3 Ways Brands Are Using Online Video for Holiday Campaigns

It’s been weeks since the first 2014 holiday campaigns cropped up online, and while the John Lewis #MontythePenguin video and Marks & Spencer ad with Two Fairies Twitter feed are still going strong, countless other brands are quickly joining the fray.

Every year brings with it a different trend – e-cards, gift guides, Pinterest contests – but always the goal is to entertain viewers and keep brands and their products top of mind. This year’s modus operandi? Online video.

Gift-Giving Programs

Capitalizing on the popularity of last year’s WestJet Christmas Miracle video, which has generated an astounding 36 million YouTube videos, the Canadian airline has launched a new project called Spirit of Giving. Once again brand storytelling is at the forefront of the five-minute video, which found WestJet shifting the focus of its benevolence from its customers to the residents of the Dominican Republic, to which its passengers frequently fly.

The WestJet team asked residents of the island community of Nuevo Renacer what they were wishing for. They delivered everything from a new playground for school children to a washing machine. “This is the way Christmas should be, Give to others, buy a stranger a coffee, or do a good deed,” one viewer wrote about the campaign. Consumer comments, particularly in response to a companion “Why We Did It” video have been overwhelmingly positive.

With its series of holiday videos WestJet has managed to strike a delicate balance between corporate social responsibility and effective marketing. “The goal was not for this year to try and simply surpass last year’s numbers. That becomes the wrong target,” WestJet’s vice president of communications has said. The airline’s commitment to helping those in need indeed comes through in the creative. That said, last year’s Christmas Miracle video also reportedly resulted in a 77 percent increase in bookings for the brand.

Personalized Messaging

In an effort to encourage repeat visits and attract new customers, New York’s Radio City Christmas Spectacular has partnered with AdGreetz’ (previously StarGreetz), a video platform that dynamically generates personalized ad spots. Since mid-November opt-in email subscribers have been receiving personalized video messages from the Rockettes. The greetings are also being promoted on Facebook, with different messages recorded and distributed for each unique delivery mode.

When received by email, the video begins with the consumer’s name before inviting guests to partake of a special offer and make the show a part of their holiday tradition. The three Rockettes featured in the ad highlight the show’s new features, and point viewers to the reduced ticket code. The video is an amusing alternative to standard email coupons and Facebook discounts.


Star Power Branding

The holiday marketing season wouldn’t be complete without celebrity cameos, and this year Burberry is pulling out all the stops. The luxury fashion brand released a short film last month that features Romeo Beckham, the famed 12-year-old son of the former Spice Girl and the soccer star. Already the four-minute “From London With Love” has upward of 8 million views. The ad incorporates iconic London and Burberry imagery, from the city’s skyline to the Burberry trench coat, and includes external links to the Burberry site.

Last year’s holiday campaign, which also centered on the concept of “festive giving” and involved a “25 Days of Christmas” content theme on Instagram, resulted in a 12 percent increase in sales for the brand. Burberry is promoting the video on its Facebook page and Twitter feed, where it’s linking to photos from the shoot.

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