Whether you’re a devotee looking forward to celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ or simply yearning for some time off, Christmas is significant in that it marks the ending of a year, a precursor to the grand turning of calendar pages to a brand new year.
It’s hard not to be at least slightly infected by the celebratory mood generally surrounding this period of time.
‘Tis the season to be jolly, for present swapping, sleigh-bells ringing, snowflakes falling (or monsoon raining) and carol singing. It’s a time for family and friends, baubles and tinsel, food, fun and just general feel good vibes.
For brands it’s an opportune time- to take advantage of the holiday mood to pull in a crowd; to turn the season’s spirit of goodwill into dollars in the bank; to reinstate their values in the people’s imaginations during a time of general good cheer and merry-making.
Traditionally, even in Muslim majority Malaysia, shopping malls are bedecked in Christmas finery from the end of October onwards. Sales and discounts abound, glorious trees reach for the sky, and many places have a list of events and centerpieces as attractions for holidaymakers.
Like Swarovski, who has set up a giant Merry-Go-Round in the Pavilion Shopping Mall bedecked in 3 million crystals. It’s a sparkly attention-grabber that costs RM10 a ride.
Other brands are tapping into people’s generous mood and asking them to consider those less fortunate. Like Body Shop’s Bio-Bridges programme, whereby every specially selected gift a customer buys will go towards protecting 1 square meter of habitat for the benefit of an endangered species in Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia. In Malaysia, the aim is to increase the population of the endangered Malayan tigers by protecting their native habitat in Endau Rompin.
Unfortunately, some brands trying to tap into the Christmas cheer find that their efforts backfire due to a tone and manner that is rather less than generous. Like UMobile, which released a series of videos describing their competitors in unflattering light. The videos were pulled after some hue and cry, showing that during the season of giving it may be better to try being a bit friendlier.
Like Amazon Prime, who decided that Christmas is a great time to give emphasis to common experiences that we share, rather than pick on the differences that divide us.
Internationally, Christmas is a more significant celebration so many brands do jump on board with campaigns that try to warm our leathery hearts, so stressed and overworked throughout the year.
John Lewis always delivers, to the point that their ads have become the most hotly anticipated of the season. This year’s offering stars Buster the Boxer and is as endearing as ever.
And then there is this one from Polish auction website Allegro which has gone viral around the world since its launch. It’s guaranteed to melt the hardest of hearts:
No matter what Christmas means to you and your brand, we hope you have a very merry one!
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