Whether you’re a small business owner, a marketing director or manager, a social media strategist, or entrepreneur, tis the season to make the most of your marketing. Here are five of our favorite holiday marketing campaigns.

Norton Antivirus | Christmas

We love this campaign because Norton has about as little to do with Christmas as a company can possibly have! Antivirus software is important, but it’s the last thing that anybody would want to receive as a Christmas present. The creators of this commercial were clearly aware of this, and made light of that fact.

This advertising campaign bridges the gap between Norton and Christmas brilliantly using one very profound, universal tool: humor. This advertising campaign is sure to make you smile, and stick in your mind afterwards.


Kohl’s | Black Friday

Remember that song, “Friday,” by Rebecca Black?

*everyone groans*

Yup, that’s the one! This infectious yet cringe-worthy teen-anthem took the internet by storm in 2011. Americans couldn’t get “Friday” out of their heads, and Kohl’s took advantage of this. By creating their own version of this internet sensation, they were all but guaranteed their own moment in the limelight! Watch the commercial, see what you think!


Officemax | Christmas 

When you’re part of a society, it’s not all about you. Sometimes participating is more important than promoting. Sometimes it’s good to simply join in the conversation, but if you choose to do this, it’s important to stay on topic. Few advertising campaigns illustrate this point better than Officemax’s Elf Yourself.

Elf Yourself was an internet sensation for reasons that had almost nothing to do with Officemax itself. However, it caught on like wildfire, and garnered a lot of positive attention for Officemax in the process. It’s estimated that one in ten Americans used Elf Yourself, making it the 55th most popular website on the planet. And, if you’re wondering, this really did translate into higher profits for Officemax.

Toys “R” Us | Christmas 

Marketing efforts for Christmas can be complicated, because the people making the purchase decision are not the same people that will actually be using the product. You have to get both the gift givers and gift receivers on board with your product! Most campaigns cater towards the people who will be receiving their products as gifts, but Toys “R” Us did things a little differently.

Toys “R” Us decided to create a campaign geared not towards children, but to their parents, who are the ultimate decision makers when it comes to christmas gifts. They used classic pieces of American Christmas- and childhood-related cinema from the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s to trigger the nostalgia of parents around the country as the holiday season drew nearer. Needless to say, there were a lot of nostalgic parents that decided to do their Christmas shopping at Toys “R” Us that year.  

De Beers Diamonds | Engagements 

Okay okay… no, engagements are not technically a holiday, but they are events that hold similar societal weight, and the following story is one that all marketers can learn from.

Have you ever wondered how diamond rings came to be so irrevocably intertwined with engagements? Not many people know the story of how we got to this point, so let us fill you in.

Diamonds have no intrinsic value. For most of human existence, they were nothing more than sparkly rocks with about the same value as a geode you’d buy at the Museum of Natural History’s gift shop. But then, in the late 1800s, De Beers Consolidated Mines, Ltd. hatched an evil plan to boost the value of this unusual stone. Because their South African mining operation controlled nearly all of the world’s supply of diamond, they were able to create a false sense of scarcity and trick the world into believing that diamonds are rare. But manipulating the supply of diamonds was just part one. Next they had to create demand for their product.

In the 1930s, during the Great Depression, De Beers hired New York Ad Agency N.W. Ayer to create an ad campaign to kick-start demand for their diamonds. It wasn’t long before an unsuspecting copywriter coined the slogan, “a diamond is forever.” With a brilliant campaign designed around this slogan, De Beers and N.W. Ayer were able to convince the American public that a diamond ring proposal was the best possible result of a courtship. They further convinced the American public that the size (and price) of the diamond was directly proportional to a man’s level of success in business and love for their sweetheart. This completely fabricated narrative in one that De Beers continues to tout to this very day, and we continue to eat it up, spending billions on their diamonds. As an example, here’s a commercial they aired in 2008…

Now that you know the truth, do you think that you’re immune to the effects of their advertising? Do you think that you’re now capable of unsubscribing? Well then, to all the guys out there, try proposing without a diamond ring and see what happens. And to all the ladies out there, wouldn’t you be a little disappointed if your sweetheart proposed to you with a ring made out of some other arbitrary material, like aluminum?

That, folks, is the power of marketing done right.