Published On: November 29, 2022By

Hand holding a brown paper bag in front of a bright yellow background.

For many industries, the holidays are the busiest—and most profitable—time of year. A tidal wave of holiday advertising begins to swell in November, and for nearly two straight months, the media is saturated with visions of sugar plums.

When planning a holiday campaign, there’s a lot to consider—including how your messaging will impact diverse audiences. We put together some tips and best practices for holiday marketing, so you can get your message out without leaving any people out.

Be Inclusive and Know Your Audience

Some companies have zero qualms about sticking to Christmas messaging, and if that aligns with your brand values, that’s totally fine. However, you should consider the communities you work with, your customers and your employees. There are plenty of other cultural celebrations and holidays over the winter, such as:

  • Hanukkah
  • Chinese New Year
  • Yule/The winter solstice
  • Kwanzaa
  • Malanka
  • Yaldā Night
  • Festivus (okay, maybe not a real holiday, but it is traditionally observed by Seinfeld fans)

While “Happy Holidays” is the go-to inclusive message that speaks to everyone, it might be worth giving a shoutout to some of the cultural holidays that get less attention. However, this is where knowing your audience comes in.

When Kiirsten and Brenlee visited Banff to attend Cult’s The Gathering Summit (a global business summit, not an actual cult!), Kofi Amoo-Gottfried, CMO from DoorDash, had valuable insights on when to comment on what’s happening in the world. He encourages businesses to ask themselves: does it affect our customers, employees or finances? Does it align with our social purpose in the world? If it hits your specific criteria, then you should talk about it. If you don’t know what audience you’re addressing, then you’re just talking into the ether, which can seem disingenuous.

While it’s not realistic to try and highlight every culture, community, and celebration individually, we can equitably choose our impact. Retailers don’t want to limit their audience, and making people feel more included is always a win. Understand your stakeholders and look for opportunities for them to feel seen and have their contributions recognized! Last year, our pals at BDC acknowledged Chinese New Year in their social media calendar and received plenty of positive feedback from their team.

Don’t Go in All Guns Blazing on November 1st

Even the catchiest carols become dreadfully annoying by the 100th rotation. Two straight months of non-stop holiday content is a classic example of “too much of a good thing,” and you don’t want to spoil the fun by going overboard. If it’s overwhelming for the folks who love Christmas, imagine how those who don’t celebrate will feel.

Try to avoid going full-speed-ahead with the capitalist holiday messaging as soon as #SpookySeason ends. Let people breathe a bit! Think of how you can inspire people to get excited about the holidays instead of overwhelming them with the pressure to spend.

Take your employees into account, too. Holiday music can be fun, but if your staff are stuck listening to eight hours of Christmas music five days per week for two straight months, they won’t feel very holly jolly. It’s so easy to create custom playlists, so why not make a mix of holiday songs with other contemporary music that fits the cozy, wintery vibe?

Colourful bulb lights lit up

Family Matters

Family time and togetherness are persistent themes throughout holiday marketing. Though the intention is to bring the warm fuzzy feels, for folks who have experienced significant loss or lack a traditional family unit, this kind of advertising can really sting.

This past May, Cameo offered newsletter subscribers the option to mute their Mother’s Day emails. This thoughtful approach accommodates and acknowledges the folks who struggle during family-centric holidays. If you’re planning a long-term holiday campaign this winter, consider adding a temporary opt-out feature for newsletter subscribers. This will help prevent people from unsubscribing altogether and customers will appreciate your consideration for their feelings.

Another thing to consider about when creating a family-themed holiday marketing campaign: no two families look the same! Diversity in media is so necessary, and a major holiday campaign featuring underrepresented people or family units has significant potential for meaningful impact. When people feel included and recognized, it influences public perception in a positive way.

Remember to take some time this December to slow down, relax and make memories with all those near and dear! Winter blues and burnout are very real, but the holidays are an opportunity to bring some much-needed light and warmth.

Merry Everything from all of us at UpHouse!

P.S. if you’re looking for a wickedly fun party idea, download our Christmas Movie Bingo now in time for the holidays! Hot toddies not included.