Five Brands Crushing The Holiday Season

As the holidays near, many brands turn their attention to capturing the holiday spirit, often tugging at the heartstrings of their consumers. But who does it best? This year, the Monigle team reflects on some of its favorite holiday moments over the last few years. Take a look and tell us your favorite holiday brand campaign in the comments section.

WestJet

WestJet started out as a low-cost alternative to Canada’s major competing airlines. Today, WestJet is the second largest airline north of the U.S border behind Air Canada.

Much of its following in the last 2-3 years can be traced back to the brand’s Christmas Miracle social campaigns – particularly this one from 2013. Technology and a collection of WestJet staff – WestJetters – combined to provide a memorable brand experience for travelers both old and young on two WestJet flights, all of whom were surprised with gifts waiting for them at baggage claim.

Perfectly encapsulating the spirit of Christmas, this award-winning approach vastly exceeded expectations and gained worldwide attention as one of the top viral videos of 2013 with more than 45 million views on YouTube. It also demonstrated how an organization can execute a holiday brand awareness campaign that is more than just a token gimmick, and can produce real business benefits (WestJet saw a 86% increase in sales YoY) partially attributable to its emotional storytelling and communication of its values, personality, and culture. Check out this year’s Christmas Miracle from WestJet here.
-Chris Binding, Marketing Director

REI

REI #OptOutside Website

It is rare when a brand takes the lead in changing a well-established tradition as REI has done relative to Black Friday. For many, this post-Thanksgiving behavior has become increasingly violent, anger inducing, and often gross! REI decided to use Black Friday to make a statement.

REI has changed a cultural mindset by simply closing its doors and encouraging its employees and customers to “Opt Outside” vs. dealing with the chaos. REI is encouraging its audiences to take a fresh, deep breath and to savor in the holiday spirit in a different way- a way that’s much more aligned to what they stand for as a brand and business. The idea alone seemed to stop consumers in their tracks with a reality check, changing the way people think about shopping on that day and continuing to evolve the perception of the REI brand.

The power of a strong brand is the ability to change behavior, and that is what REI did. Bravo REI. Thanks for giving me my Friday back.
-Sean Coleman, Executive Creative Director

Reeses

When holiday season came around this year, Reese’s commercials – paired with the well-known Christmas jingle – proved to be upbeat and festive, and more importantly, continue to deliver on the bright and whimsical personality of the Reese’s brand. Their punch lines always make me smile and during the holiday season, they only get better, with messaging that continues to redefine the iconic candy like “If you have toothpicks, you have chocolate and peanut butter hors d’oeuvres” featuring green and red wrapped mini Reese’s, and “Santa can be bought” with mini holiday Reese’s spread out with a glass of milk.

The simple, yet powerful commercials that culminate in memorable one-liners paired with cheerful holiday music deliver a fresh twist in the chocolate marketing game.
-Jordyn Greenberg, Senior Analyst, Strategy

John Lewis

John Lewis created an incredible following with high expectations around its holiday ad. The beauty to me is that it’s all about the emotion of the season, rather than the stuff that this particular UK retailer sells. The confidence to tell a story that connects to gift-giving, sharing, and the spirit of the holidays, as opposed to why you should specifically shop at John Lewis, is inspiring and memorable. While this approach to communication is powerful, there are some inherent brand risks if the in-store and online experiences do not live up to this richness. Does it end up setting expectations that are too high for the experience to deliver?
-Justin Wartell, Managing Director

Patagonia

Patagonia Website 100% For the Planet

“…as people think generously about family and friends, we also want to help our customers show love to the planet, which badly needs a gift or two (and still gets coal every year).” – Rose Marcario, CEO of Patagonia

This year, my favorite holiday campaign has been Patagonia. Donating Black Friday sales to organizations that are working to protect the environment shows Patagonia’s central brand tenant – its commitment to the betterment of the planet. I appreciate that they not only want to protect the places their customers go wearing their gear but are also willing to leverage their brand recognition and give up prime real estate to advocate for causes that are important to them. This makes promotions like the Black Friday one feel less like a campaign and more of a genuine part of their brand.
-Andrea McCoy, Senior Consultant, Insights