Advertising for the Holidays

It’s that time of the year where brands put their best deals for­ward with adver­tis­ing for the hol­i­days! Com­ing up with the cre­ative can be an over­whelm­ing task. So we’ve com­piled a list of inspi­ra­tional adver­tis­ing from dif­fer­ent indus­tries, to help your cre­ative juices flow. But before we dig in, let’s talk about the his­tor­i­cal con­nec­tion to the col­ors you find on hol­i­day advertisements.

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Advertising for the Holidays

The History of Christmas Colors

Dur­ing the hol­i­days, brands will use col­ors red, green, white, gold and blue to their advan­tage. These col­ors were once part of a cul­tur­al aware­ness that linked to the sig­nif­i­cance of Christ­mas. Col­or in today’s soci­ety has become less sig­nif­i­cant than it once was and now clos­er to adver­tis­ing and sales. Before this shift occurred, these col­ors held a par­tic­u­lar sig­nif­i­cance to the mean­ing behind Christmas.

  • Green links to Christ­mas trees and the mistle­toe. The use of Christ­mas trees can goes back to medieval times, where it was believed to sym­bol­ize the Gar­den of Eden.
  • Red is close­ly asso­ci­at­ed to the holy berry and the blood of Jesus.
  • Gold links to the presents giv­en to Jesus by the three wise men.
  • Blue con­nects to roy­al­ty as the pig­ments to pro­duce the die were expensive.
  • White con­nect­ed to the puri­ty of the spir­it and snow. But it’s also like­ly linked to the com­mu­nion wafers hung on trees, which hap­pened to be white.

Even though brands may not all con­nect to the his­toric mean­ing of Christ­mas, as a soci­ety we have adapt­ed these col­ors to sym­bol­ize the hol­i­day spir­it. While peo­ple may cel­e­brate dif­fer­ent­ly these hol­i­days, the spir­it of joy, love and giv­ing is still seen across adver­tis­ing. The brands list­ed below have suc­cess­ful­ly linked col­or to their adver­tis­ing this hol­i­day season.

Brands and Their Holiday Advertising 

The most well known brand for embrac­ing the hol­i­day spir­it is Coca Cola. While their adver­tis­ing has changed through­out the years, their focus is still on the expe­ri­ence of their product.

Star­bucks is known for their hol­i­day cups and the way they use their prod­ucts is incred­i­bly suc­cess­ful. Their hol­i­day adver­tis­ing doesn’t scream “buy me”. Fur­ther­more, it shows the expe­ri­ences peo­ple have with their cof­fee. As a result, you feel a warm, cozy vibe that’s clear­ly con­nect­ing to the com­fort of the holidays.

This beau­ti­ful styled image brings a sense of awe with col­or and cer­tain­ly gives you a lot of options with what they are sell­ing. And you see the full pic­ture, with­out need­ing to over­whelm the audi­ence with the objects.

Reebok is pret­ty clever about their adver­tis­ing as it wasn’t direct­ly say­ing get these for the hol­i­days, but you can clear­ly see the visu­al cues gear­ing up for the hol­i­day sea­son. The action shot clear­ly links to their fit­ness-cen­tered brand.

Blue, white and red clear­ly stand out in this can­did shot by Fos­sil. Since the back­ground has blue and white tones, you clear­ly feel the Christ­mas spir­it. This was actu­al­ly bril­liant because those two tones allowed the red bag to stand out and become a focal point.

Beyond The Photography

Before you add anoth­er piece of con­tent, get clear on your pur­pose. You can start with a sim­ple list, like con­tent buck­ets that reflect the type of con­tent that you can share relat­ed to your prod­ucts or services. 

Next, you want to define who you are try­ing to reach and how your prod­ucts or ser­vices will help them. We high­ly rec­om­mend tak­ing the time to do some Empa­thy Map­ping to define these ele­ments. This step is essen­tial as you can assess the impact val­ue for your audi­ence and know how to use lan­guage that speaks direct­ly to their needs. 

Visu­als are a key way to cap­ture your audi­ences atten­tion, but not all of it is pho­tog­ra­phy-dri­ven. What if you need to dri­ve that extra mile and have com­pelling copy in your ads? Our recent col­lab­o­ra­tion with Adobe Express (for­mer­ly Adobe Spark) and Twit­ter busi­ness is packed with tips and ad tem­plates you can use for your adver­tis­ing this hol­i­day sea­son. And if you are look­ing for Black Fri­day, Small Busi­ness Sat­ur­day or even Cyber Mon­day tem­plates, be sure to check out our lat­est col­lab­o­ra­tion with Adobe Express here.

Are there any oth­er brands that you feel are suc­cess­ful with their hol­i­day adver­tis­ing? We’d love to know.

About the Author

Nicte Cuevas, Principal of Nicte Creative Design, empowers mission-driven businesses through strategic design & branding. Nicte has applied this when working with Adobe Spark and Twitter Business, LinkedIn Learning, Dogs on Deployment and Purina, Girl Scouts, The Houston Zoo and The Contemporary Arts Museum. Her excellence in communication design & marketing has been recognized by multiple national / international awards, including a coveted feature in Graphic Design USA's People to Watch.

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