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Considering that ‘omni-channel’ has become such a buzz word in retail over the last few years, there are still a huge number of companies that fail to optimise this form of marketing. Omni-channel marketing describes a retail experience that is exposed to consistent messaging and visuals across all customer touch points, be it a website, printed advert, on social media or in a physical store. 

Within both the marketing and visual merchandising departments, Holiday setups are when most budgets are spent. Holiday displays are “supposed to be” theatre-like and inspirational, so it makes sense to invest so much money in one big campaign. Surprisingly there is still a lack of cohesion in many brands but the 2021 Holiday season has also brought out some clever ideas, and some from unlikely suspects. 


M&S Food 

An easy way to capture the hearts of consumers during the Holidays is to create a campaign fronted by a loveable character. In their TV ad, M&S have finally brought Percy Pig to life for his first season and it’s about time this icon was celebrated at the forefront of their food business. Accompanied by Dawn French’s Holiday fairy, they introduce key seasonal products to viewers. The success here lies in the consistency of execution in stores. Having seen the advert on TV, online, and in print, the customer does not have to look far for the products. They are championed front and centre of every food hall with beautifully styled POS imagery. What’s more, the Percy Pig franchise is positioned as a category in its own right, spanning gifting and food, it’s a great centrepiece.



Image MailPlus


Lush Snow Fairy 

December 1st officially marked ‘Snow Fairy Day’ for Lush Oxford Street. To celebrate their best-selling seasonal product line the staff dressed as fairies, the façade logo turned pink, there were in-store events, and they promoted the Snow Fairy personalisation station.



Image LUSH Oxford Street Facebook


But this wasn’t just a vanity project for a London Flagship; Snow Fairy has been front and centre of all Lush stores since November when their Holiday animation was unveiled online. 



Image LUSH


Recently, Lush has taken the surprising decision to close most of their social media channels but in November, their social feeds were full of marketed Snow Fairy products. Lush has succeeded to create hype and demand for a product through consistent marketing over the years. To Lush customers, the Snow Fairy scent has become synonymous with the Holidays. That online conversation now continues organically via peer-to-peer marketing from enthusiastic fans sharing hashtags and images on their own feeds. This is the ultimate measurement of success, when marketing creates conversation about a brand or product which leads to sales and word of mouth promotion.



Image Leicester Mercury



Barbour’s collaboration with Paddington Bear is not just a great campaign visually, it encapsulates every significant brand value for 2021. The animated advert tells the story of Paddington searching for the perfect present for Mr. Brown. Finding a pot of wax in the shed, he repairs the jacket Mr. Brown has loved for years and presents it as a gift.



Image FashionUnited


The themes of repair and re-wear, product longevity, and mindful gifting are all key to the film but the messages are also strongly reinforced in the window displays and in store POS too. The store windows themselves are an excellent example of storytelling with products skilfully placed within a large, illustrated backdrop.



Image FashionUnited


Their social media channels also champion the partnership, with Paddington Instagram filters and competitions to win exclusive merchandise. It’s a great collaboration that communicates brand values, gives customers reasons to buy the products, and is a beautifully presented Holiday story.


Sports Direct 

One campaign where no expense has been spared is the Sports Directs Christmas advert. Capturing the sheer delight of an unexpected snow day, it depicts a snowball fight between the best British sporting personalities. Each celebrity in the advert also features in multiple posts on their social media feeds and knowing their customer profile, this ensures maximum ROI. 




Where this campaign differs from others is that the in-store proposition is almost entirely based around displaying that one advert; digital screens are innate to this brand and feature within windows, focal points and in service areas. Ticker tape digital displays dotted around the store repeat the strapline “Go All Out This Holiday”. As omni-channel campaigns go, this is an example of where one short film can be the entire campaign.


In conclusion

It’s clear to see storytelling and character led campaigns are a big win during Holidays and lend themselves well to various retail formats. Gone are the days where consumers only shop on High street! A successful campaign needs to align visuals and messaging across all channels. For larger brands there is an argument to be had in appealing to a broad market but as iconic campaigns like the Coca-Cola truck and John Lewis adverts have shown us, Holiday is about nostalgia and tradition. Creating new seasonal symbols is one reason for brands to strengthen their message and consequently, their association with the festive season in the hearts and minds of their customers.



About Katy Trodd

Accomplished London based retail consultant specialising in visual merchandising and styling, with a diverse portfolio of clients, from global corporate brands to high end designers and small independent stores.


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Header Image Barbour



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Katy Trodd