5 hot trends for your experiential campaign this Christmas, from Gucci to Greggs
Christmas in June? With a big holiday season ahead, now’s the time to get prepared. Kate Umfreville, managing partner of The Producers (part of PrettyGreen Group) shares her picks for the top five experiential trends to tap into this festive season, giving top tips for driving ‘less ordinary impact’ through experiences this Christmas.
After a record year in Easter spending in 2022, experts predict consumers are set to go big this Christmas. And with 74% of consumers saying that engaging with branded events and experiences makes them more likely to buy the brand, there’s never been a better time to invest in experiential marketing.
1. Mash it up
From Francis Bourgeois x Gucci to KFC x Fortnite, mash-ups have been happening all over popular culture this year. Consumers love seeing their favorite brands show up in each other’s worlds.
PrettyGreen on the top five trends to look out for Christmas campaigns 2022.
Teaming up with a complementary brand to create a Christmas experience together is a great way to add new occasions and environments for a product to show up. It also allows brands to tap into new (yet already established) communities, just as Primark and Greggs did in their recent pop-up collaboration. As marketing budgets tighten, brand mash-ups can also make experience activity more cost-effective with two brands sharing the cost.
2. Immersive nostalgia
After a turbulent couple of years, consumers are continuing to find comfort in the familiar and 77% of people say they feel more nostalgic at Christmas time (YouGov). After two years of canceled celebrations, 2022 is the perfect time to remind people of their favorite times by bringing gone-by eras back to life through experience.
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As well as tapping into historic periods or aesthetics, we also expect to see more brands reimagining old or traditional campaigns. Coca-Cola's Holiday is Coming ads have been in the top three most effective Christmas ads for the past two years and their national Christmas Truck Tour continues to be hotly anticipated every year.
3. Carbon-neutral Christmas
Sustainability isn’t a new trend. But with several event organizations and event-related businesses signing the Net Zero Carbon Events pledge during COP26 (The Producers included), creating sustainable experiences is top-of-mind for marketers.
With Christmas typically regarded as a time of over-indulging and excessive waste, there’s a particular onus on brands to pay attention to emissions during this period. As well as making sure the production of your event is eco-friendly, consumers are looking for inspiration on how to make their Christmas celebrations environmentally friendly too. 53% of UK adults who celebrate Christmas thought it was important to do so in a more environmentally friendly way in 2021 and 64% wanted companies to be more transparent about the impact Christmas products and services have on the environment. Sustainability will continue to be front and center in the creation of events and content for 2022.
4. Brave new spaces
It wouldn’t be a 2022 trend article without mentioning the ‘m’ word. This year, the metaverse started to tip into the mainstream: Meta’s Occulus VR app was the most-downloaded app on Christmas day last year and 43% of consumers now say they would try out a new product or service in a virtual world before buying.
As brands rush to not be late to the party, we’ll see lots of virtual and hybrid activations, but it’s not just the novelty value that appeals. Creating experiences that have virtual or digital layers also allows brands to maximize reach and conversions from experiential activity – such as Lego’s Carousel of Creativity which had a physical walk-through experience as well as a digital layer that extended its reach for those who could not visit in person.
5. New traditions
Whilst Christmas is a time for tradition, as both marketing and modern culture become more mindful of diversity and inclusivity, we’ll continue to see brands spotlight non-traditional ways to celebrate Christmas too. Looking beyond turkey and tinsel allows brands to create new and interesting storytelling opportunities around the festive period and tap into audiences that have felt previously excluded from conventional Christmas celebrations.
This could be an experience that helps give back to communities that might be disproportionately affected this time of year, such as Choose Love’s Carnaby Street pop up for gifting to refugees. Or it could be an activation for a niche audience such as Branston Pickle’s Post Office which allowed expats spending Christmas abroad to get their hands on their favorite Christmas condiment.
There’s a lot for marketers to be excited about this Christmas: what we hope will be the first restriction-free festive period for three years. I can’t wait to see what incredible experiences our industry creates. If there was ever a year to go all out on creating less ordinary impact, this is it.
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