Be it the vibrant hues of red and green wrapped crisply around a gift box or the pearlescent glimmer of ornaments hanging on a tree, the holiday season brings with it well-worn visual cues that consumers have come to expect at the end of the year. But how do brands stand out in a crowded marketplace to connect their own messaging and values within holiday motifs, themes and iconography?
In examining the most successful activations and engagements of the 2017 holiday season, PSFK researchers found one of the most notable trends was the use of “in the spirit” branded campaigns. These were notable for the ways in which brands used special platforms, initiatives and product lines to inspire holiday shopping that connected customers to larger brand values. Below, we take a look at three examples:
French sporting goods retailer Decathlon made reusable gift wrapthat doubled as basic workout gear for the holiday season. The idea came from the desire to recycle materials and help people begin their New Year’s resolutions to exercise. The wrap was made from the same microfiber as the company’s Nabajji sports towels and the ribbon was made from the same material as its sports bands.Muji × R/GA
Japanese retail company Muji partnered with advertising company R/GA to create a massive holiday mural display of Tokyo’s skyline with 37,968 pens at the Forum des Halles mall in central Paris. The pens lit up using projection mapping, a lighting technique that displays moving images on irregularly-shaped objects. The lights were taken down on December 17 and the pens were distributed to customers.
REI × Lyft
REI partnered with Lyft on Black Friday to give riders in 10 cities a free ride to local parks and handpicked recommendations from REI as an alternative to spending the day shopping. Those who decided to #OptOutside in Portland entered the promo code OPTOUTSIDEPDX in the Lyft app to redeem a free ride to a park, up to $10 away in distance. In keeping with prior years, REI also closed all of its stores on Black Friday, processed no online sales and gave all employees a paid day off to enjoy the outdoors.
These are just a few ways that brands creatively used the holidays as a means of crafting unique, branded experiences that went far beyond the typical glitz and glam of most seasonal marketing campaigns. For even more insights on the best holiday marketing and retail strategies from 2017, check out our recent report Recap: Holiday 2017 Marketing & Retail Strategies.