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How To Use Videos Effectively During The Holiday Seasons?


O come all ye faithful marketers. Holidays are just around the corner, and with it comes the great shopping spree. Consumers are on the hunt for products to gift to their loved ones or to buy for themselves lest Santa doesn’t show up. Anyway, money will flow.

NRF, the National Retail Federation, expects this November-December holiday sales to rise to a whopping $630.5 billion. To get a big bite off this holiday sales figure, it’s time for small and big businesses to do some out-of-the-box thinking and bake a heartwarming holiday video that excites the targeted consumers and gets them to shop with you.

Here’s how this article goes:

  1. First, we present you the case studies of brands that boost their sales and goodwill through holiday videos.
  2. Second, we suggest you some common holiday video ideas so that you can make yours.
  3. Third, and last, we give you the strategies to generate the most ROI from your holiday video.

Let’s start.

A. Do Holiday Videos Really Increase Sales?


Here are case studies of brands that profited from holiday video.

1. Case Study: John Lewis (£100million weekly sales)

When it comes to Christmas adverts, retail giant John Lewis does it best (and probably spends the most too, that is, up to £7 million). But that lavish £7 million Christmas advertising also pays off huge.

It’s been reported that between 2009 and 2011, the video ads had helped John Lewis earn £1.07 billion in extra sales. And that’s just the start.

“The Bear & The Hare” Christmas Video:

While most John Lewis video adverts are live action recordings, “The Bear & The Hare” Christmas tale (of a hare giving his bear buddy the best Christmas present) was the only one that’s done using a mix of 2D and 3D animation (because of the characters involved). The video alone cost £1 million and an extra £6 million was spent on tv slots.

ROI: The £7 million animated advert caused the week’s sale to touch £101.45 million, and that was just the first week. Compared to the 2012 John Lewis advert, the bear and the hare video raised the sales by 10.7% more.

And, did I mention that the video got shared 200,000 times in the first 24 hours of its launch, and became the “most shared on the day of its launch” video of that year? Talk about viral!

2. Case Study: WestJet (Free Advertising Worth Millions)

WestJet, Canada’s second largest airline service, must have some Santa blood in their brand’s veins. Thanks to the dedicated collaboration of 150 jolly WestJetter staff, WestJet was able to pull of an unthinkable Christmas stunt, making the 250 passengers once again believe in Christmas miracles. Watch the video, if you haven’t already.

Now the ROI from the Christmas Miracle video. Here’s what WestJet got back from giving: 

  1. Viral: Apparently, the company had expected only about 800,000 views from the undertaking but within a few days of its release, the video had received a whopping 13 million views.
  2. Free Advertising Worth Millions: Richard Bartem, the vice president of communications and community relations at WestJet confided that “for a traditional commercial, you could spend well into the mid-six figures for the production alone” but their Christmas Miracle video, cost “a mere fraction” of that figure (John Lewis spends 1 million for the commercial, a seven figure budget, and then spends another 6 million for booking tv slots). But WestJet’s Christmas Miracle managed to get their video seen by people from 200 different countries, and received attention from Huffington Post, Mashable and other big media without having to spend millions on tv slots.
  3. YouTube Subscribers Growth: There’s also been a hike in WestJet’s YouTube channel subscribers. In just a matter of 3 days, the channel’s total subscribers increased from 3,700 to 12,000 people. That’s a 320% growth.
  4. Goodwill: Another payoff is the goodwill that WestJet had received from the act of giving back to their customers. It’s a safe bet to assume that the people who had watched this Christmas Miracle would think about WestJet the next time they have to book a flight to Canada.

Now that you know that holiday video, the good ones, can strengthen your brand’s image, ignite a social buzz, and boost your sales, it’s time to plan your own holiday video. Here are some video ideas. The budget can range from a few hundred dollars to millions depending on the concept and scale of your advertising campaign.

B. Tried & Tested Video Ideas For The Holiday Marketing:

Besides John Lewis and WestJet mentioned above, here’s how the smartest of brands and companies are using videos to make a bang on the holiday seasons and remain at the top of the mind of the shoppers.

1. Holiday Greeting E-card.

Just saying “Happy Holidays” in text to your clients and subscribers is not enough. You won’t be able to stand out from the holiday noise that builds up during this festive session. You need to step up the game and go the extra mile to say happy holiday. The following animated holiday e-card from Royale, a creative agency based at Washington, should give you an idea. 

It tells a delightful story of a boy trying to open his Christmas present, and ends with a Happy Holiday greeting. The objective here is to make people smile and feel good while capturing the essence of the festival, and Royale seems to have nailed that with this video.

The big return is that it warmed up people to its brand and got the media attention, thereby strengthening its brand image and exposure.

2. The “Give Back To The Community” Video

Just a few days before Thanksgiving Day, or on 24th November to be precise, TD Bank launched a video campaign #MakeTodayMatter, starting with a video where they give $30,000 to 24 people from 24 different communities and challenged these individuals to spend that money doing something good for their community in 24 hours.

The TD video, developed together with Diamond Integrated Marketing and Leo Burnett, took “giving back” to the community to a new level. It captured the true spirit of the holiday, and inspired people to do a good deed for strangers which is what the holidays stand for.

In just about ten days, the video had gathered over 3.5 million views and it made TD the hottest topic for media across the world.

3. The “Show The People Behind The Business” Video

You can create a great, inexpensive live action video with just a camera and a big imagination.

The following video from Aristotle Interactive was a hit among clients and individuals. The video is done in the beloved Charlie Chaplin-like show, with the Aristotle staff seen setting up the stage for the holiday greeting.

People connect with people, and not with products.

We talk business all year long. It’s only on holidays that you get the chance to reveal the human side of your business and strike a chord with your consumers.

4. The “Thank You, Dear Consumers” Video

Holidays provide the best occasion for businesses to come upfront and tell your consumers that you couldn’t have made it without them. That their business was a success only because the clients and consumers had put trust in their product/service.

In these thank you videos, it’s well known for companies to talk about the notable events and achievements they had pulled off during the year, and then add that it was all thanks to their consumers as a show of generosity and humility. That certainly makes consumers happy.

5. The “How-To Holiday” Video

HowCast sent their subscribers an email which featured a magical DIY tutorial on “How to Make a Gingerbread House”. 

Since we all have a soft spot for how-to videos (because of their usability), it is not surprising to note that this particular how-to video was a hit during the holiday season, helping parents and their children make a tasty little gingerbread house.

Marketers can learn from this HowCast video idea to develop such other creative DIY holiday videos to spread the festive cheer.

C. Strategies That Brands Use To Maximize ROI From Holiday Video:

So you made a video. Now what?

1. Kick off your video advertising early

Big brands like John Lewis and Sainsbury are smart enough to release their Christmas video adverts early in the November, that is, usually between the 1st and 2nd week of November.

You might think these brands have been too hasty in releasing their video advert weeks before Thanksgiving Day and Christmas. But here are the pros of advertising early:

41% people start shopping for the holidays from the month of November, and therefore these early holiday sales adverts help brands sell more items off their shelves.

Consider the John Lewis Christmas advert mentioned above. This retail giant released its Christmas advert early on 5th November, and within the first week, sales touched the £100 million mark.

Any other day, consumers shun ads but during the holiday seasons the ads become a part of their social feeds. The public wants to be informed about the sales offers retailers are throwing. So advertising early on would give your sales ad enough time to be shared and talked about among consumers. 

2. Use an enticing thumbnail image to boost the video views

People judge the book by its cover. So if you want your target audience to click play the video, then ensure that the thumbnail image of the video is enticing enough.

By the way, this thumbnail image doesn’t necessarily have to be a freeze-frame from the video… you can design and upload a custom thumbnail image that you think would improve the video views. Just make sure the custom image is relevant to the video content.

3. Design a landing page dedicated to improving the video conversion

To boost the holiday sales, the retail giant John Lewis develops a landing page dedicated altogether for the festive spirit and merchandise. Check it out to learn a few tricks on how to sell your product.

Design a landing page for the holiday video and give your website a festive look to make it known to site visitors that holiday sales are here.

4. Email the video to your subscribers & clients

An important aspect of email conversion is not to confuse the prospect with too many offers or points. Just talk about one thing in the email, and give one call-to-action i.e. watch your video.

5. Keep the video short and engaging

With the attention spans dropping down to 8 seconds, it is already hard for businesses to grab the consumer’s attention. So keep your videos short, that is, around 60-90 seconds. Of course, you can exceed the standard length and make your videos as long as 2 to 3 minutes or more, provided that the video tells an engaging story in an interesting way.

6. Share your video over social media to stay on top of the shopper’s minds

Facebook has made “viral” easy for marketers to achieve, as does Twitter and YouTube. So share your video over these social media platforms, and watch as the social buzz drives brand engagement and keeps you afresh in the minds of shoppers.


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