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Even though Christmas is still ahead of us this post may be slightly past due considering many companies launch their holiday advertising campaigns before Halloween. The reason for the ad frenzy is that holidays come with deeply engraved celebratory traditions that advertisers can tap into in hopes of creating that same ongoing connection to their brand. Companies that leverage the emotional ties consumers have to the holidays within their holiday advertising can better their chances of an increase in brand loyalty.
Coca-Cola for instance has made their brand synonymous with Christmas. In fact, it has even been said that we can thank them for developing the current rounded, red suited, bearded Santa Claus. Their first rendition of Santa was created in 1931. Santa’s pipe was cleverly replaced with a Coke linking the brand to Christmas imagery, and the rest is history. This deep tie to Christmas has effects on whether people truly think that Coca-Cola tastes better than a competitor. The placebo effect results in consumers continuing to choose Coca-Cola not simply because it tastes better, but because they view it as a leading brand that has positioned itself as having traditional family values and provides happiness and warm wishes at Christmas. This is all happening subconsciously of course.
Customers enjoy seeing advertisements that make them feel warm-spirited during this time of year. Coca-Cola has mastered this with the polar bears, the light up delivery truck, festive Christmas music and the theme of giving. This year they have gone a little further and created a short film featuring the iconic polar bears. During the holidays, Coca-Cola’s ads aren’t focused on positioning themselves as providing the best price or best product, but instead use emotional displays to create a support of their overall brand image. If you haven’t noticed, brands these days want to do more than offer you the “best” product, they want to be a part of your life and ultimately affect your buying behavior.
Coca-Cola has set the holiday advertising bar pretty high so how can other companies break through? John Lewis has successfully become the new player in Christmas ad arena and this year, their “Bear and the Hare” doesn’t disappoint. For companies to even play in the big leagues this year they can expect to spend a pretty penny and produce blockbuster ads with emotional sound tracks and story lines. Get the mix just right, and the result could be yearly anticipation of what will come next from your company, but I don’t suggest trying to reinvent Santa.