25 Top Christmas Marketing Campaigns Of 2015

Brands tried to win Christ­mas cheer from con­sumers with feel good moments and humor. Here are the most mem­o­rable 2015 hol­i­day cam­paigns.

Lisa Lacy By Lisa Lacy. Join the discussion » 1 comment

2015 marks the 25th anniver­sary of Mex­i­can beer brand Corona’s O’Tannenpalm spot. As a result, the brand released a behind-the-scenes video that explains how the ad came to be – alli­ga­tor wran­glers includ­ed – and why it has endured. In it, Tim Calkins, clin­i­cal pro­fes­sor of mar­ket­ing at the Kel­logg School of Man­age­ment at North­west­ern, says, “The dif­fi­cul­ty with hol­i­day ads is it’s easy to be about the hol­i­day, but it’s tough to own it in a unique way.” And that’s the chal­lenge brands face every year.

Christ­mas 2015 will undoubt­ed­ly be remem­bered as the year of the Star­bucks Red Cup Con­tro­ver­sy – or per­haps Reese’s #All­TreesAre­Beau­ti­ful response to com­plaints about its blob-like Christ­mas trees, retail­er Target’s OCD sweater scan­dal or U.K. retail­er Robert Dyas’ sex­u­al ori­en­ta­tion video – but there are plen­ty of oth­er brand moments worth not­ing this sea­son.

Per­haps a sign of the times, one major 2015 theme is focus­ing on the good of human­i­ty and being kind to each oth­er, such as this spot from U.K. gro­cery chain the Co-oper­a­tive Food, in which a young man shop­ping for a par­ty ends up doing a good deed for an elder­ly neigh­bor. Tylenol embraces sim­i­lar mes­sag­ing in its inclu­sive #HowWe­Fam­i­ly series.

But we also find lighter fare this year, such as sur­prise end­ings, as well as how to respond to bad gifts – or even how to #SaySor­ry to your cat.

Here are Momentology’s picks for the 25 best Christ­mas mar­ket­ing cam­paigns of 2015.

John Lewis


U.K. depart­ment store John Lewis’ #ManOn­The­Moon spot was one of the most high­ly antic­i­pat­ed hol­i­day ads this year and did not dis­ap­point, telling the sto­ry of the bond forged between a lit­tle girl and a man who lives far away.

It has 22.4 mil­lion views since Novem­ber 5.

Accord­ing to the brand, the cam­paign “encour­ages us to show some­one they’re loved this Christ­mas” and includes a part­ner­ship with the char­i­ty Age UK to help raise aware­ness of the mil­lion old­er peo­ple who go a month with­out speak­ing to a friend, neigh­bor, or mem­ber of fam­i­ly.

The retail­er has also cre­at­ed a Man On The Moon app, which uses aug­ment­ed real­i­ty to “bring the moon to life.” By point­ing a phone at the Man on the Moon image – which can be found on posters and shop­ping bags – or by hold­ing the device up to the actu­al moon, users can unlock a 3D inter­ac­tive moon that releas­es dai­ly facts and ani­ma­tions in the count­down to Christ­mas Day’s full moon, the brand says.


UK super­mar­ket chain Sainsbury’s turned to a beloved children’s book char­ac­ter, Mog the For­get­ful Cat, in its 2015 hol­i­day spot, Mog’s Christ­mas Calami­ty.

The ad fol­lows a series of unfor­tu­nate inci­dents with a most unlucky cat in the wee hours of Christ­mas morn­ing, as well as – spoil­er alert – friends and neigh­bors who band togeth­er to ensure Mog’s fam­i­ly has a hap­py Christ­mas after all. The video has more than 25 mil­lion views since it post­ed Novem­ber 12.

Sainsbury’s also offers a book by the same title, and, per reports, UK par­ents are up in arms because the retail­er ran out of Mog stuffed ani­mals, which have since popped up on eBay for £90.

Spanish Christmas Lottery

The Span­ish Christ­mas Lot­tery spot­lights #Justi­no, a night watch­man at a man­nequin fac­to­ry whose only friends/coworkers are man­nequins and who starts cre­at­ing increas­ing­ly elab­o­rate setups for his day­time col­leagues, who he nev­er actu­al­ly sees. The endear­ing spot has 4.8 mil­lion views since Novem­ber 16.


Low-cost Cana­di­an air­line West­Jet has become some­thing of a viral sen­sa­tion for its hol­i­day efforts in recent years. And, on Decem­ber 9, the brand attempt­ed to con­tin­ue its streak by facil­i­tat­ing 12,000 so-called “mini mir­a­cles,” or “[acts] of kind­ness that [evoke] a pos­i­tive response from some­one,” in a 24-hour peri­od.

In the end, West­Jet said the brand record­ed near­ly 32,000 mini mir­a­cles, such as con­tribut­ing to food dri­ves, donat­ing blood, shov­el­ing side­walks, cut­ting off hair for can­cer, and col­lect­ing cloth­ing for char­i­ties and needy indi­vid­u­als.

The air­line then com­piled footage from this day for its annu­al Christ­mas mir­a­cle video, not­ing, “Mir­a­cles do hap­pen when we all work as one.” It has 700,000 views since it post­ed Decem­ber 15. In addi­tion, the brand says the ini­tia­tive gar­nered 10,000 men­tions on Face­book and Twit­ter, 200 mil­lion Twit­ter impres­sions, and more than 300,000 vis­its to the mini-mir­a­cle web­site hub.


Pro­mot­ing the ide­al that “when you believe, mag­ic hap­pens,” a four-minute film from Coca-Cola and J. Wal­ter Thomp­son Brasil show “how the love of a father for his son res­cued Christ­mas mag­ic and changed the lives of an entire city” in A Bridge for San­ta.

It has 240,000 views since Novem­ber 25.

The cam­paign also includ­ed a car­a­van of illu­mi­nat­ed Coke-brand­ed semi trucks that trav­eled across Brazil and could be tracked via an inter­ac­tive map.

What’s more, in West­ern Europe, Coca-Cola dis­trib­uted lim­it­ed-edi­tion pack­ag­ing labels on so-called 1.75-liter Bow Bot­tles of Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Coke Zero and Coca-Cola Life. As the name implies, these labels can be peeled off and turned into dec­o­ra­tive bows.


A for­lorn sprout final­ly finds peo­ple who appre­ci­ate him – like Doc­tor Who and Sher­lock – in BBC One’s Sprout Boy Meets a Galaxy of Stars. Con­ve­nient­ly, the spot, which has 118,000 views since Decem­ber 16, also high­lights BBC One’s line­up on Christ­mas Day.


This year, the retail behe­moth con­duct­ed some­thing of a social exper­i­ment in its To Give or To Get video, telling chil­dren they could pick any toy at Wal­mart and keep it or give it to a child that doesn’t get many presents dur­ing the hol­i­days. And, out of hun­dreds of chil­dren, near­ly 80 per­cent chose to give, Wal­mart says in the video. It has about 20,000 views to date.

In addi­tion, the brand has also request­ed par­ents to ask their own chil­dren if they’d rather give or get and to share ensu­ing video respons­es with #Fill­TheTruck.

On the lighter end of the spec­trum, Wal­mart also cre­at­ed a video series with actor Craig Robin­son, the Best Hol­i­day Gifts as Sung by Craig Robin­son, in which he sings dit­ties about what to get var­i­ous recip­i­ents, like kids, gamers, nature lovers and “the styl­ish.”


Tech com­pa­ny Leno­vo also puts a spot­light on gen­eros­i­ty and self­less­ness in its Hol­i­day Giv­ing spot, which also inte­grates its Yoga Tab 3 Pro tablet and reminds con­sumers to “project a lit­tle joy this hol­i­day sea­son.”


In PornHub’s word­less spot, an oth­er­wise for­got­ten patri­arch receives a Porn­hub gift card from a young rel­a­tive who some­how under­stands pre­cise­ly what he wants.

The ad touts Porn­hub’s new Pre­mi­um’s gift­ing ser­vice, which the brand says offers users an ad-free expe­ri­ence, faster play­back, and high­er qual­i­ty stream­ing of its mil­lions of videos. With the tag line, “This Christ­mas, give the most touch­ing gift,” the video has 5.3 mil­lion views since it was post­ed Decem­ber 3.



Call­ing Apple “some old friends,” Microsoft employ­ees from around the U.S., as well as mem­bers of a New York City children’s choir, went car­ol­ing from the Microsoft Store on Fifth Avenue in Man­hat­tan to “their neigh­bor down the street.”

Using the tag line, “Spread har­mo­ny,” Microsoft says the video “[shares] a mes­sage of peace and har­mo­ny.” It has 1.9 mil­lion views since it was pub­lished Decem­ber 1.

For its part, Apple tapped singers Ste­vie Won­der and Andra Day to per­form Wonder’s 1967 hol­i­day hit, “Some­day at Christ­mas,” result­ing in 3 mil­lion views since Novem­ber 25.


Harvey Nichols

British depart­ment store Har­vey Nichols gets a bit cheeky in its Avoid #Gift­Face spot that fea­tures a young woman who must endure count­less gift atroc­i­ties. Thank­ful­ly, the brand notes con­sumers can avoid gifts “that are beyond ter­ri­ble” and aren’t “even wor­thy of gath­er­ing dust on your shelf” by find­ing the per­fect one at Har­vey Nichols.

It has about 70,000 views since Novem­ber 9.

Currys PC World

In a sim­i­lar vein, British elec­tron­ics retail­er Cur­rys PC World tapped actor Jeff Gold­blum for a series of two-minute videos in which he helps dis­ap­point­ed gift recip­i­ents #SpareThe­Act by envi­sion­ing what they tru­ly want under the tree.

Some­times we need to act to main­tain the Christ­mas spir­it,” the brand says. “At Cur­rys PC World, we have every­thing you need to avoid those awk­ward fes­tive moments.”

Accord­ing to the brand, 74 per­cent of Brits fake pos­i­tive reac­tions to dis­ap­point­ing gifts and hear­ing the phrase, “That’s love­ly,” “That’s nice,” or, “Just what I want­ed,” could be a sign a gift missed the mark. Cur­rys even worked with social anthro­pol­o­gist Kate Fox on how to iden­ti­fy gifts that were not well-received and issued the Cur­rys PC World Lan­guage of Gift Exchange report with its find­ings.


Ger­man super­mar­ket chain Ede­ka swings for the fences in #HeimKom­men, or Home­com­ing, in which – spoil­er alert – an old man fakes his own death to final­ly get his fam­i­ly to vis­it him for Christ­mas. Using the tag line “Time to come home,” it has 43 mil­lion views since it was post­ed Novem­ber 28.

In a sim­i­lar vein, Bel­gian mobile com­pa­ny Mobitar puts a thought-pro­vok­ing spin on stay­ing in touch with fam­i­ly in its A Christ­mas Love Sto­ry spot, which has about 17,000 views as of Decem­ber 8.



Lux­u­ry acces­sories brand Coach fea­tures an enter­pris­ing young woman who takes mat­ters into her own hands with San­ta when she ends up on his naughty list in #Give­Coa­chOrElse, which net­ted the brand 5.5 mil­lion views.


British lifestyle brand Mulberry’s #Mul­ber­ryMir­a­cle spot reimag­ines the Christ­mas sto­ry with the role of Jesus played by a hand­bag. It has gen­er­at­ed more than 1 mil­lion views since Novem­ber 2.


Lux­u­ry fash­ion brand Burber­ry is cel­e­brat­ing 15 years of Bil­ly Elliot in its “fes­tive film,” which includes three min­utes of British actors, mod­els, and musi­cians, includ­ing Sir Elton John, Romeo Beck­ham, Michelle Dock­ery, and James Cor­den on a tram­po­line. It has 12.4 mil­lion views since Novem­ber 3.


For its part, Lagavulin Sin­gle Malt Scotch Whisky teamed up with “actor, humorist and wood­work­er” Nick Offer­man to cel­e­brate the 49th anniver­sary of the first ever Yule Log broad­cast, which was orig­i­nal­ly a hol­i­day gift to New York City res­i­dents who did not have fire­places from TV sta­tion WPIX. This year, Lagavulin and Offer­man have filmed what they call a “new live-action ren­di­tion” that “promis­es to be the most enjoy­able fire­place-view­ing expe­ri­ence of all time.”

The result­ing 45-minute-long Yule Log video fea­tures Offer­man sit­ting next to a roar­ing fire drink­ing whisky and star­ing at the view­er, occa­sion­al­ly scratch­ing his ear or cross­ing his legs. It has 2.3 mil­lion views since Decem­ber 3.

Accord­ing to a press release, Lagavulin and Offer­man are request­ing that the “titans of the TV and video stream­ing indus­tries” replace their tra­di­tion­al Yule Log with their ver­sion from 10 to 11 PM each night through­out the hol­i­day sea­son as it is “the pre­ferred hour of after-din­ner Scotch whisky enjoy­ment.”

The effort also includes a My Tales of Whisky YouTube chan­nel with addi­tion­al hol­i­day-themed videos fea­tur­ing Offer­man.


Call­ing it “the ulti­mate cel­e­bra­tion of the sea­son,” Swedish retail­er H&M turned to singer Katy Per­ry, as well as a dizzy­ing array of gin­ger­bread men, danc­ing gifts, nut­crack­ers, bears in sweaters, can­dy canes on stilts and Christ­mas trees on roller skates for a spot that has 5.2 mil­lion views since Novem­ber 22.

Kit Kat

In a per­haps bold movie, can­dy brand Kit Kat eschews tra­di­tion­al hol­i­day fare and instead wel­comes view­ers to noth­ing but a white-ish screen with a voice talk­ing about tak­ing a break from all the usu­al hol­i­day stuff in its Christ­mas Break video, which has 30,000 views since Decem­ber 6.



Incor­po­rat­ing what could be the most high­ly antic­i­pat­ed movie of all time, bat­tery brand Duracell’s Bat­tle for Christ­mas Morn­ing reminds view­ers to “nev­er under­es­ti­mate the pow­er of imag­i­na­tion” and shows “what’s pos­si­ble when two young Jedi pow­er up their lightsabers with Dura­cell and enter the Star Wars world of imag­i­na­tive play to take on Stormtroop­ers, Tie Fight­ers and the rest of the Dark Side,” Dura­cell says. It has 15.9 mil­lion views since Octo­ber 29.


Look­ing to edu­cate con­sumers about online threats and how to secure devices and pro­tect data, mal­ware pre­ven­tion brand Nor­ton cre­at­ed a three-part video series, San­ta Got Hacked, in which Santa’s Naughty or Nice list, or what Nor­ton calls some of the biggest data in the world, is com­pro­mised and San­ta threat­ens to give every­one in the world coal.

Accord­ing to Nor­ton, the videos “take a humor­ous approach to raise aware­ness around a cul­tur­al­ly rel­e­vant and impor­tant issue – online crimeas Nor­ton research found 80 per­cent of Amer­i­cans are con­cerned that they will expe­ri­ence online crime, but they aren’t doing enough to pro­tect them­selves.

The one-minute videos have about 1.4 mil­lion views to date.



Using snug­gling up for sto­ry time as its jump­ing-off point, Tar­get says its hol­i­day cam­paign, The Hol­i­day Odyssey, tells a sto­ry with the spot­light on many of its hol­i­day toys and prod­ucts like Min­ions, Nin­ja Tur­tles, and Bar­bie.

In the ensu­ing video series, three chil­dren join Target’s dog Bulls­eye on an epic jour­ney to light a Christ­mas tree.

The cam­paign also includes a dig­i­tal sto­ry­book nar­rat­ed by actor Neil Patrick Har­ris. In addi­tion, the brand launched Tar­get Won­der­land, or what it called a “first-of-its-kind retail expe­ri­ence” that com­bines “the best of phys­i­cal and dig­i­tal” in Man­hat­tan.

Part mag­i­cal toy store, part Pop Art exhib­it, it’s the per­fect place for fam­i­lies to share smiles, self­ie moments and deli­cious treats,” the brand says. In addi­tion, the space includes ele­ments from the Hol­i­day Odyssey cam­paign, like the S.S. Free Ship­ping Lego ship, a giant Etch-a-Sketch, a super-sized Xbox Kinect Snow-N-Roll and a Rube Gold­berg-like con­trap­tion to per­son­al­ize an orna­ment, as well as “a peek at the future of retail, imag­ined by Tar­get.”


For its part, the cook­ie brand put out a call to action in its Won­der Car­ols video to “Help us give the gift of song by shar­ing your own hol­i­day mem­o­ries and sto­ries,” which Oreo could then use to cre­ate new car­ols. It has 1.8 mil­lion views since Decem­ber 7.

As of Decem­ber 18, the effort has result­ed in four new car­ols and videos in Oreo’s YouTube chan­nel.

Sim­i­lar­ly, McDonald’s in the UK asked con­sumers to share their best back­seat singing for pos­si­ble inclu­sion in its Christ­mas Day TV ad in its #Jour­ney­ToChrist­mas effort.



Inte­grat­ing its smart home man­age­ment sys­tem, Iris, home improve­ment retail­er Lowe’s launched a San­ta Track­er app, which it says allows con­sumers to “mon­i­tor and man­age your home and track San­ta this hol­i­day sea­son.”

Accord­ing to a video overview, the San­ta Track­er app includes roof, chim­ney and milk and cook­ie sen­sors. The video itself has 115,000 views since Decem­ber 7.


On Decem­ber 15, GE invit­ed con­sumers to take a dig­i­tal jour­ney on Insta­gram through #GEWin­ter­land, or what it called a “mag­i­cal snow globe vil­lage pow­ered by the world’s most advanced tech­nol­o­gy.”

The jour­ney began at @generalelectric and took par­tic­i­pants through a series of con­nect­ed accounts of GE busi­ness­es and part­ners that it said “bring to life the awe-inspir­ing pow­er of tech­nol­o­gy.”

Accord­ing to a press release, the self-guid­ed tour explores mod­ern tech­nolo­gies and offers users a chance to spot hid­den snow globe east­er eggs.

Through con­nect­ed mosa­ic illus­tra­tions and ani­mat­ed videos, #GEWin­ter­land maps the mod­ern indus­tri­al tech­nolo­gies that touch every human life. These mosaics also illus­trate how GE shares tech­nol­o­gy and knowl­edge between busi­ness­es – what is known as the GE Store,” the brand says in a release. “Fol­low the CSX ‘Pow­er Express’ pulled by GE’s Tier 4 loco­mo­tive, the most fuel-effi­cient loco­mo­tive in the world; take in the snowy view atop of a 400 FT wind tur­bine; and wit­ness the beau­ti­ful chaos of the Bril­liant Toy Work­shop, where data works like mag­ic.”

Lisa Lacy

Written by Lisa Lacy

Lisa is a senior features writer for Inked. She also previously covered digital marketing for Incisive Media. Her background includes editorial positions at Dow Jones, the Financial Times, the Huffington Post, AOL, Amazon, Hearst, Martha Stewart Living and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.

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