Holiday Advertising: How to Craft Messaging that Naturally Ties Into the Holiday Season

The key is simple: Don’t do holiday-themed ads just to do holiday-themed ads — consider how your brand actually ties into the holiday season. In doing so, not only will you maintain brand identity throughout the most wonderful time of the year, but you’ll also give your brand the best shot to stand out in a sea of sameness.

So, let’s take a look at some examples of how different brands could approach messaging during the holiday season for a variety of products.

Holiday advertising for a brand that sells kitchenware

Holiday advertising doesn’t always have to be about gift-giving. Take a brand that sells kitchenware, for example. We could develop a cooking guide featuring top recipes for the holiday season. At the bottom of each recipe, we list the supplies needed to make it, with links for our audience to conveniently purchase anything they don’t have.

Individual ads can follow the same theme: “Shop the best cookie cutters for the holidays.” “The perfect griddle for grandma’s famous latke recipe.” “Thermometers so your ham comes out just right.” You get the idea — picking out products and finding a tie to the holidays will help you stand out much more than saying something like, “These tongs are a perfect gift for mom!” Any brand can insert its product and use that copy line. Write something original.

Holiday advertising for a brand that sells cybersecurity products

That’s right — even a cybersecurity brand can get in on the holiday advertising fun. But how? Think about all the different angles we could take. A cybersecurity product may not spread holiday cheer, but it can certainly prevent hackers from ruining the holidays. Hmm… 

Eureka! We could position hackers as the Grinch. To avoid copyright infringement, the visual could be some green character that looks like the Grinch, then we simply say something like, “Don’t let hackers ruin the holidays.” And it’s totally fitting, considering hackers are more active during holidays while companies are generally on vacation.

Holiday advertising for a brand that sells swimsuits

This one is tricky. Considering it’s winter, how do we possibly tie swimsuits into the holiday season? Well, there’s one approach we could take for basically any product that’s generally used in the summer months. Flip flops, swimsuits, waterskis — you name it — we make the case for it being two gifts in one: “They’ll find joy opening it. And when summer rolls around, they’ll think of you the first time they use it.” Talk about an easy way to stay top of mind for a loved one.

Another idea: We could create a gift guide for “beach bums,” featuring our brand’s swimsuits, of course, along with products like a beer koozie, Bluetooth speaker, frisbee, and even sunscreen as a stocking stuffer. We could use affiliate links for the other products to generate more revenue, or partner with other brands featured in the guide, offering discount codes for their site(s) when you buy a swimsuit from ours.

General holiday advertising ideas for all brands

Now that we’ve covered a few examples of how to conceptually tie a brand into the holiday season, let’s identify some of the low-hanging fruits any brand can grab.

Leverage email: Most brands offer some type of holiday sale, so it makes sense that shoppers are monitoring promotional emails more closely as they hunt for the best deals. Take advantage of the (likely) lift in open rates and shoot your shot. But try and come up with a way to stand out. For example, if you’re running a BOGO sale, you could position it as, “Buy [product] for your loved one. Get one for yourself on us.” Or, say it’s a bottle of wine, for example, you could say something like, “Buy a bottle for your holiday party. Get a bottle for your wine cabinet on us!”

Express gratitude: The theme continues — in a highly competitive holiday advertising landscape, you need to stand out. While your audience is expecting a hard sell, do the unexpected by sending out a thank you card (or email) saying how much you appreciate them being a customer. It’s an easy way to keep your brand top of mind when the time comes to shop.

Encourage giving: In your promotional emails, mention the idea of sharing this deal with someone else. While this might be a weird suggestion any other time of year, it’s fitting during the holiday season since basically everyone has a shopping list for various gifts. “Not on your list? Forward this deal to someone you know.” ‘Tis the season of giving, after all.