How to Make the Perfect Holiday Commercial

Everyone loves a great holiday commercial. We’ve all seen the incredibly touching (and often admittedly tear-jerking) ads that begin to circulate the Internet this time of year. While many holiday commercials leave lasting impressions on their audience, quite a few miss the mark.

For most businesses, holidays provide an opportunity to produce creative, heartfelt commercials that make personal connections with their audiences. After all, every year, there are holiday commercials that go viral, earning an eternal spot in the holiday commercial hall-of-fame. But, creating the right video to take advantage of this opportunity is easier said than done. 

As the holidays approach, many businesses begin asking themselves difficult questions about their holiday content. Will our video stand out? Is our messaging strong enough? When is the right time to market our video? Will this method of branding be effective?

We’ve come up with a list of 4 tips to make sure your holiday commercials are successful.

1. Form a Branding Strategy

The first step to creating excellent holiday video content is to decide what purpose your video needs to serve. For retail and e-commerce brands, the holiday season is a great time to stay top-of-mind while consumers are prepared to spend money on gifts for loved ones. Service companies might want to highlight their holiday hours to encourage people to make a dent in their to-do list with their holiday time off. For other organizations, the holiday season might be a great time to reflect on the year and wish viewers a happy holiday season. 

There’s no correct answer here—it’s up to you to decide what message you want your viewers to receive this holiday season. If offering a holiday special or highlighting an upcoming sale wouldn’t make sense for your business, that doesn’t mean you don’t need holiday video content. It just means your message will be different and may focus on relationship-building or connecting with viewers rather than convincing them to buy. 

Regardless, step one in creating holiday content is coming up with a strategy that allows your business’s brand to shine in the midst of all the holiday frenzy. 

2. Publish Early

Don’t wait until the last minute to post your holiday commercials. Begin rolling out your holiday campaigns one to two weeks before the actual holiday, or longer if you have a sale starting or need to reach consumers in advance. On the other hand, you never want to publish your holiday content too early. Over-exploiting holiday content can be a turnoff to both existing and potential customers. 

This distinction can be difficult to understand, but it can help to think about your viewers and try to assess when they’ll be most likely to enjoy your content. As long as your content feels natural when they watch it, it doesn’t matter how early or late you’re posting. 

3. Use Common Holiday Themes

Audiences love being able to relate and connect to holiday commercials. While each individual will have his or her own traditions and expectations about the holiday season, there are several common holiday themes to draw from. Your video content should include on these commonalities, like family, food, quality time, well-known holiday songs, and recognizable holiday imagery. After all, there’s no better emotion to appeal to during the holidays than nostalgia! 

One tip to keep in mind as you’re planning your content is that holidays are annual. If you have too many ideas to execute in just one year, or you can’t make the perfect video in time for this year’s holidays, make a note to revisit that content next year! Holiday videos are unique in that they are predictably recurring, so take advantage of the ability to plan far in advance and make your life easier in the coming years. 

4. Maximize Your Reach

When it comes to distribution, consider where your video will reach your intended audience in a way that’s likely to resonate with them. These two components are both important; you want to reach the highest number of viewers, but you also want those viewers to actually watch and appreciate your content. It’s not enough to just get the highest amount of clicks—quality may be better than quantity. 

You have countless options for sharing your content. You could post your video on your website, on social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram, on video platforms like YouTube, using out-of-home (OOH) media like digital billboards—the options are virtually endless. 

For the holiday season, though, social media is often a uniquely successful channel. Because social media is a way for loved ones to connect, many people are already spending time on social platforms in the days and weeks leading up to the holiday season. Take advantage of this captive audience if it makes sense for your content!

[Note: This post was originally posted on 5/2/16 and has been updated to reflect the most accurate and relevant information.]

Alexa Nizam

Alexa Nizam