Christmas is a time of joy, celebration and copious amounts of mulled wine and terrible jumpers. But it is also the season for several fantastic and truly inspiring PR and marketing campaigns. Here, Steff discusses the innovative and creative projects which appeared this festive season and counts down to her favourite Christmas campaign of 2018…

10. Time Out & William Grant & Sons Hotboozapolooza

Heard of Hotboozapalooza? (it’s a mouthful just like what’s on offer!) Well Hotboozapalooza is Time Out’s anti-mulled-wine party, returning for a second year. The event, in partnership with William Grant & Sons, offered warmed-up variations of several classic cocktails and imaginative steaming hot drinks. With Time Out being a company promoting fun things to do for Londoners, such an experience was the perfect marketing choice, with an added Christmas twist.

9. Harvey Nichols’ ‘Harveys Angels’

‘Harveys Angels’ was a glamorous and fun shopping experience, ensuring busy working women didn’t miss out on this season’s top party looks. The company commissioned a ‘heaven-sent’ charity choir to sing at several London offices and each singer was dressed in the latest party-wear, with every item available to buy through shoppable posts on the brand’s Instagram. Raising money for Smart Works (a charity equipping women to succeed at interviews) 10% of purchases at Harvey Nichols’ Knightbridge store and online, using code ‘HNangels,’ went to the charity. The campaign brought a Christmas smile to workers and demonstrated the company’s ethos of supporting women in the workplace.

8. Lego Imaginarium

A creative idea designed to bring children together and spark excitement, Lego produced a brick-built and digitally driven Christmas space to conclude the celebrations of its 60th anniversary. The ‘Lego Imaginarium’ activation in London used physical play and augmented reality while children encountered digital brick-built pirates, fairies, dragons and more. The brilliant campaign encouraged guests to let their imagination fun free while playing with the Lego bricks.

7. Nissan’s Snow Globe Experience

Nissan launched an ‘impossibly smart’ snow globe experience this Christmas… 40-foot up! This was an impressive, digitally-driven campaign which took advantage of the sharing power of social media. The snow globe experience offered different virtual weather conditions, demonstrating their cars’ ability to adapt to different surroundings. People could experience all 4 seasons in the globe and take a 180 degree GIF to share on social media.

6. Save The Children Christmas Jumper Day

This is an innovative idea which focused on changing consumer behaviour and the prevalence of contactless transactions. International charity Save The Children launched the world’s first jumpers with contactless donation technology, in partnership with Visa, as part of their Christmas campaign. The novel jumpers were worn by members of the charity’s fundraising team at 16 London tube stations on Christmas Jumper Day.

5. Topshop’s Snow Globe Window Activation

Topshop made brilliant use of experiential marketing with an interactive Christmas themed in-store game at its flagship Oxford Circus store. Shoppers who spent £50 or more in store could take part and were offered the chance to win prizes by stepping into a large snow globe. Once inside, a whirlwind of confetti was activated offering various tokens and discounts for people to enjoy – but only if they could catch them!

4. Cadbury’s Secret Santa Postal Service

Cadbury developed a tasty experiential campaign by bringing to life its Secret Santa TV promotion and enabling people to post their own secret chocolate gifts to loved-ones. Several purple ‘post boxes’ were launched across the UK allowing passersby to anonymously send chocolate gifts for free meanwhile, in selected Tesco stores, shoppers could receive a free treat when buying certain Cadbury products.

3. Iceland’s Ice Rink

A fun and active experience for shoppers which cleverly coincided with the company’s name and branding, supermarket giant Iceland created an impressive 250 square metre in-store ice rink at its Stratford store in East London for customers to enjoy. In between browsing for turkeys and pigs-in-blankets, visitors could skate the aisles for a unique shopping experience!

2. John Lewis Christmas Advert: The Boy and The Piano

It wouldn’t be Christmas without a John Lewis advert. And the retail store once again has reduced us to tears with its outstanding TV campaign The Boy And The Piano, that re-lives Elton John’s career from present day right back to when he was given his grandmother’s’ piano – a gift which truly changed his life. The iconic advert again uses brilliant storytelling as well as nostalgia to capture our hearts and demonstrates the power of a Christmas gift.

1.Swarovski Sparkle-Themed Activations

Finally, the number one spot for best Christmas campaign of 2018 goes to Swarovski, who launched a giant sparkling box which toured the UK this Christmas. The interactive campaign used immersive technology to showcase their seasonal products and encourage social media sharing. Each facade of the box offered onlookers a different digital experience, whether that be a GIF photo booth, a virtual snowscape wall to shower you in digital snowflakes, a Christmas gift-guide or a viewing of their spectacular Christmas advert. And the jewellery brand didn’t stop there. Swarovski also launched ‘Sparkle Street’ at Westfield London, offering a digital festive landscape with black cab drivers giving out Swarovski gifts to passengers.