Ah September! The season of crisp air and colourful leaves, the month where hipsters awake from their long slumber in search of Pumpkin Spice Lattes and a time when the marketing and advertising world starts to settle in with a nice cup of Eggnog and plan their holiday campaigns. That’s right … it’s Christmas in September and here are a few of my very own tips on how to create some awesome video content for your upcoming holiday campaign.

Wrap Your Presents Early

There will be a lot of companies fighting to share the mistletoe with your audience’s eyeballs this Holiday season; that’s why it is so important to give the necessary time required to strategize, plan, produce, revise and launch your holiday-themed creative. This will not only help you produce better quality content but also ensure that you can launch your fancy new video earlier to get more views and engagement! Remember … last minute gift shopping is stressful. Last-minute production is even moreso… get on Santa’s nice list and start planning ASAP.

Be Genuine

Remember the Christmas that Aunt Mary gave you a pair of hand-knit mittens and even though you didn’t like the gift, your parents nudged you in the back and eyeballed you into a submissive grunt that kinda’ sounded like a “thank you”? When I watch holiday videos I sometimes feel like my poor aunt Mary, viewing a poorly crafted piece of content that clearly would rather be selling products and services than thanking me for my time by entertaining me.

For B2B or service-oriented organizations this usually manifests as a structural problem. They create a “holiday sandwich” of sorts where their marketing message is not so cleverly squeezed in between two Christmas themed pieces of bread.

For larger CPG brands the lack of sincerity is often an issue of treating the Holidays as yet another backdrop to showcase new products and their “super-awesome-must-have-cant-live-without–new-release-features”. I know this ad was considered a mega-success, but I just can’t shake the feeling that the marketing team and agency behind the “Samsung Galaxy: It’s not just a gift. It’s a possibility” were strong armed into showcasing the Samsung Galaxy off in as many cool wintery settings as they could. The result is an ad that (i feel) lacks any sort of authentic heart.

That’s why it is so important to create a Holiday video that is authentic, engaging and entertaining; and keeps product plugs to a subtle minimum. Which leads me to my next tip ….

Give the Feels

The Holidays are a special time because they give us pause from everyday life and allow us to reflect on the things that make us feel all warm and mushy inside. I find that the brands that create the best Holiday video content tap into this cultural sensibility and makes people take a step back from whatever device they are viewing from and look inward to reflect on the things that really matter in life.

A few great Holiday themes your brand could tap into are:

Realizing what really matters around the holidays: spending time with family and the people you love.

Saying “thank you” to those who you may take for granted every day.

Reconnecting with long-lost family.

The joys of new love or life-long love.

Giving back to and connecting with those less fortunate.

Telling Aunt Mary that you were a little jerk back in the day and that her hand-knit mittens were actually pretty awesome.

It really doesn’t matter if you want to make your viewers to laugh, cry, feel love or anything else for that matter … Just come to the table prepared with some kind of emotion and motivation to get people to feel the same thing!

Make a Macaroni Card

The best cards aren’t bought at Hallmark – they’re made by hand with glue, macaroni and too much glitter. Oh god … why did they use so much glitter? Add a personal touch to your content by customizing your videos. For smaller brands, you can use a tool like VidYard to add a personalized header or backplate with your recipients name on it. For larger brands tools like Google Vogon allows brands to embed text, audio or images within your content to generate unlimited variations of one video; letting you customize videos for your audiences based on geographic location, customer segments or preference for white vs. dark Turkey meat in a cost-effective manner.

Stuff Their Stockings

Stockings would kinda’ suck if they only had one item in them, am I right? If you want to engage and entertain your audience, make sure to produce content that can be leveraged across all of your digital and social channels. Bonus points if you create supplementary material that enhances the experience of your hero content. A great example of this is the 2016 Holiday Ad “Buster the Boxer” ad that generated over 31,000,000 views in a single day and an garnered additional 26,000,000 views by releasing a complimentary 360 degree video that enhanced the ad viewing experience.

Ah F*ck It … Just do Something with Cute Animals and Inanimate Objects

Meh. Forget about everything I said before … just think up a scenario that showcases lovable animals giving googly eyes to the camera or have some adorable inanimate objects do things that humans do IRL. Just look at these adorable creatures … aweee … Who’s a good boy? Yes you are. Yes you are indeed ….


filed under: #holidays #christmas #marketing #advertising #contentstrategy #videoproduction