Holiday Advertising

Ho Ho Hold up. It’s not all about sales.

Holiday Advertising

By: Celeste Hubbard

The holiday season is officially upon us. It’s the time of year where the most emotional, elaborate, and effective ad campaigns drive a fifth of all retail sales for the entire year.

But at their best, holiday campaigns can impact much more than sales. They create movements and conversations that can dramatically affect how a brand, the industry and consumers behave during holiday seasons for years to come.


By now, we are all familiar with REI’s #OptOutside campaign, and this year marked the third season that it closed its physical and virtual doors on Thanksgiving and Black Friday. The core of the #OptOutside campaign, encourages a shift in conventional consumerism to reject Black Friday and take pleasure in the exploration of the great outdoors. From the beginning, this campaign has been met with praise and appreciation by those that have grown weary of mounting Black Friday commercialism. REI has seen a growth in sales since the launch of the campaign, despite the Black Friday closings, proving that for them, sacrificing sales on one of the busiest shopping days of the year is worth it in more ways than one.




Then there’s Cards Against Humanity. No stranger to controversial strategies and marketing tactics, this year, CAH launched a campaign that was originally billed as a movement to thwart construction and completion of a US – Mexico border wall.


At it’s mid-November launch, the brand indicated that all proceeds from the purchase of the Holiday pack would be used toward efforts to halt construction of said wall. But, what started as a politically motivated concept has morphed into an opportunity to tackle one of the biggest issues in the world: wealth inequality.


And yes, I’m still talking about a holiday campaign.


CAH, the self-described “party game for horrible people” is using its platform and our collective conscience to bring awareness to and take a small bite out of how “truly fucked” we all are by income inequality. So, after donating the majority of the proceeds to its original plan, it identified CAH subscribers that could benefit the most from a redistribution of wealth and gifted them with either a $15 refund or a $1,000 gift to use at their own discretion, this holiday season. Read more about it all here.


Rather than creating a traditional advertising campaign that pushed something typical like a holiday-themed version of the game, true to their brand, CAH took on a much bigger issue and started a conversation that they value more a batch of cards.


Ultimately, there is no clearly defined way to execute an impactful holiday campaign but during such a tradition-laden time of the year, marketing with a cause is sure to break through the clutter and impact more than just your brand’s bottom line.