“Oh promos, you’re so fine, you’re so fine, you blow our minds! Hey promos!” – Like a catchy tune, a good promotion has the opportunity to successfully stick in the eyes, ears and mind of an eager or potential customer. In an effort to stand out amongst promotions-gone-wild this season, the holidays pose an excellent opportunity to hone in on our ‘let’s get viral’ skills. Below is a compilation of holiday promotions (and take aways), so catchy and fine, they blew my mind:

1. GapKids: I Want Candy

Do you like shopping? I know you do. Do you have a sweet tooth? Me too! What better way to feed both of these needs than with clothes and candy. This year, GapKids has a sensationally sweet holiday promotion and clothing line appropriately titled “I Want Candy.” Better yet, they’ve brought on Maria Aragon (You know, the little girl who became a YouTube star for covering Lady Gaga’s ‘Born this Way’) to sing and promote the line. Not only am I a sucker for sweets, but Aragon’s cover and all-girl rocker video for the song, “I Want Candy” is too cute to boot. Granted, I don’t even have children, but the promo hit a sweet spot, so I walked into Gap and headed to the kids section to check out the goods. And guess what? Not only were they selling cute clothes, but actual candy! You can bet your candy canes I bought a bag and it was delicious – Impressive! Way to go GapKids, I’m buying your products and I don’t even have a kid!

GapKids “I Want Candy” Video feat. Maria Aragon:

Take-away: Shine the spotlight on someone else. Featuring or repurposing content from others, whether it be a local star, someone unknown, or even a competitor, not only develops and displays professional camaraderie, but also gives you the opportunity to be exposed to new audiences brought in from your guest stars. Always make sure, however, to give credit where it’s due.

2. ModCloth: Name it & Win it

Speaking of sugar and spice and promos that’re oh-so nice, ModCloth, a retro online clothing retailer, has a cult fan following, and for a reason. Not only do they provide a constant stream of desirable products, they do an excellent job of engaging their customers in just about every promo they put on. One of my favorite’s featured on ModCloth’s blog is a contest called “Name it & Win it.” Every product sold on MothCloth’s website has a cheeky, ‘punny’ or cheesy name to it. In this ‘Cyber Monday’ edition of “Name it & Win it,” Modcloth leaves it up to their customers to come up with a name for a featured product…in this case, a dress. The winner gets bragging rights for naming a permanent product on the site AND they get the dress! That’s not only interactive, but also engaging, and it promotes multiple site viewership. That’s winning x2. Yahoo!

Take-away: Find ways to engage and interact with your audience. This may be through contests, giveaways, surveys, or even simple questions posed to your customers via blog/Facebook/Twitter, etc. Interaction with your customers encourages repeat visits and will most likely attract new customers to join in on the fun. Check out this recorded webinar, Social Media Listening and Engaging for more ideas.

3. Amazon.com: 25 Days of Free

“Free” and “music” are two of my all-time favorite words. When both of these words/worlds collide, I swear I hear angels singing, for free, of course. With the rise of music streaming services like Spotify, that encourage “borrowing” music vs. downloading it illegally (you know who you are), we’re all getting into the honest & sharing spirit. Amazon.com takes it one step further with their promotion, “25 Days of Free” where they’re just giving music to you, for free! Going on now, and every day through Christmas, Amazon will unveil a holiday song to download for free for a limited time. It’s like a zero calorie advent calendar that goes straight to your ears!

Take away: Giving gifts to your customers for free, without any hidden catches, is not only appreciated, but will be remembered. And, when a customer does want to purchase a product, they’ll most certainly come back to you.




4. Starbucks.com: 12 Daily Offers 

Starbucks fans are hardcore, and I can see why. Not only does Starbucks brew up some of the strongest coffee in the industry, but they put a lot of thought and effort into their promotions, even if they only last 12 days. From December 1-12th, Starbucks puts a new gift idea on sale for one day, in their “12 Daily Offers” promotion. It’s a gift guide & sale in one! There’s an animated site made specifically for the promotion displaying a lit up tree, falling snowflakes and carolers that transport me into a winter wonderland of coffee and hot deals. Starbucks run anyone?

Take-away: Offer a gift guide, a sale, and a sense of urgency. Some people need all the help they can get when it comes to buying gifts. Providing your customers with friendly ideas via gift guide along with a deal will ease their sense of gift-giving panic. Providing a limited time on your sale also urges customers to purchase sooner than later. The amount of effort you put into something, such as a sale, will also resonate with your audience, no matter how big or small the deal.

5. Kate Spade New York: Give Colorfully

Kate Spade is living in color. The 2011 Holiday campaign and collection “Give Colorfully” displays handbags, jewelry, clothing and more in splashes of color galore. To promote the campaign, their blog explodes with color and colorful topics, short, sweet and visually appealing videos, and more. There’s even an interactive gift guide on the site that allows you to virtually ‘unwrap’ goodies by scrolling your mouse over colorfully wrapped packages. The campaign, colors, design, videos, creativity and interactivity on the site are not only aesthetically pleasing, but fun to get lost in, more so than I should probably admit, but it was for research right?!

Take-away: Never underestimate the power of a clean, simple, colorful design. This concept doesn’t just apply to websites, but to your email campaigns as well. Eliminate clutter, keep it simple, and consider white space.

6. UrbanOutfitters.com: Take it Off

When you hear the phrase “take it off” are you thinking of savings? Sure, me too. Well, whatever your mind may be making up, UrbanOutfitters.com sure did a great job of grabbing my attention. In a ‘quickie’ of an email, I received the promo code: TAKEITOFF for an additional 20% off a $100 purchase. They placed the promo code in the preheader, and sure enough, I opened it up in a split second to check out the…er, savings.

Take-away: Attention-grabbing copy (when done tastefully and truthfully) is key, so take some risks! If you’re worried about performance, conduct a split test and send the catchy attention-grabber to half your audience. Make sure to track and measure your results – you might be pleasantly surprised! Here are some slides on holiday copywriting and content to get you in the catchy copywriting mood.

That ‘wraps’ it up! Hopefully this compilation of promos got your own creative brain geared up and ready to take on some catchy promo action, so fine, it’ll blow your customers’ minds!

© 2011 – 2018, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.

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