Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Our Favorite Holiday Marketing Campaigns

Break out the eggnog, cue the sleigh bells and don your favorite tacky sweater — 'tis the season to be inundated with commercials featuring new cars, giant bows and picturesque snow-covered vistas.

OK, we actually like the giant bows, even if they have become a bit cliché in holiday auto marketing. But who can blame these car companies when consumers are hungry for holiday content long before Thanksgiving?

Here are some of our favorite holiday marketing campaigns from recent years, including one with a giant bow (can you tell we like them?).

Honda Targets 80s Nostalgia

Gumby explores a Honda
Image courtesy YouTube
Everyone had special toys to be excited about on Christmas morning when we were kids. The folks at Honda are no different. The "Happy Honda Days" campaign has been around for several holiday seasons, but they hit a home run in 2014 when they brought 80s toys such as Skeletor, Gumby and G.I. Joe to life to sell us on the amenities in the Honda lineup.

The parallel being drawn is pretty obvious. We loved our childhood toys, and now that we're older it's time to treat ourselves to a more age-appropriate gift, such as a CR-V or a Civic. The campaign not only tugged at our nostalgic heartstrings, it also tied in the holiday element perfectly, helping us remember the joys of a childhood Christmas.

Lexus' Tradition With a Twist

Lexus December to Remember
Image courtesy YouTube
The Lexus "December to Remember" campaign has been around since 2000, and over the years it's mostly stuck with a traditional image of a giant red bow on a new car. Lexus brought the bow back in 2014 but injected a bit of Christmas magic into the campaign that made even the adults feel a bit like kids on a Christmas morning.

The campaign's TV spots featured awe-struck children (and sometimes adults) as one of the parents explained how Santa Claus delivered a brand new Lexus from the North Pole to the family's driveway. From a Polar Express-like railway to a teleportation device, old St. Nick has some impressive tricks up his sleeves. Of course we know that's not how the cars get there, but it's easy to get caught up in the magic of the season — or maybe we're just excited about the new cars.

Mercedes Asks 'Naughty or Nice?'

Mercedes cars for naughty and nice
Image courtesy YouTube
The Mercedes-Benz Winter Event is another recurring holiday campaign, but they especially got our attention in 2012 when they wanted to know if their customers had been naughty or nice. The multi-channel campaign was highlighted by a TV spot that showed Santa inspecting a row of white cars and a row of red cars. Of course the white cars were designated for the nice list while the red cars were going to the naughty list.

The naughty-or-nice theme continued on the campaign's digital side as customers could send e-cards with white or red cars to friends and family depending on whether they'd been naughty or nice. The holiday element was nicely executed, and this year's version of the campaign even features Santa ditching the traditional sleigh for something a bit more modern.

What are your favorite holiday marketing campaigns? Let us know in the comments.