Seasonal celebrations offer great hooks for running promotions, but that doesn’t mean being limited to Christmas hampers or romantic Valentine’s weekends. By creating their own unique celebrations – from birthdays and anniversaries to special awareness days – brands can cut through the noise to offer distinctive and eye-catching promotions for their consumers. And we’ve got some thoughts on how to get started…

There are certain times in the year which lend themselves perfectly to prizes and giveaways. The problem, of course, is that everyone else thinks the same thing. You’re unlikely to be the only brand in your category offering festive cheer through Christmas prizes. Halloween becomes a bigger retail event every year, making it an increasingly crowded holiday for brands to really ‘own’. Your Valentine’s promotion may struggle to stand out among the other hearts and flowers, if competitors take a similar tack. There’s a huge amount of competition during these periods, which can make it very hard to achieve genuine cut through for your campaign and messaging. From in-store POS space to prime media placements, you end up battling for the best spots and, potentially, paying over the odds as a result.

So what’s the answer?

Well, in short, create your own moments to celebrate. One way for brands to do this is by creating their very own special celebration days. In some cases, these mark the brand’s own birthday or anniversary; last year saw competitions marking 100 years of Ambrosia, 80 years of Krispy Kreme, and 25 years of Avon’s Anew brand. For the latter, we created bespoke time capsules of trends and fashions from the last 25 years. From gadgets and designer goods to cult movies, winners were rewarded with a slice of history, reinforcing Avon’s heritage and their positioning as an iconic brand.

Other brands take a different route entirely. During its time in the West End, Dirty Dancing took National Watermelon Day and made it their own, giving away tickets to fans who arrived with melons in hand. Meanwhile, Star Wars Day (May the Fourth) may have started as a pun among Internet fan groups, but is now a major event in the Lucasfilm calendar. And, seven years on, Britain’s unique Twitter celebration of Ed Balls Day shows no sign of abating.

While we’ve yet to receive a seasonal prize brief for Ed Balls Day (come on, Ed…), the benefits of brand anniversaries and other unique celebration days are not hard to see. Offering an opportunity to carve out a unique niche, a chance to talk about your brand’s distinctive heritage and personality, these campaigns stand out from the crowd. You’re not hitching your wagon to external events, or associating yourself with generic celebrations to which everyone has equal and simultaneous access. You’re talking about your own story, about where you’ve come from and what makes you different.

The Alternative route

If creating your own branded celebration is a little too much, there’s still the option to venture off the beaten track. Why not think about alternative dates and holidays which might be less saturated? If your brand or product has a particular national heritage, there’s an obvious place to begin. Burns Night, St Patrick’s Day, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Australia Day and Chinese New Year are all perfect hooks for seasonal campaigns. This can be a great way to express and celebrate your brand’s unique heritage in a way which is authentic and individual, without getting lost in the noise of everyone else doing the same.

Alternatively, think about specific dates and subjects which chime particularly with your target audience. From World Book Day to Hollywood’s awards season, from Blue Monday to Shrove Tuesday, there’s a whole world of distinctive prize ideas waiting to be unlocked. If everyone else is enticing couples with mini-breaks to Paris in the run-up to 14th February, why jump on the bandwagon? Celebrate the following day instead, and give away a fun-filled party weekend for World Singles Day. It’s a fun, disruptive message – and a target audience of Valentine-weary singletons will love you for it.

So, this year, why not escape the noise? Celebrate your brand on your own terms, with the perfect prize, and let the magic happen.

For more information about our services, get in touch with Chris Pearson on +44 20 8871 9959, or