‘Tis the season: Brands get a headstart on holiday marketing

Macy’s, Old Navy, Walgreens and more are prepping consumers for the holiday frenzy.

Adland is already debuting its 2021 holiday campaigns before some have even made a dent in their Halloween candy stash. 

Brands are pushing holiday marketing earlier this year due to supply chain problems. Factory delays and a shortage of truck drivers, among other factors, are causing product delays. According to Adobe, customers have started shopping earlier this year but have still been met with more than 2 billion out of stock messages in October — a whopping 250% increase year over year.

Marketers are hoping consumers will open their wallets before inventory runs out. 

Consumers intend to spend $598 on average this holiday season, compared to $539 in 2020, according to a survey by Accenture. Seventy-one percent anticipate spending as much or more than they did last year. Older millennials (32 to 39 years old) plan to spend an average of $705, the highest of any age group. 

The giving spirit is also in the air. Seventy-five percent of the more than 1,500 survey respondents said they plan to buy gifts for close family, while 41% also plan to buy gifts for neighbors, colleagues and friends. 

Brands are eager to capture attention with their holiday spots, which range from humorous to heartwarming. 

Campaign US rounded up some of our favorites. 

Macy’s “Tiptoe and the Flying Machine” 

In BBDO New York’s spot, Tiptoe, a sweet blue reindeer, is afraid to fly. She enlists the help of friends Polar Bear and Penguin, who take her to the Elves for help, who have created the Barometrically Elevating Levitation Instigation Engine with Vehicular Enhancement flying machine (a.k.a B.E.L.I.E.V.E.).

During her flying test with Santa Claus, TipToe starts to drop but she sees the inscription B.E.L.I.E.V.E. on the flying machine, which gives her courage. She is never scared to fly again because she learns that her strength is within herself, not a machine. 

The clip cuts to a father telling his daughter the story of Tiptoe as they wait for their plane at the airport. The girl, who is holding a stuffed reindeer version of Tiptoe, gets the courage to board the plane. 

Ratuken’s ‘12 Days of Cha-ching’

Ratuken’s holiday spot stars a woman singing about all the cash back she can get this holiday season by using the e-commerce website. She snags clothing, hand mixers, decor and even food delivery for those “awkward” holiday meals. 

The woman’s backup choir sings that they can’t legally say “everything” that consumers can get cash back on using Rakuten, but it’s a lot. The spot comes following Ratuken’s new brand identity launch, created with its in-house creative team and agency Collins.

Cricket Wireless’ “Winter Wonderland”

Cricket and creative agency Argonaut collaborated on the spot, “Winter Wonderland,” featuring Cricket Wireless mascots Dusty and Dante. In the clip, a woman is ecstatic about joining Cricket Wireless and makes snow angels. But she’s only dreaming as Dusty throws package cushioning on her. “I told you she’d love her new 5G phone from Cricket,” Dante tells the woman’s husband. 

He replies, “I see that.” The spot wraps with the tagline, “Everything you wished for. Including the price.”

Etsy’s “Bus Stop”

Etsy’s holiday spot, “Bus Stop,” created by 72andSunny New York, follows an unlikely friendship between a young male sales clerk and an older woman. Their companionship begins after the sales clerk returns the woman’s wallet that she left at the store. He takes her bags and waits with her at the bus stop. They start a routine, with the sales clerk walking the woman to her bus stop whenever she comes by the store — even in the rain and snow. At the end, the woman gives him a pair of mittens from Etsy to keep him warm during their walks. 

The spot is part of Etsy’s holiday film campaign, “Give More than a Gift.”

Walgreens’ “’Tis the Walgreens Season”

The holidays can be stressful, but Walgreens has got you covered. In the spot “Shawn,” created by The Pharm, a man is playing football with his family in the park. He reaches for an interception, but pulls a leg muscle. He’s about to curse saying, “Sh…” but a Walmart employee cuts him off. “Shawn?” she says before bringing him his order via curbside pickup. 

“If it’s ‘that’ll leave a mark’ season, it’s Walgreens season,” the voice-over says. 

Old Navy’s “Jingle Jammies”

Keke Palmer stars in Old Navy’s festive spot, which celebrates the diverse ways people spend the holidays (a.k.a. the “All-idays”). 

In the spot, Palmer comes down the chimney just like Santa Claus, wearing a red plaid onesie with a matching Santa hat and glitter booties. “Expecting someone else?” she says. “Ho ho no. It’s the All-idays, and we are all about it.” 

Palmer shows the different ways people of different cultures celebrate the holidays, ranging from eating Chinese takeout for Christmas dinner to traveling to grandma’s house in a pink golf cart. She hands out gifts to the “nice” boys before telling the girls, “it’s the naughty ones who make history.”

Chick-fil-a’s “The Whoopsery”

Sam returns to help out her friend CeCe in Chick-fil-a’s animated film, created in collaboration with McCann and Psyop. When CeCe accidentally breaks an old family Christmas heirloom, Sam takes her to The Whoopsery, a bakery in the whimsical town of Evergreen Hills. The baker shows the pals how something extraordinary can come from every mix-up. 

USPS’ “The Helpers”

When people think about the over one billion packages delivered this holiday season, they might envision flying reindeer or Santa Claus coming down their chimney. In reality, United States Postal Service workers are the backbone of package delivery every holiday season. 

In the spot, “The Helpers,” created by MRM with McCann Worldgroup, a little girl says goodbye to her mom, who is a U.S. Postal Service worker, before reading a poem to her sibling. The short film follows various USPS workers as they drive trucks, gather packages and communicate with customers during the holiday season. 

“And when everyone is smiling and having their fun, I can turn my train North because my job here is done,” the girl recites before her mom finally returns home. 

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