With a significant portion of the workforce at home on their computers, is Veterans Day the new launch point for interactive holiday campaigns? One might have thought so yesterday, as yuletide-themed campaigns for Gap, Kohl's, Home Depot, and JC Penney were spotted on Facebook and Pandora Radio.
The Gap has made a big social media splash this year, culminating in last week's 10,000-jeans giveaway on Facebook Places. True to form, the clothing retailer announced a cause marketing initiative yesterday for the holidays anchored in social media. The San Francisco-based brand created a series of online videos that will appear on its Facebook page and YouTube channel.
The videos center on a specific charity and feature appearances by public figures such as actor Reeve Carney, style blogger Susie Bubble, dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied, and Foursquare founders Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai.
Every time a Gap "liker" on Facebook "likes" one of the videos, the clothier will donate $1 to the cause addressed in the clip until $150,000 is reached. For their effort, Gap likers (currently 2.9 million) will receive a coupon for 30 percent off one regularly priced item.
And Gap told ClickZ there's more social media marketing around the holidays to come. "[We] will be running ads on Facebook for Black Friday," said a brand spokesperson. "We are working with Foursquare on a unique check-in for the holidays that includes a charitable component."
When it comes to Facebook ads, Kohl's is off to an earlier start than Gap. The Menomonee Falls, WI-based retailer ran at least two creative variations of Facebook video promos yesterday. One involved the headline, "Give, Save and Be Merry!" The :15 spot pushed a "Mega Christmas Sale" for this Friday and Saturday. The other ad used the following text copy: "Shop the Mega Christmas Sale now through 11/13 to get $10 Kohl's Cash for every $50 spent. Redeem Kohl's Cash online starting 11/16!"
Kohl's "sponsored" video promos were displayed on the right-hand-side of Facebook users' newsfeed walls in what appeared to be a national ad purchase. The company did not respond to information requests for this story.
CPG brand Planters owned the same "sponsored" slot on Wednesday and utilized the following copy: "Mr. Peanut's throwing a holiday party & he's ready to mingle. Don your most remarkable attire, then hit 'like' to join the party." Viewers who clicked through were taken to a page tabbed as "Holiday Party" on Mr. Peanut's dedicated Facebook page.
Facebook isn't the only site bearing early holiday advertising. Home Depot ran an ad package on the music site yesterday that included a skin, skyscraper, and playlist promo. One example of the retailer's copy: "Miss The Holiday Crowds. Don't Miss Our Holiday Savings." And JC Penney was running similar Pandora ads on Thursday, while pointing to the upcoming holiday season in its copy.
A comScore consumer survey from Dec. 4 to 7 last year found 28 percent of holiday shoppers indicated that social media had influenced their purchases.
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Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.