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The best Christmas marketing campaigns 2014

By Joss Davidge

A brand’s Christmas marketing campaign is often the crucial event in a marketer’s calendar.

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The growing craze surrounding the launch of brands' festive offerings is only a testament to that. There have been some absolute crackers (pun intended) this year – here are five of our favourites:

5. Etsy – Etsy House

Etsy really is an online haven for those looking for handmade artisan gifts at Christmas. But the e-commerce website was brought to life in an amazing brick and mortar pop-up shop that graced Covent Garden from 5th-7th December this year. Complete with stunning handmade goods, free gift wrapping service and a photo booth, the space delighted London’s masses of Christmas shoppers.christmas_experiential_marketing_2014_etsy_house_2

4. Heineken #SparkMyParty heineken_sparkmyparty_christmas_experiential_marketing_3

Heineken wanted to give its American followers’ Christmas celebrations a boost this year and so launched its #SparkMyParty Christmas social media campaign. All fans had to do for a chance to win free goodies to complete their Christmas bashes was tweet @Heineken_US using the #SparkMyParty hashtag. Lucky winners were surprised with a real-life party makeover, with Heineken ushering in a live DJ, a roomful of balloons, an event photographer and even Uber gift cards to ensure that their guests get home safe this weekend. 

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Heineken sure knows its Christmas marketing – last year we loved the brand’s Christmas carol karaoke campaign.

3. Virgin Trains - Traindeerchristmas_experiential_marketing_2014_virgin_trains_reindeer_5

Virgin warmed the cockles of many this Christmas by giving one of its trains a Christmas-inspired makeover. The reindeer festive train design was created by sisters Ella (aged 11) and Ruby (aged 9). Their winning design was initially entered into a Christmas card competition in aid of local charity Riff Raff. Virgin, however, loved it so much that they wanted to use it for themselves – so they surprised the sisters by driving the train to the platform where unsuspecting Ruby and Ella were greeted by Santa as crowds looked on.

2. Old Speckled Hen – Pop-up Christmas pub

For one day only this festive season, Old Speckled Hen took over the Masons Arms pub in London. The pop-up, which was dubbed The Old Speckled Haven, aimed to provide patrons with a place to relax amidst the hectic Christmas period.

Bar purchases could be made through social media; guests were encouraged to use the hashtag #oldspeckledhaven across Twitter and Facebook to receive a free pint of the English ale. Holders of the restaurant discount scheme Taste Card were offered a second free pint, while the first 30 holders also received free jars of Old Speckled Hen chutney.

As well as a range of mince pies and cheese and biscuits, and a number of ‘Ale Elves’ were also on hand to provide a free gift-wrapping service for guests. Christmas cards were also available to take home and guests were offered iPads to use to tackle their Christmas shopping lists.

1. John Lewis – Monty the Penguinjohn_lewis_monty_the_penguin_christmas_experiential_marketing_7

Yep, you guessed it; good old Monty the Penguin from John Lewis tops the list!

The retailer’s emotive ad has amassed 19million views and counting. Knowing the importance of an integrated campaign, John Lewis made the wise move of incorporating both live experiential and social media activity into the campaign.

Antarctic-themed experiential spaces, dubbed Monty’s Den, popped up in John Lewis stores around the country this December, where children could step into Monty and Sam’s world using Monty’s Glasses – a budget version of Oculus Rift. And at the flagship store on Oxford Street, children could fulfil their dreams of bringing their toys to life with Monty’s Magical Toy Machine.

And did you know you can follow Monty, his girlfriend Mabel, and catch up on all the goss about her ex-boyfriend Marvin on Twitter?

With a tear-jerking TV ad that was backed up with some live experiential activity and social media backing, could this be the retailer’s best Christmas offering yet?

Read more about why John Lewis’ Monty the Penguin Christmas campaign was such a hit in our Managing Partner Joss Davidge’s Marketing Society blog.

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