Smart approaches to occasion marketing

This article is part of a series of articles on smart approaches to occasion marketing. Read more.

At a glance

Christmas advertising in the UK sets the bar for what more brands should be doing year-round: eight out of ten Christmas ads use a story, as opposed to just four in ten that use stories in the rest of the year.

Why it matters

For many retailers and brands alike, the Christmas season is imperative to success. To cut through in a crowded seasonal market, brands need to be creative with a focus on storytelling, branding and emotional connection.


  • Christmas ads that use stories do far better at generating enjoyment and emotional affinity that those that don’t. Enjoyment acts as a trigger to the brain to pay attention and emotional affinity positions the brand positively.
  • Understand the consumer and their sentiments and use this to shape the creative that has the most potential to resonate.
  • In the Christmas ads researched up to and including 2017, only one in ten were well branded, compared with nearer to three in ten at other times of the year.
  • 2018’s ads were slightly better branded as a result of more product-focused ads, but still Christmas ads tend not to do as well.