Once the last trick or treater heads home after collecting their weight in candy, something changes in the air. Marketers, stores, co-workers (cough cough Rebecca Hendrickson) decide to completely skip fall, Thanksgiving, my birthday, and head right into the winter holiday season.

This intrusion on fall, while highly annoying, has allowed brands to revel in the success of holiday marketing efforts. It also allows ample times for campaigns to crash and burn before any presents have been unwrapped. This holiday season, we decided to take a look at the holiday marketing approaches of a few brands and help Santa put them on the Nice List or Naughty List.

Naughty List – Goop Gift List

When the Goop gift list arrives every year, it’s like Christmas has come early for bloggers, podcasters, and half of Twitter. The internet races to pick apart the list and talk about the most outrageous items being touted as good gift ideas. Like, sure, my brother would love to be a knockoff Iron Man in this flight suit, but I can’t afford $7,000 for 90 minutes of happiness for him.

$25,000 for, let me check again, ‘plant music’ is a level of burning money I can never hope to obtain in this lifetime. And for the low, low, looooooow price of $275,000, you can get the “Norman Mailer, Marc Newson. MoonFire, Lunar Rock Edition No. 1,967 ‘NWA 5153’”, to which Indiana Jones would say:

Indiana Jones That Belongs In A Museum GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

While this list is always a trending topic when it’s released, it is mostly because of how out of touch it is with the 99%. As fun as it is to look at these ridiculous products, I must consciously uncouple from it.

Naughty List – Peloton Bike

Let me start by saying the product is not the issue here- it’s the ad’s cringe factor.

Exhibit 1: The Peloton appears to be a surprise gift. If you want to remain in a serious relationship, do not surprise your significant other with the gift of exercise (not to mention, unless you are Daddy Warbucks, probably should discuss the allocation of $2,300 worth of funds towards an exercise bike with said significant other BEFORE making that kind of investment…)

Exhibit 2: Selfie videos of the workouts, with the wife expressing that she is scared, tired…need I say more?

Exhibit 3: A year’s worth of selfie workout videos put together to be husband’s Christmas gift the following year (revenge is a dish best served cold).

Exhibit 4: The ad is titled “The Gift that Gives Back,” meaning the husband is giving this gift in order to receive his wife’s toned body in return… gross.  

The internet had a field day when this ad was released, from the gender dynamics at play in the commercial to the cringy selfie video format. Peloton released a statement that it is standing by the ad, but the damage has been done, with Peloton losing $1.6 billion in company value since the ad aired.

Nice List – Apple Commercial

RIP MY HEART OUT! Apple knew what it was doing when it took the music from the Pixar movie Up and accompanied it with a recently deceased Grandmother, (hint: the goal is 100% to get everyone who watches the ad to cry). Thanks for making me fake an allergy attack in front of my family when I couldn’t stop crying at an electronics commercial.

Apple puts a spin on the modern-day trope of kids overusing their devices and shows that their products can be used to bring families together during the holiday season. By telling a full story, with strong emotional beats and a realistic product tie-in, this ad wins the holiday season.

Nice List- Spotify Wrapped

The holidays came early this year for Spotify users, with the release of Spotify Wrapped on December 3rd. Just in case you’re living under a rock, every year Spotify utilizes data to allow users to relive the music they listened to most over the year. To cap off the end of the decade, this year Spotify shared users’ stats for the entire decade.

As with every year Spotify Wrapped is released, the content went viral. Spotify enabled this with a built-in share feature that allowed users to share their results to their Instagram stories and Twitter. Non-Spotify users must have been feeling major FOMO,  because in the three days following the release of Spotify Wrapped the app was downloaded 2.3 million times around the world.

Want to stay off of the Naughty list for next year? Our biggest tip is to look to make a meaningful connection with your audience. Follow the example from Apple to connect on an emotional level, or Spotify and gift them with a recap of their year using your product, but whatever you do, don’t surprise them with the gift of exercise.

Happy Holidays!

Rebecca McTear