Christmas Marketing Clichés That Just Don't Cut It
By Phil Haslehurst
Few moments strike fear into the heart of the modern marketer more than Christmas.
With relentless - indeed, annual - regularity, advent arrives and brings with it the sudden realisation that we simply must jump aboard the Christmas marketing train or risk being left behind in the Grinchy wilderness.
But has Christmas marketing become a pastiche of itself? Is yuletide a wasteland of creative thinking and marketing originality? Or like the same old movies every year, do you love the nostalgic repetition that Christmas does so well? Here are some examples for your festive marketing consideration:
1. The Christmas Email
Cliché rating - 🎅 🎅 🎅 🎅 🎅
Email is "electronic mail", so it figures that whatever we used to do by post should be replicated in email form - and that includes the digital reboot of the Christmas card that is the Christmas Email.
Every Christmas our inboxes are inundated with jolly greetings from every company we ever transacted with, no matter how long ago. 'Season's Greetings from Jojo's Feline Knitwear' - how on earth did I make it onto that mailing list?
Behind the flurry of snowy 600px email headers and Santa-emoji-laden subject lines is a marketing manager who knows that the Christmas Email is one of the simplest and easiest concessions to festive marketing available. Let's face it, we've all done it. Every single year.
But should I actually do it? - Whilst the Christmas Email is as cliché as Christmas marketing gets, it's also a simple and effective way to spread a little Christmas cheer. Pro-tip - cut through the noise by avoiding the usual tropes and doing something different with your Christmas email. Gift suggestions from your staff, an actually-desirable Christmas promotion, or photos of your office dog dressed up as an elf will all work well.
2. The Christmas Video
Cliché rating - 🎅 🎅 🎅 🎅
Since John Lewis started their reign of advent video dominance, it seems like every advertiser has been trying to get a little slice of that Christmas Video stardust. Combine husky-voiced acoustic renditions of popular tunes with a tear-jerking narrative of love, loss and redemption - ideally also including anthropomorphised animals - and you've got yourself a viral hit, right?
There's only so much festive viral magic to go around, and whilst your video may be a great achievement, Christmas is when the fight for rapt, teary-eyed audience attention is at its greatest.
"It's the most wonderful time of the year", except for video marketers, for whom Christmas represents a hellish battle-royale where the odds of ultimate victory are incredibly slim.
But should I actually do it? - We love video. Consumers love video. And Christmas + Video = Festive Marketing Magic. So, if you have the time and resources, and the right idea, then we think Christmas Video can be a great investment. But make sure you speak to the CEO first and ensure their expectations are set accordingly.
3. The Christmas Content "Advent Calendar"
Cliché rating - 🎅 🎅 🎅 🎅
'On the fifth day of Christmas, Twitter gave to me, a lot of content B-to-Beeeeeeee'.
The Christmas Content Advent Calendar is a true favourite of the B2B marketer (we've done it ourselves and we don't apologise for it).
The concept is simple - for the duration of advent, share content highlights from the year framed in a delightfully Christmassy 'advent calendar' format.
The difference is, instead of delicious chocolate behind every door, there's a blog post about the benefits of IMG captions for SEO, or a whitepaper about on-premises enterprise software security considerations.
But should I actually do it? - Christmas is, in many ways, the ultimate tired-out-format wheeled out year-after-year in spite of our growing cynicism. In that light, the B2B Christmas Content Advent Calendar is truly in-keeping with the season. Plus, it's a great way to squeeze some more value out of your content marketing efforts. So, why not?
4. The Christmas Gift
Cliché rating - 🎅 🎅 🎅
It's hard to precisely define the true meaning of Christmas (family? food? catching up on Netflix?) but the last time we checked, giving presents was a big part of it.
Marketers are wise to the joys of gift-giving - and, more pertinently, the joys of gift-receiving. Whether it's discount voucher codes, free-shipping, special promotions, or free branded merchandise, businesses spend a lot on giving around the Christmas holidays.
And just like at home with your family, there's a sliding-scale of gift quality that your presents get measured against: 50% off all purchases? That's a solid B+.
Free delivery? You get a B.
$100 gift voucher, no strings attached? A++ with distinction.
But should I actually do it? - If you're anything like me, when it comes to gifting you prioritise usefulness over extravagance. That's a good rule of thumb when it comes to Christmas giveaways too. If you're giving away something that you wouldn't want yourself, then the chances are the recipient won't want it either. So put away those branded key-rings and put a little more effort into it.
5. The Christmas Blog Post
Cliché rating - 🎅 🎅 🎅 🎅 🎅
Perhaps things are getting a bit 'meta' here - this being, after all, a Christmas blog post itself - but the Christmas blog post has been around as long as...well, as long as blogging itself.
But before you give up and throw your Yule Blog on the fire, remember - without Christmas blogs to write, what would marketers do in December?
But should I actually do it? - if this post is proof of anything, it's that the Christmas blog format is alive and well.
What do you think about the well-worn old advertising clichés of Christmas? Which ones work well for you, and which ones are less welcome than your miserable cousin at Christmas dinner? Christmas is the time for giving and sharing, so give your opinion and share a comment below!