As we prepare to celebrate the holidays differently this year, we’ve seen how the COVID-19 pandemic and changing commerce landscape has affected consumer behavior—and what is deemed effective holiday advertising.

Trend Alert: Declining Email Engagement Ahead of Holidays 

Brands are attempting to extend the holiday season in hopes of achieving the same revenue numbers as previous years, while some businesses continue to struggle to survive. But the fact remains that good storytelling—with a bit of tact—and timing make a world of difference.

Let’s take a look at a few emails and campaigns that have stood out.

Ann Taylor gives back

“While not a purely holiday-themed message, I loved this email from Ann Taylor for its altruistic support of Dress For Success. Instead of showing you more things to buy, the brand gave you a reason to spend your money with them. There’s never a bad time to support and empower women.” — Heather McCullough, SFMC consultant

2020 Ann Taylor holiday email featuring Dress For Success partnership details to give back

See how Ann Taylor supports causes that support women.

Uncommon Goods supports local

6 Retail Changes Affecting the 2020 Holiday Shopping Season

“Shoppers are also looking to support local businesses, especially as many are suffering from shutdowns. Uncommon Goods caters to this desire with its local-focused popup for Made in NYC. With gift guides to help customers shop products from local businesses owned by BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and women, Uncommon Goods is using a straightforward message to encourage everyone to shop early to ‘get what you want, when you want it.’” — Laura Madden, senior relationship marketing strategist

2020 Uncommon Goods holiday email showcasing handcrafted, locally made gift guides

View Uncommon Goods’ holiday gift guides.

Amazon says the show must go on

“This two-minute spot from Amazon quickly captured and held my attention. I used to dance and while I never owned pointe shoes, the story of this ad had my emotions pouring out of me. We all know the holidays won’t be the same as in years past, but we can each make the most of it by supporting each other.” — Jordan Warren, marketing copywriter

Hershey’s embraces new ad formats

“Hershey’s is leveraging new ad placements, such as Instagram Stories, that feel reminiscent of the holiday ads we’ve loved for years—but modernized and brought to new screens. As a result, Hershey’s is finding consumers where they’re spending a lot of their time, in the app.” — Chelsea McDonald, senior social media strategist

In March 2020, more than four in 10 U.S. Instagram users and 34% Facebook users watched Instagram Stories in the previous month, according to Bizrate Insights.


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The holidays aren’t wrapping up anytime soon

While Amazon Prime Day ceremoniously kicked off the early-holiday-shopping season, this week marks what’s traditionally known as the start of holiday deals and shopping steals. Black Friday sales started earlier this month with the likes of Target and other major brands extending online shopping deals to provide more people with opportunities to snag gifts while remaining safely at home.

But there’s more to come.

Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday are sure to continue the sales weekend smorgasbord while Giving Tuesday focuses on nonprofit organizations continuing to serve communities everywhere. Then, we’ll see additional sales throughout December with Cyber Week, Green Monday, Free Shipping Day, Super Saturday, and Boxing Day.

As a result, brands have numerous opportunities to capture attention and drive action with more heartwarming campaigns such as the ones highlighted by our team.

Find the right campaign agency for your brand

3 Ways to Embrace Proactive, Impactful Ecommerce Support

While your holiday campaigns are likely locked and loaded, you may be already thinking about how you can improve for next year. Whether you’re looking for strategic, retail, commerce, social media, or email marketing advice, we can help. Let’s connect and see what 2021 can bring for your business growth.

Keep in touch.

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