It’s the holidays, and we’re ramping up for another season of excess. I always hate the way the media sets us up for failure this time of year. Remember that not all of us are rushing from gala to gala, our arms loaded with expensive gifts. We’re not all getting cars for Christmas, as the ads suggest. I’m not sitting down to my holiday dinner surrounded by my loving family. My family is dysfunctional, and we haven’t seen each other in years. My holiday, as I expect it is for many, will be rather modest, yet I’ve learned to take pleasure in small things that make this time of year special—I love holiday music and lights and time with those I care about. Here are some holiday ads you’ll want to watch again
And those ads? Here are two companies that are totally nailing this
Last year, REI did something pretty astonishing—they had the temerity to close the doors at all of their stores on Black Friday, perhaps the biggest shopping day of the year. They invited their community to join their employees, taking Black Friday off to do what they love most: being outside! This year, they’re back big time with their #OptOutside campaign in full force. This is so smart—it’s getting attention from big names, including the National Parks Foundation, which is doing its own spin on this campaign. Let’s not forget that millennials are one demographic that love to support cause-driven brands.
An ad from a German supermarket, Edeka, that’s restrained and endearing
This ad is a tear-jerker. It reminds us that what really matters around the holidays is spending time with those we love.
In the ad, an elderly man prepares to spend yet another Christmas alone
His kids cancel their planned visits at the last minute. We see his chopping carrots, preparing his solitary meal. The video then cuts to his various grown children—all busy with their careers. Then they receive a letter telling them their father has died. When they arrive home, however, they’re greeted by their very healthy father. He says, “How else could I have brought you all together?” The final scene shows the family laughing and talking around the table, sharing a holiday meal with their father.
Other than the delicious meal they share at the very end, there’s no hint that Edeka is a supermarket or that this is ultimately about food. This video generated 33.5 million views on YouTube within a week of posting.
Good marketing tells a story, reaching people on an emotional level
It takes a commitment to make this kind of an ad. It doesn’t beat people over the head with special offers, free promos or phone numbers to call. The message is more subtle and needs time to develop.
But stick with this, and you’ll be rewarded
This is a powerful holiday message—slow down and be grateful for the things worth celebrating in your own life. Wishing everyone a happy holiday and a wonderful New Year.