December 9, 2013 12.00 pm This story is over 119 months old

Add Christmas cheer to your marketing

Festive social media: Sammy Greener looks at the best examples of social media being incorporated into a marketing campaign this year.

Traditionally a single day when families would come together, share gifts and enjoy a big turkey dinner, Christmas is now a full month of seasonal celebrations, and the marketing campaign has become a key part in its build-up. Not only is it an opportunity for businesses to revel in the Christmas spirit, but it is also a chance to creatively engage with customers.

For many, the first moment the iconic Coca Cola truck appears on our televisions and “the holidays are coming” soundtrack plays, it is deemed the unofficial start to Christmas. Having such a great influence over customers has inspired many other big brands like John Lewis, Sainsbury’s and M&S to follow and introduce their own annual, festive campaigns reaching out to the hearts of customers.

However, with the evolution of social media, customers can now watch the videos on YouTube and engage on Facebook and Twitter; increasing brand popularity and heightening engagement with consumers – opening a new avenue of innovation and creativity for businesses to explore.

Here, I have put together my favourite festive campaigns from this year, which I feel are inspirational and creatively involve social media:

John Lewis – The Bear and the Hare

Arguably the most popular campaign of the year, John Lewis’ heartfelt video of the friendship between a hibernating bear and his hare companion has had 10.2 million views on YouTube. To extend the social campaign, John Lewis created spin off Twitter accounts, @JohnLewisHare and @JohnLewisBear, racking up 11,000 followers each. Customers can tweet the accounts and have a conversation with the characters – encouraging engagement with the brand.

Harvey Nichols – Sorry, I spent it on myself

A twist on the usual Christmas giving theme, Harvey Nichols created a “Sorry, I spent it on myself” collection, offering low priced toothpicks, sink plugs and authentic Lincolnshire gravel as acceptable gifts to loved ones. This tongue-in-cheek campaign inspires customers to splurge on themselves this Christmas instead of on presents. The video has received 355,000 views on YouTube so far and the range sold out online within a matter of hours. The brand also encourages people to make their own videos as they give their loved ones a present from the range and tweet #SorryIspentitonmyself.

Budweiser – Knitbot

This campaign by Budweiser steps away from the traditional video and focuses on Twitter and Facebook. To discourage drink drivers, Budweiser has introduced ‘Knitbot’, a Twitter powered knitting machine that with every tweet containing the hashtag #jumpersfordes, would knit part of a jumper. The final jumper can be won through a Facebook competition. This is a different approach to create engagement this Christmas without the need for an advert.

Which are your favourite 2013 Christmas campaigns? Has your business run a festive campaign? I’d love to hear your thoughts, tweet me @sjgreener1 or leave me a comment below.

Sammy Greener is a PR Executive at Lava, an award-winning marketing communications agency based in Lincoln. Sammy plays an active role across both trade and consumer accounts, providing media relations, copywriting and administrational support. Sammy has a first class honours degree in Fashion Business from Glasgow Caledonian University, and has previously worked at Interflora and Bianca Jones Jewellery.