Christmas Branding - Who's Getting Design Right This Year?


Seasonal branding is crucial for consumer-facing brands, particularly as the holiday season is a key sales period for gift and food buying - but not everyone is getting it right. We have picked the best and worst out there this year, and provided a few tips to capture the Christmas spirit of consumerism with a sprinkling of seasonality for brands.


Getting it Right - Starbucks

One brand that has done this really well is Starbucks. For years they have owned the Christmas red cup, and this year they have taken it to the next level with donating proceeds from coffee purchases to charity. This is built on a key consumer trend of Guilt Free Consumption, a key trend identified by in 2013 which is summarised as follows: "Fuelled by a pervasive awareness of the conflicts between their consumerist impulses and their aspirations to be 'good', experienced consumers are increasingly wracked with guilt. The result? A growing hunger for a new kind of consumption: one free from worry (or at least with less worry) about its negative impact, yet that allows continued indulgence"  

Why is it good?
  • The brand have "owned" the red cup which has now become synonymous with the festive period
  • They have focused on the word "holidays" so as to embrace as broad an audience as possible
  • There is no interference with the brand, the logo is intact and works well on the red
  • Brand extensions are well executed, Christmas blend coffee, seasonal specialities etc.
  • In-store gifts such as tree decorations and mugs are tastefully done


Getting it Wrong - Tesco

This year, Tesco launched a campaign that in our opinion is poor. It focuses on an ad campaign that is supposed to be based on real life but the use of actors makes it glaringly fake. Whilst the idea is a reasonably good one, it has been poorly executed. Sainsbury's on the other hand have done better by asking real customers to send in their videos.  

Why is it bad?
  • First of all, the adverts are not believable with the use of actors and different film types - it's messy
  • Secondly, there is no reference to the advertising on their website
  • There is no indication of the products I can buy in store from the advert - what's special about their offer this year, what is unique in store to tempt me in?
  • Once again this year, they have stuck a Christmas party hat onto their logo. In our view, this is lazy and not everyone celebrates Christmas in this way - who's feeling left out?


How you can get it right!

Getting seasonal branding right means that you can engage with more customers during what is undeniably the busiest consumer period of the year - a time when losing just 1% of the market can mean losing big bucks. Here are our tips for getting festive branding right:

  • Keep your brand clean and build a campaign around it like Starbucks have. Don't interfere with your logo and devalue what it stands for
  • Engage with important trends like Guilt Free Consumption to embrace your audience
  • Avoid the cliches like the Tesco party hat on the logo
  • Stay true to the values of your brand, don't go off on a tangent that is not on the wavelength of your existing consumer base
  • Remember your audience is savvy and fickle, at this time of year they want things to be simple and help them make decisions about gift ideas and purchases


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Who do you think have done it well this Christmas? Share your thought with us in the comments below!