• Marc Luther Thomas

Eyes on the PRize: Christmas Campaigns

Christmas is arguably the most important time of the year for consumer brands. Every brand wants to be in the face of potential customers over the festive period when they are looking to buy their Christmas gifts. There have been some iconic campaigns over the years. Everybody is familiar with the Coca-Cola and John Lewis campaigns which run every year and for many people, seeing their adverts marks the beginning of the festive season, which is in itself an impressive feat. Outside of these, there have been some others which have caught the eye…


Sainsbury’s – 2014


In 2014, supermarket giant Sainsbury’s stole the show with a campaign for which they teamed up with the Royal British Legion to mark the 20th year of their relationship. The campaign centred on a TV advert replicating one of the most famous moments from the First World War – the football match from the Christmas truce of 1914.



In the Sainsbury’s reincarnation, the story is told of a young British soldier befriending a German counterpart. After the truce ends and the soldiers return to their trenches, the German soldier realises that the British left the gift of a chocolate bar in his pocket. The bar in question was on sale in Sainsbury’s stores for £1, with all profits donated to the Royal British Legion.


Budweiser – 2017


Christmas is a time when we all let our hair down and have the odd drink or three. As such, like most industries, many of the bigger brands will spend the big bucks on marketing over this period. Budweiser took quite a unique approach to this in 2017, when they ran their Prohibition campaign to launch their non-alcoholic 'Prohibition Beer'.


To coincide with this, Budweiser teamed up with the Department for Transport and its ‘Think!’ initiative, producing a range of marketing posters featuring slogans such as “’Tis the season to drive home safely”, “Wise men don’t drink and drive” and “We wish you a Merry Christmas and a safe drive home”.


There is good reason for such a campaign – more drink driving offences occur over the Christmas period than any other time of year. The cynic in me noted, however, that the ‘Alcohol-free’ phrase had limited visibility in the marketing, with the Budweiser name much more prominent.


Iceland – 2018


Iceland created a stir last year with their ‘Rang-tan’ campaign. The discount supermarket teamed up with Greenpeace to create a short animated film, showing an orangutan causing havoc in a young girl’s bedroom. The viewer then comes to realise that the orangutan is taking refuge there due to destruction of her habitat as a result of the search for palm oil. The campaign followed Iceland’s plans with Greenpeace to cut out palm oil from its own-label products by the turn of the year.



It became a widespread talking point in the media after it was banned from airing on television by Clearcast, the body working on behalf of broadcasters to vet adverts before they are aired, saying the ad was in contravention of rules banning political advertising.


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