What a Difference a Cup Makes

Instant fulfillment.

That’s what I always get drinking my latte from the cheery red Starbucks holiday cup. This cup o’ comfort makes me feel as though I’m drinking in Christmas with every tasty sip, despite the fact it’s been as dry as a summer’s day here in Reno. Starbucks manages to make their product more than a product; it is an experience and this year was no exception. For this holiday season, they created a mobile app around their signature red holiday cups. You could animate the cup’s characters and collect them all to view in the app, which would then reward you with an exclusive holiday scene.

Now I didn’t collect the cups, but I bought more lattes from Starbucks in the month of December than any other month. (Anecdotal “Grandma Research”: The Starbucks barista I spoke with last Saturday said she’d sold more during the Christmas Eve day than any other Saturday since she’d worked there.) To me, Starbucks is a brand that owns Christmas and that is the power of holiday marketing. As a marketing and advertising agency, we ask ourselves, is there value in doing a holiday promotion for our clients that don’t have a direct retail push? Do we allocate budget to a short window already crammed with marketing?

This year, it was yes. We built a mini-campaign that broke during this Christmas, but the gift itself is perfectly tailored for other holidays as well. We created holiday print advertising, corresponding email blast and social media outreach for one of our medical clients to sell the practice’s branded holiday gift cards. The marketing push had the added benefit of building brand awareness, as well. The messaging was general enough to require only moderate tweaking for Valentine’s Day or a recipient’s birthday. In other words, the holiday push has “legs.” See the blog post here

Click the link to see the Top 15 Holiday Marketing Campaigns of 2011, according to US Data Marketing. I am partial to the Best Buy “Game on” Santa ads.
HubSpot named a different group of stellar holiday marketing campaigns, one of them being Starbucks and their holiday cup magic app. Check out the rest here.

What was your favorite holiday marketing campaign of 2012?

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