Holiday Campaigns for Non-Holiday Products

‘Tis the season for holiday campaigns, replete with messages urging consumers to purchase products as gifts. Everywhere you look, banners and emails shout, “It’s not too late!” and “Buy today!” For countless companies, the next few weeks mean the difference between mediocre annual sales and a stellar year.

If you think this time is reserved for those selling iPods, VTech, and Pixar DVDs, think again.

Traditionally, holiday sales events, marketing initiatives, and promotions are employed by manufacturers of those products that make “perfect hostess gifts” or that “fit nicely under the tree.” Not all retailers are easily associated with the holiday season. What can these more distant parties do to turn the holiday cash tide in their direction? Emphasize dreams fulfilled, winter weather, and everything else the season brings.

Driving Year-End Sales

A new car may not be a standard holiday gift for most, but that doesn’t stop manufacturers and dealers from reaping the benefits of the December shopping craze. Most automotive retailers use this month to launch a last-ditch effort to pad annual sales.

It’s hard to miss the annual Lexus December to Remember sales event or Mercedes’ Winter Dream Event. Each year, these manufacturers slash financing rates to boost consumer interest. With buttons and skyscrapers reading, “It’s that time of year again: The Lexus December to Remember Sales Event,” and “The annual Mercedes-Benz Winter Dream Event: This holiday season you can say ‘I’ve been needing a new one of these’ without the usual sarcasm.” These companies have consumers agreeing December is as good a month as any to buy a new car.

New England consumers have likely seen a Ford offer that includes a free season pass to any American Skiing Company ski resort with a Ford Explorer purchase. Playing up the car’s winter weather capabilities and drawing on the target market’s interest in outdoor adventures, Ford’s campaign gives potential buyers yet another reason to consider adding a new vehicle to their holiday shopping lists.

Buyers with gift-giving lists are sure to wonder if those ski passes are transferable.

With Flurries Comes the Flu

When consumers are tired and worn, Roche Pharmaceuticals is ready with a Desktop Flu Tracker. Developed in conjunction with direct-to-desktop marketing company AdTools, the application lets users to track and monitor the spread of flu in any three U.S. geographic areas, 24 hours a day.

Aside from bringing great glee to hypochondriacs, the Desktop Flu Tracker was designed to promote the company’s prescription antiviral, Tamiflu. Though far from glamorous, the product is sure to garner attention this time of year. Launched earlier this month, Desktop Flu Tracker also represents a clever way to engage consumers with the product and to brand on an ongoing basis. It’s available for download at and is promoted online via search engine placements.

As the holiday season approaches, retailers and manufacturers of all sorts have a golden opportunity to promote their way to extra year-end sales. With a little creativity — and relevant placements that can’t be missed — those not offering traditional holiday gifts can still profit from the season.

All it takes is the ability to see beyond how your gift would look in a stocking.

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