaigns are launched and become popular topics of conversation among consumers.

Familiarize yourself with three of this year’s most popular campaigns that make perfect conversation starters at family gatherings or a New Year’s Eve party.

#RedCupContest – Starbucks Holiday Red Cups
Some of this year’s holiday marketing campaigns uniquely depended on consumer involvement in ways that deserve recognition.

One in particular is the annual Starbucks Holiday Red Cups campaign. These red cups have been an iconic symbol of the holidays since Starbucks first introduced them in 1997. After all, warm festive drinks are an important part of getting in the holiday spirit!

This year, Starbucks lovers everywhere were encouraged to post their own holiday red cup designs to social media using the hashtag #redcupcontest. Thirteen submissions from six different countries were chosen to be used as the designs for this year’s cups.

NAMA Blogger Chelsea Kallman accurately describes this year’s Starbucks holiday marketing campaign as one which “evokes emotions and promotes sharing by making everything personal.” Read Kallman’s article, How Starbucks Nails (Holiday) Marketing – and how to implement it in your brand that delves deeper into this campaign.

#BusterTheBoxer – John Lewis
As the holiday season began, the European department store John Lewis launched an unforgettable holiday marketing campaign involving a trampoline and “Buster the Boxer,” the featured family’s dog.

On Christmas morning, the family’s daughter, Summer, is not the only one who gets her wish. Buster beats her outside for a long-awaited turn on the new trampoline.

John Lewis has turned “Buster the Boxer” into a brand of its own.

An entire section of the John Lewis website is dedicated to the buzzworthy pup where you can purchase plush toy versions of Buster and other themed merchandise. In the spirit of giving, the department store announced that ten percent of its proceeds from Buster the Boxer merchandise sales will be donated to The Wildlife Trusts charity.

Moreover, John Lewis didn’t stop there. In addition to heavily promoting the hashtag #BusterTheBoxer across social media platforms, a 360-degree interactive video experience is available to view online and is compatible with your Oculus Rift Virtual Reality headset. The company even made custom Snapchat filters available for fans to download.

Although past holiday marketing campaigns from John Lewis have been impressive, the company took this year’s campaign to an entirely new level. Watch the full John Lewis Christmas Advert 2016 – #BusterTheBoxer.

#Barbour Christmas – Barbour’s tribute to Raymond Briggs
The Raymond Briggs children’s tale The Snowman holds an important place in many consumers’ childhood Christmas memories. Over the years, both an animated television special of the original tale and an animated sequel titled The Snowman and the Snowdog have been produced.

This holiday season, Barbour teamed up with Lupus Films to produce a tribute to the classic tales. The advertisement aims to appeal nostalgically to viewers who remember the tales fondly, and features all three characters from the Briggs tales.

The tributary advertisement frames the brand in the same timeless light with the concluding campaign slogan: ‘gifts they’ll remember.’

Barbour launched an email marketing campaign encouraging consumers to nominate and share why they felt a certain loved one deserved to win a gift from Barbour.

Not only did Barbour launch a uniquely nostalgic holiday marketing campaign, but they also incorporated the consumer – leveraging a personal touch to the campaign. Watch Barbour’s tributary holiday advertisement.

Strike up a conversation about one of these three holiday marketing campaigns of 2016 with your family, coworkers, or friends to kick off the new year. Who doesn’t love an adorably heartwarming video in which a group of animals jumps on a trampoline?!



Jordan Watkins is a recent graduate of Sewanee, The University of the South, and serves as an Associate Project Manager with Mailer’s Choice.

How Starbucks nails (Holiday) marketing – and how to implement it in your brand

By Chelsea Kallman, NAMA Blogger | 12.4.16

Picture this: it’s Halloween weekend, and I’m kind of craving a sweet treat. I’m just having a relaxing evening, scrolling on Instagram, when up pops an advertised post from Starbucks talking up their Frappula Frappuccino.

It’s a white chocolate mocha Frappuccino with strawberry sauce added to make it look like Dracula himself has bitten into the whipped cream.

Now, to preface, this isn’t my typical drink, and Starbucks isn’t even my go-to coffee shop. I indulge in a frappe maybe four times a year. But, darn it, if this drink doesn’t look down right spooktacular.


The next day of my Halloween weekend, I suddenly find myself driving 15 minutes out of my way just for a “treat yo’self.” 

How did I go from not really caring about a drink (or its associated brand) to being called to action and spending my time and money in a place I don’t typically visit?

Two words: Incredible marketing.

Although a global corporation, Starbucks has a lot of marketing tips that even the smallest shop on Main Street America can employ.

Starbucks makes you feel like you’re a part of the story.

Hubspot wrote a blog about some great holiday marketing campaigns. No surprise, Starbucks is included.

The post talks about how the brand evokes emotions and promotes sharing by making everything personal. Starbucks gets at the core of what its company is all about: you, the consumer. Its marketing always goes beyond the product and speaks to the lifestyle associated with the brand.


Starbucks for Life is one campaign that does exactly this. It’s a sweepstakes that you enter to try and win one beverage and one food item every day for the next 30 years of your life. That is a pretty incredible giveaway — equating to roughly $75,000 per winner.

Of course, everyone wants to win, so everyone signs up. All of a sudden Starbucks has multitudes of customers’ (and soon-to-be customers’) email addresses and information to further find out how they can market to their target demographic better.

Oh, and everyone loves Starbucks more than before because how kind and generous of a company are they?!

Starbucks markets its brand as a verb.

Yet another call-to-action Starbucks marketing tactic is the #redcupcontest. During this contest, coffee-aholics have a certain number of days to post the best red cup photo using the hashtag with one lucky person taking home a prize. Last year’s winner received a $500 Starbucks card. 


The giveaway was so popular that for the first two days a #redcupcontest photo was shared to Instagram every 14 seconds. It engaged customers and got them participating in the brand. Starbucks made its customers feel special, while giving us (read: marketers) a perfect example of user-generated content.


Pumpkin Spice Lattes have become a staple of any fall weekend. Pumpkin-flavored everything is so popular now, but what Starbucks has done is use nostalgia and that “warm and cozy lifestyle” to make this drink the cultural phenomenon that it is.

Not only does pumpkin spice latte have its own widely-accepted abbreviation, it also has its own hashtag AND its own social media presence AND PSL actually interacts with its fans. Since launching PSL in 2003, Starbucks has sold more than 200 million (and counting) of just that drink alone.

Outside of @TheRealPSL, all of Starbuck’s social media focuses on doing something. It’s not just a picture of their drinks. It’s people hiking with their drink, cheersing, or going swimming. Starbucks makes it clear that it want the brand to be about doing something.


Mottis talks about how spot-on Starbucks is with knowing its target audience (which, if you were wondering, is men and women age 25-40).

Starbucks launches campaigns that demonstrate how its company embraces life — by living in “the now.” These folks are witty with their marketing. They have fun. Their content is personalized. It is active.

What about you? How can you make your brand about more than just a product?

Holiday Hustle: Last Minute Marketing Tips to Drive Seasonal Sales

By Jaylyn Carlyle | 11.27.15

Here’s a last-ditch effort to help with last-minute seasonal marketing. Not ideal, mind you, but doable. See if you feel inspired by this post by Matt Walker from


By Matt Walker

If, like many vendors, you’ve waited until now to get your holiday marketing plan together, do not fret—we’re here to help.

The holiday season is one of the most profitable times of the year, and you need to capture every sales opportunity during the next few weeks.

Research firm eMarketer predicts that U.S. retail sales in November and December could grow 5.7 percent over the same period last year. With unemployment having dropped from 5.8 percent at the beginning of the year to 5 percent today, more Americans have more money to spend on loved ones.

Review this list of last minute holiday marketing tips and consider adding a few over the next few weeks to maximize your profits.


Read more here. 

5 Immediate Seasonal Marketing Steps to Take Now

holiday 1

By Melinda Hudgins Noblitt | 10.24.15

The biggest shopping day of the year is just days away. Well, shopping days.

Remember when it was just Black Friday? Then Brown Thursday stole the limelight. Small Business Saturday sees a small spike each year, but from the looks of it, Cyber Monday will be taking the cake. Again.

If you’re in the retail industry and you haven’t already implemented your holiday marketing strategy, there’s not much hope for you. Kidding. There are still steps you can take to get shoppers headed in your direction.

For everyone else, start thinking like retailers and develop a seasonal marketing strategy months in advance. Just because you’re not selling the “hottest toy this Christmas” doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be getting in front of your clients when they’re in the mood to spend.

We’ve compiled a handful of holiday marketing steps you can take immediately. Check ‘em out:


1. Make sure your website is up to date.

Planning a Breakfast with Santa event next month? Extending your hours for the holidays? Offering a promotional incentive to Black Friday shoppers?

Your clients need to know this information, and the quickest way for them to find it is on your website. Even if your social media strategy is on fleek, your website/landing page must be updated first and foremost.

Only then can you implement your advertising plan.


2. Speaking of Social Media…

 Social Media will influence more than 50 percent of shopping decisions this holiday season, according to Social Media Examiner.

Facebook for Business offered up three tips for gaining—and keeping—holiday customers.

“Now that the holidays are here, and you’ve selected the right ad for your business, here are some suggestions for targeting and creative best practices to get new customers and attention during the holidays,” the website states.

Target the right audience to increase the reach and effectiveness of your ads. Be sure to select a specific audience when boosting posts.

Build your creative with warm, holiday-themed ads to stand out from the (advertising) masses. Think: high-quality images, incentives, a call to action. You get the idea.

And keep the momentum going.

From physical stores to online vendors, businesses must identify what about its ads resonates with people, recommends Facebook for Business.

“If your ads received attention from a particular demographic, make sure you target your next set of ads to that particular demographic,” the tips advise.


3. Select a charity and involve your clients.

Murfreesboro-based UFIT Personal Training wanted to get into the holiday spirit by hosting a food drive for a local pantry.

In an effort to differentiate itself from other, traditional canned food drives, owner Wes Robinson stayed true to his mission of helping folks develop healthy lifestyles. He invited community members to donate healthy non-perishables in exchange for a discount on personal training packages.

“More than one-third of adults in the U.S. struggling with obesity, due in part because processed foods are often cheaper than healthier options,” Athletic Trainer and Studio Director Chris Maxey stated in this news article.


“We often think of obesity as a problem of excess, but for those struggling financially, it is often a problem of food prices,”

By thinking outside of the box, UFIT was able to successfully involve its clients in an initiative that benefits the community this holiday season. It’s a win-win.


4. Email (and text) with caution.

If you’ve checked your email lately, you’ve probably noticed an influx of retailer e-blasts pushing “Pre-Pre-Pre-Black Friday Deals” or inviting you to “Shop & Save Today.”

Even text alerts have increased tenfold over the past week with “blah, blah, blah” discounts. It’s overwhelming.

While both are effective forms of marketing, you don’t want to push your consumer to unsubscribe from your messaging.

If you have a key event coming up (say, Holiday Open House or Pet Photos with Santa), then go ahead and let your clientele know the details. Just don’t badger them with incessant “exclusive offers that are only available until for the next three hours.”


5. Put yourself in your shoppers’ shoes.

How do you shop during the holidays? What makes you feel appreciated and keeps you coming back?

Think creatively and pamper your shoppers.

Offer free samples or 12 Days of Giveaways, greet shoppers as they enter your store (this is a huge deal breaker for a lot of folks; stocking product is obviously important, but so are the people buying said product), host an open house and invite your regular shoppers in for exclusive savings.

This is the time to step up your game and thank your shoppers for their support throughout the year. Everyone is spending extra dollars this season, so they might as well spend it with you.




How Marketers Can Drive Seasonal Sales With Intent Data

 By Justin Crowley | 11.13.15

With the holiday season here, marketers should look for every opportunity to use this time to increase sales and end the year strong.  Digital channels, data, and smartphones are changing the way consumers shop and the way marketers market.  So how do you maximize your holiday marketing efforts and get customers to purchase?  

In this post by James Green from Marketing Land, he tells how timing, hidden consumer relationships, personalization, and omni-channel strategies can greatly improve your seasonal marketing strategies helping you stay ahead of the competition.


By James Green

Each year, marketers look forward to seasonal promotions to drive a spike in sales.

Prior to each event — whether it’s the Super Bowl, Mother’s Day or Back-to-School (BTS) — search and site activity send strong signals of buying intent, which is critical to new customer acquisition and retention.

Understanding how, when and where your customers are searching around seasonal events can trigger phenomenal results and put marketers at a clear advantage.

Read more here.



Tips for Running an Awesome Holiday Marketing Campaign (Infographic)

By Jaylyn Carlyle | 11.6.15

Ideally, you’ll already have  planned your holiday marketing campaign months ago. And if you’re like most companies in America, already started your lead in after Labor Day (kidding…sort of). But it’s not a perfect world. Maybe you didn’t have time. Maybe you got caught flatfooted. Whatever the reason, we won’t judge. You still have time to make the most of the next two months. Or maybe you’re already in the mix of it. Either way, check out this infographic pulled together by Carly Okyle from Entrepreneur, which offers great insight into consumer habits and ways to strengthen your current and future campaigns. 


By Carly Okyle

The holiday season is almost here. Along with seasonal snacks (eggnog, anyone?), that means some serious shopping. Yet, just as there are many customers, there’s no shortage of competition for those customers’ limited funds. If only there were some sort of cheat sheet to help you make the most out of the gift-giving months ahead.

Well, look no further. The folks at ShortStack have put together a handy guide with helpful insights into the mind of holiday shoppers in 2014. Find out how to make offers effective from social media sites and smartphones, as well as what websites need to offer for the biggest return on their online sales.

Check out the infographic below and you’ll be feeling the holiday spirit in no time.