The Top 5 Holiday Marketing Campaigns of 2011

Every year, companies compete for the onslaught of holiday shopping dollars by putting their best creative foot forward, creating targeted marketing campaigns that evoke the best and worst of the holiday season.

This year, the most successful campaigns weren’t heartfelt or warming, but sarcastic and witty – a sign of the times? – and are memorable in their off-kilter themes. RainCastle took a look at this years top campaigns and made list our favorites of the season.

1. Target – The Christmas Champ

Target’s veteran crazy female shopper is no surprise at number one, given her massive success last year and the inescapable buzz that surrounded her return this year. Striking fear in the hearts of all soccer moms, the Christmas Champ trains Rocky-style for the year’s biggest sale at Target with terrifying cheer. A fan favorite is her holiday card orchestra, conducted while wearing overtly comical pearls, which is the cherry on top of a seriously scary Christmas season.

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2. Best Buy – Game on, Santa

Best Buy took advantage of this year’s rise in gamification by capitalizing on the theme of “games,” challenging Santa to a game of gifts: with Best Buy, you can finally beat the old guy. Stressed out shoppers of all ages love watching the jovial character flounder as a Mom casually comments from the sidelines, “Aw, guess I didn’t leave any room for you.”

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3. Old Spice – MANta Claus

Like the Christmas Champ, the Old Spice man has been a revolution in character advertising. He’s the James Bond of deodorant, and his holiday messages are just as enticing as his past campaigns. Feeling that getting gifts for all 7 billion people in the world is “the least I can do,” he starts with Twitter fan @beautyjunkie, and commissions a pair of heels made out of jewelry for the fan. This integration of social media, followed by a look at the 80s-style computer metrics set up to accomplish his giving goals, is the perfect pairing of old and new technology for mass appeal.

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4. Ebay – Buy it Now, Buy it New, 12 Days

Ebay’s Buy it Now, Buy it New campaign is centered on embarrassing family members who just don’t understand. Like the popular “I don’t want my grandmother’s jeans” ad, the 12 Days ad features a teenage girl who takes caroling as an opportunity to pinpoint exactly what she wants and doesn’t want from her list, while chastising the family for last year’s blunders –”Especially from you Uncle Dave, were those acid wash jeans?” Bratty, yes, but the purpose of these campaigns is to prove that eBay is where the cool kids shop, for all of their new and used wants. Ebay’s target audience will relate to the teenage sass and understand that all she wants for Christmas is an iPad, not a needlepoint pillow.

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5. Honda – Happy Honda Days, Car Gift

Another shining example of character advertising, Honda spokesman Patrick Warburton serves as a voice of reason in an otherwise over-the-top holiday season. By removing Honda from the traditional family holiday push – “Are you a millionaire? No? Then you probably don’t give cars to people as presents” – Warburton appeals to the average Honda customer (while, of course, highlighting that he is actually a millionaire, because the car on display is for his niece.) Simple, funny monologue-ing, at its finest.

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