Bah Humbug. That sums up my feelings on the holiday season.When watching the Grinch, I can’t help but find his attitude towards Christmas to be completely relatable. If I had neighbors like the Whos in Whosville, Itoo might have considered stealing Christmas from them. The nonstop Christmas carols alone should warrant a noise complaint to the local authorities. All theGrinch wanted was some peace and quiet during the holiday season.

As a self-proclaimed Grinch, we’re not even all the way through the holiday season, and I am already exhausted. The holiday season has been oversaturated by a world where stores, radio stations and co-workers (cough cough Sarah and Jody) who all started to celebrating the week after Halloween.

With the extended holiday season, it can be a tough challenge to get your advertisements just right. It is all about balancing your product or service, with the hook of the holiday season. You want to acknowledge the holiday season, without going too overboard. Follow my Grinchy tips to saving your advertisements this holiday season.

Let’s Get Grinchy with What Not to Do

I want to credit part of my holiday Grinchiness to the Pennsylvania State Lottery. Why? Because for the past 26 years the PA State Lottery has run the SAME COMMERCIAL. If this commercial was a person, its brain would be fully developed. If you have only watched this commercial once in your life, you might think, “this song is a clever lottery ticket remix to the 12 days of Christmas”. You can try to catch up to me by watching it another 13,000 times to start to understand where I am coming from. Sometimes, in my nightmares, I can hear a distant “Five Cash Fives.”

In 2012, the PA lottery decided to update this ad, by making a shot for shot remake. GUYS, I CAN’T EVEN.

While playing the same advertisement year after year at every commercial break might trick some people into believing its nostalgic and a must for the holiday season. I view it as a torture tactic. My advice for any advertiser is to change up your ad content from year to year. There is no need for such repetition, especially in an age with the internet. Your ads can live on forever online, please do not expose the world to over 20 years of the same commercial.  

How to Draw in The Whos of Whoville

Here are a few things we can learn from this ad:

Use Influencers: recognizable faces will draw in your audience and add credibility to your product. Not everyone can afford to have Elton John or even the soundtrack to this commercial, but you don’t need superstars.Try looking locally for someone your audience can connect with.

Focus on the first few seconds: A close up of Elton John’s face as he plays one of his hits will draw people’s attention. Try to capture your audience’s attention immediately, this way they will actively watch.

Don’t Be Overly Promotional: John Lewis & Partners saved any mention of their brand to the closing seconds of the ad. The best way to do this is to find a way to incorporate your brand into a simple narrative. Tell your story before adding in any promotional materials.

Make the Grinch’s Heart Grow Three Times its Size

The most important tip for creating an unforgettable advertisement this holiday season in to find your emotional hook. Want an extreme example? Watch below

I’m not crying, you’re crying! In this German Edeka commercial, a grandfather fakes his death (an extreme approach if you ask me) to get his family to finally come home for Christmas and enjoy the meal he has put together. This ad has everything you could want for the holiday season; acute dog, a sad old person, children’s guilt, even a “surprise I’m not dead”moment, followed by a turkey dinner celebration.

The main success of this ad is that it plays like a movie,telling the audience a full story. It is not until the final 15 seconds of the advertisement that they even mention their campaign phrase or brand. Edeka can hit an emotional chord with their audience and seamlessly tie in their product,which is why they were a viral success, with almost 61 million views on YouTube.  

These advertising tips can be applied to your brand’s commercials and videos all year long. Keep your audience engaged by changing up your content. Avoid promotional overload and work hard to find an emotional hook. Also, if anyone has been inspired to start a Change.Org petition to stop the Pennsylvania Lottery Christmas Commercial, I will sign it, please commentwith the link below.

Happy Holidays! 

Rebecca McTear

Rebecca McTear

Digital Strategist at The Moak Group
Adapting to the latest technologies to stay one step ahead of competitors, Rebecca McTear handles the Digital Strategy at The Moak Group. Here she develops unique strategies to meet client goals, crafts content for social media, videos, and graphics and monitors metrics and analytics to make sure client goals are being reached.
Rebecca McTear