The Best Digital Christmas Campaigns

17:11 Oct 29th - Nathan

Ahh, the Christmas campaign. I like to think it’s a bit like a Siegfried and Roy’s Bengal tiger. Approach it with care and expertise, and with a little bit of luck, you can win the hearts and minds of thousands of people. But rush into it without too much thought and… well, we all know what happens then. In this post, I will show you a few of my favourite digital Christmas campaigns and tell you why I think they got it right.

Ho Ho Hoxton

Grape Digital’s hipster Santa hangs out in the Hoxton Grotto. Image courtesy of YouTube

I’m a massive advocate of adding the human element to a digital campaign and this one by Grape Digital seems to pull it off perfectly. Its simple: just answer a few questions about the person you want to send it to (what colour hair do they have? what is their funniest / most embarrassing moment?), and after a short while you have your own personalised Christmas card on YouTube, via the medium of song. Brilliant!

Elf Yourself

E-Boy stance. Image courtesy of Google

Since 2006, has either been the best or the bane of your festive months. But regardless of how it makes you feel, one thing is certain: come December, your inbox, timeline, streams and feeds will be full of videos of your dodgiest profile pictures dancing around to crappy Hip-Hop remixes of Jingle Bells.

As you may have guessed, I’m not a big fan, but I can’t ignore the fact that it has worked wonders for OfficeMax (the office supply store who, with help from JibJab, were behind the campaign). According to OfficeMax, 47% of people familiar with the site associate ElfYourself with OfficeMax, while more than a third have said they were influenced to visit an OfficeMax store after being Elfed.

Ebay Give-A-Toy

Ebay and Toys for Tots put a modern twist on one of the older and more admirable Christmas traditions. With the aid of an interactive shopfront and some QR codes, shoppers in New York and San Francisco are able to use their smartphones to donate toys to underprivileged children around America. This may just seem like a jazzed-up version of what loads of organisations have been doing for years, but I think this marks a major improvement in the user experience for charity collection. With a few tweaks, it could even be implemented year round.

Rage against the X Factor

Image courtesy of Reason Digital

This is one of my favourite examples of how social media can empower the “little guy”. Think back to 2009, a year of change. Barack Obama is inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States of America, the United Kingdom formally ends combat operations in Iraq, and for the first time in four years, an X factor winner doesn’t claim the Christmas number one.

The latter is all thanks to one Tracy Morter. Fed up with the banality of it all, she set up a Facebook group urging people to boycott Simon Cowell’s latest cash cow, and instead purchase the anti-corporation song “Killing in the Name” by Rage Against the Machine. The group soon rocketed to over 750,000 followers. Tracy, thinking fast, set up a JustGiving account to raise money for Shelter and urged all those backing the campaign to donate. It was a massive success.: “Killing in the Name” topped the Christmas charts and over £70,000 was raised for Shelter. Rage Against the Machine were so impressed with the campaign that they put on a free concert for UK fans and donated all the proceeds of the single to Shelter, bringing the total to more than £160,000.

Now that’s how you use the Internet.


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The Author

Nathan Harrigan

Nathan has many years experience producing web sites and applications. Specialising in front end technologies, he also has a keen interest in information architecture and user experience.

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