No promises that they'll actually work...
This bonkers election season has come to an end just in time for the insufferable Holiday campaigns to appear. Every year major brands summon their inner Frank Capra and create campaigns featuring smiling families gathered around glossy turkeys. It’s always the same.
But for a generation of people who watch American Horror Story and True Detective for fun, this “charm-fest” seems to miss the mark. Want to get young people excited about your holiday campaign? Try some of these ideas… we make zero guarantees that they will work.1. A video series about how your delicious food-- a brand of rolls, say-- could work to stuff the mouth of the aunt who always wants to start something. Topics could include: Warming and toasting the rolls. Sneaking like a ninja into the dining room to shove said roll into Aunt’s mouth right before she mentions that other Aunt uses cheap butter. Fun spreads to use on the rolls...
Why it would work: The dream-ification of holidays deliberately ignores awkward and sometimes downright awful family dynamics. It is hard to go home. Yes, it is a wonderful privilege and if you have a family to celebrate with, you should reflect and be grateful. But there is always somebody who just can’t get down with the fa-la-la. You know the one who wants to dredge up old arguments or play family martyr for the evening. And that person deserves a roll shoved in their mouth.
2. An Instagram campaign tag to solicit photos of the one-more-thing your mom bought to make her feel like she had enough gifts. You know… the weird bar of soap that is just for display, or the light up thing that plays a Christmas song that you’ll donate to the goodwill on Monday.
Why it would work: American holiday shopping is out of control. We spend millions on plastic things that end up in the garbage can. We’re hardwired to purchase things that are semi-disposable instead of buying a few things that will last. The millennial generation has proven time and again that they aren’t interested in participating. They’re looking for experiences, not gifts. But that won’t stop moms everywhere from buying elf shaped Pez dispensers and mini-hand sanitizers to make sure that your stocking is as full as possible. Any of the Dollar Stores could sponsor this campaign, I would also nominate the entire mini-section of Bath and Body Works.
3. A Periscope campaign asking people submit live reveals of an uncle’s reaction to learning that you’re vegan. Bonus: applies equally to Hanukkah!
Why it would work: Uncles have a real knack for letting you know that your alternative lifestyle choices are just not welcome at the family dinner table. What someone does or does not eat has a real way of firing up other people (who, mind you, can still eat whatever they want…) Tofurkey should sponsor this campaign, or possibly field roast. But I really think Tofurkey pisses uncles off the most.
4. SnapChat the worst version of a particular Christmas song.
Why it would work: There are only about 7 unique Christmas songs. Everyone covers them year after year. New ones never catch on. So what’s the worst version of “Baby It’s Cold Outside?” Correct answer-- all versions. That girl needed to file a police report. Any booze brand could sponsor this and then there could be karaoke submissions too.
5. A campaign calling for wine-drinking selfies of you with that one damn cousin you love the most.
Why it would work: Just like there is the person who always starts fights, or the person who cannot fathom the way you live your life, there is also your family gathering soul mate. It’s like a work spouse for holiday parties. This cousin (aunt, brother in law, grandparent, whatever) just gets you. They’re ready to get the eye rolls started and the laugh train rolling. Doesn’t your brand of boxed wine just want to bring those two #holidaymates together? I’m looking straight at you Bota Box. And also at my cousin Maura.
The first holiday campaign to capture the crippling awkwardness and self-suppression involved with going home for the holidays has my vote for a Cleo.