The most creative Christmas marketing campaigns that went viral in 2022

Anna Bredava
by Anna Bredava on December 6, 2022

Article summary

In this article, we rounded up a list of the most creative and original Christmas marketing campaigns that went viral this year. Learn the secrets to their success in our blog post.

13 minute read

Top 5 Christmas marketing campaigns
  1. The most creative Christmas marketing campaigns 2022
  2. The secrets to a successful marketing campaign

It's the most wonderful time of the year - for brands as well!

It's no secret that during the holidays consumer spending rises dramatically: people prepare for hosting parties, buy gifts, decorate their homes, and so on. Already a record 196 million Americans shopped in stores and online over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, a 10% increase from last year.

Any brand would want to tap into this holiday spirit, but how do you do it successfully and make your campaign different from all the red, white, and green posts and videos from other companies?

We gathered 5 Christmas campaigns from this year that did something different to get you some last-minute marketing inspiration. Discover why they worked in our blog post!

The most creative Christmas marketing campaigns 2022

1. TK Maxx - Christmas Nailed

This year TK Maxx’s energizing Christmas ad campaign decide to promote the idea to “nail Christmas for less” to its customers. The ad depicts a young woman who's parting with her family after all the festivities and astonishes them with the amazing presents she got by shopping at TK Maxx. When her father curiously requires her how she managed to do it, assuming it was extremely expensive, her reply is simple: “Just went to TK Maxx”.

This then leads to the woman dancing around the town and giving out a chain of high-fives started by her father through the town to the soundtrack of the famous disco hit ‘Supernature’. Most of the video is dedicated to this quite bizarre event.

Deborah Dolce, group director at TK Maxx, added: “With the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, we know this is a tough year and, for many people, Christmas is such an important time to come together with loved ones. Sharing presents is an integral part of the festivities – we all love to treat our friends and family.

“So, we just wanted to let people know you can still do a brilliant job by shopping at TK Maxx; there’s no need to compromise on brands and quality because our gifts are available for up to 60% less than the recommended retail price. And as our upbeat advert highlights, when you find the right gift, at the right price, the feeling is undeniably infectious.”

Why it works

The campaign shows a perfect understanding of the target audience. It speaks to their goals i.e. to spend less on Christmas gift shopping and at the same time makes it a fashionable experience with the right choice of music and visuals.

The stylish music choice especially generated a lot of comments and positive feedback. The brand truly nailed it!

It's also not the most cliche or obvious marketing trope, there's no Santa, reindeer, or chimneys. As one of the comments on YouTube says:"I really don’t understand this advert so bizarre as if it’s supposed to get us talking about it. Well job done well played ".

The out-of-the-box visuals help draw attention while the strong and relatable message convinces customers to actually purchase gifts from Tk Maxx.

2. Sainsbury’s - Once Upon a Pud

Sainsbury's also decided not to rely on traditional tropes and images this year and found a new story for Christmas.

Their ad tells us a story of a huge Christmas feast hosted by a demanding The Countess (played by British TV host Alison Hammond) somewhere in fantasy land reminiscent of the Games of Thrones.

The cooks queue up to impress her with their Christmas meals (that you can conveniently purchase at Sainsbury's). One of the cooks brings a desert - a pudding - which the Queen despises. She expresses her discontent and the court hangman is already readying the blade, but the

However, the cook decides to turn this situation around and updates the same pudding by adding different ingredients. The Countess agrees to try the new and improved pudding again and this time finds it delicious.

The chef is saved, everyone is having a good time, and the hangman gives a high five to the court official. With that, Sainsbury's clothes their tale of this culinary Christmas miracle.

Why it works

There are a lot of widely known cultural traditions and myths around the holidays. While using them in your campaign can help tap into the atmosphere, picking a different route helps you stand out.

Sainsbury's decided to stay away from the banalities and take us somewhere else. In fact, this campaign could work at any time, it's not tied to Christmas at its core, but that is exactly what helps customers differentiate between Sainsbury's and other retail brands in the holiday marketing craze.

To invite a celebrity for a Christmas ad was a genius move - not only Allison Hammond is infinitely charismatic she also brings the necessary name recognition to the table.

3. John Lewis - The Beginner

As always, this list wouldn't be complete without John Lewis. Frequently praised as one of as the best Christmas ad creators, John Lewis has become something of an icon, and their campaigns are anticipated every holiday season. This year the UK department store once again won our hearts run with this 2022 holiday ad about a man learning how to skateboard.

The ad shows the man trying to learn the skateboard with various levels of success but the fails don't stop him from trying. This doesn't seem like a remarkable story beat, even though it's certainly unusual for a man of his age to pick up such a hobby.  Who is he trying to impress? It's unclear for some time until we come to the emotional climax of the ad.

At the end, we finally meet the reason he spent weeks mastering a new hobby: he and his wife are taking in a foster child who loves to skateboard. She’s a bit nervous, but seeing his obviously used skateboard leaning against the wall, she finds some common ground and visibly relaxes.

The ad ends with a titbit of grim statistics, stating that “over 108,000 children in the UK are in the care system”. However, John Lewis has stepped up to make a difference, promising that they’re “making a long-term commitment to support the futures of young people from care” in partnership with Action for Children and Who Cares? Scotland.

This way not only John Lewis produced an emotional story but also took on a social responsibility mission for this campaign.

Why it works

Christmas is traditionally a time of giving to those who are less lucky than us. John Lewis shining a light on an often overlooked and devastating issue was much appreciated by social media users.

John Lewis has pledged its support to a worthy cause, and consumers will remember it.

In addition to that, a story that tugs on your heartstrings and a high-quality production make this ad simply an amazing experience to watch.

4. Disney - The Gift

In this year’s Disney Christmas ad, the final chapter of the ‘From Our Family To Yours’ trilogy, Nicole and family are preparing for a new baby to be added to the family but not everyone is quite prepared to welcome the change!

However, everyone warms to the idea in the end and the ad ends with the family welcoming the new baby and everyone is so excited and full of love. The new memories that the family starts to make together tug at our heartstrings and remind us what this time of year is all about. 

Being Disney, the ad is full of product placement — an Elsa dress to ice skate, an Olaf ornament, and a Jasmine doll. However, it’s all done masterfully and, of course, the animation is top-notch.

The ‘From Our Family To Yours’ series of ads started in 2022 and as a result, Disney has committed support worth more than $4m to Make-A-Wish® International and its network of affiliates around the world.

Why it works

First of all, Disney is doing exactly what they are doing best: impactful animation. The recognizable style tells you it's a Disney advert even if you catch it on a random TV screen in town.

Besides, the ad is a perfect representation of what modern Disney is all about - telling important and diverse stories through amazing art styles.

But what really holds this ad together and makes it so appealing is the heartwarming story at the core of it. As a YouTube commentator said, "Disney always in my heart. Full of emotions. Thank you Disney!!". The feelings shared through thัˆั‹ story and the beautiful animation style entice them to want to see more.

5. Very - Lots of Days of Christmas

Online retailer Very is celebrating all the special moments that make up the festive season for its Christmas 2022 campaign. Soundtracked by Wizzard's much-loved 'I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day', the Christmas advert chronicles one family's multiple festive occasions, celebrating how Christmas is so much more than just one day.

The ad spotlights everything from putting up decorations in autumn to attending multiple parties, having a birthday during the festive season, as well as opening presents to highlight how Very is a one-stop shop for all the family.

Robbie Feather, managing director (retail) at The Very Group, commented: “Our customers love Christmas, and we want to show how planning early means more time to enjoy the festive period. Through celebrating the range of unique, and at times wildly different, celebrations that make up the season, we have aimed to highlight how Very can truly be the one-stop shop with the choice and range of products, gifts and brands to help people plan ahead.”

Why it works

The angle Very decided to take - not the holiday itself but the many events that come before it - will be familiar to all of us. The relatability of this ad is what makes it so interesting for the customers.

While most ads focus on the holiday moment, Very chose to depict daily life. This way they connect to their target audience and show a more authentic understanding of the holidays.

The secrets to a successful marketing campaign

So based on these ads we discussed, what makes a good holiday marketing campaign great? Here are some tips:

  • Find your unique style. Whether it's animation, live-action video, or a series of social media posts, try to separate yourself from the traditional visuals in favour of more interesting and original images.
  • Tell an emotional story. It's not enough to present a discount or a sale to your customers, you need to connect your brand to their values. People remember emotions much better than pure facts, so tell them a story that will make them feel something.
  • Be relatable. There are a lot of common experiences around the holidays, both those that are often depicted in the media and less represented ones. Find a way to connect your holiday campaign to your audience's everyday life and make it relevant for them.

These principles could be helpful for any marketing campaign really, they are a must for any brand! Follow them and maybe next year it will be your campaign that will end up on the round-up of the most creative Christmas ads.


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