6 Holiday Ads That Bring People Together

By Joanna Valente

The holidays are a time of celebration and love — both to celebrate the people we love and to cherish the moments we have with them. Regardless of which holiday, any time we carve out a moment to be present and enjoy each other's company is a gift — and a gift we need to do more of on a regular basis. The best ads don't just try to sell stuff (and yes, every ad is selling something) but hopefully they inspire us and remind us of our own humanity (in an especially chaotic world). 

With holiday ads, that couldn't be truer. The six ads below helped connect people across cultures, ages, countries, families, and friends. Whether the ads inspired people to cook a new recipe, call up an old friend, or share a moment with an older family member, each one shared a special message.

However, the most poignant message I loved about all of the ads below is the simple reminder to pause, take it all in, and just be. That's a reminder worth remembering at all times of the year, not just the holidays.

For marketers, this is a reminder that connecting people together through a greater purpose is the best gift a brand can give someone.


S.Pellegrino launched a video series called "Our Food, Our Stories" with chef Kristen Kish; the series focused on celebrating Thanksgiving with friends and family remotely. The campaign "drove awareness and trial with shoppable recipes, a newsworthy celebrity partner, engaging content, and a sweepstakes," according to the ANA case study, and focused on how "food can act as a conduit for stories, connection, and diversity."

The campaign garnered 62 million impressions and 8,000 sweepstakes entries.

KangShiFu Ice Tea

KangShiFu Ice Tea (KSF) created a new version of a popular Chinese New Year song, "A Fire in Winter," as a way to help younger generations celebrate with family. The company partnered with Chinese celebrities Weiting Chen and Meiqi Meng to perform the song live on Weibo and the music festival, WeSing Music Gala.

KSF released a commercial featuring the song on "China's six hottest drama shows during the holiday period, which aired on China's top 3 streamers (Tencent, iQiyi and Youku), as well as out-of-home (OOH) at key CNY travel spots across 44 Chinese cities."

Further, people could record their own versions of the song to share on WeChat, with the potential to earn branded gifts. Ultimately, the brand garnered a 53 percent increase in sales and the song achieved "over 300 million views on Weibo and 70 million views at WeSing's livestream gala with more than 40,000 unique recordings, eight times higher than the benchmark. Additionally, the song was so popular it was incorporated into China's three biggest offline karaoke libraries," according to the ANA case study.


Maggi created a cooking campaign for Tet, the Vietnamese Lunar New Year. Maggi targeted moms between the ages of 25 and 44 who use digital media for inspiration and shopping. Because of COVID-19, the campaign created "Cook Your Difference To Spice Up Tet" on eight different platforms.

The ANA case study described the campaign, stating it focused on the "consumer digital journey, starting from inspiring videos running on Facebook and YouTube as well as on TV. There were also personalized videos combined with interactive formats to engage with audiences and increase their consideration. Given the increase in views year-over-year of videos related to in-home activities during the Tet period, especially those that involved food and cooking, Maggi deployed an experiential livestream a few weeks before Tet to capture consumer anticipation for Tet food while maximizing user interactions. Media was also very well-allocated for lower funnel assets, including engagement activities in cooking communities as well as driving traffic on digital platforms Cooky and GrabMart to trigger purchases of Maggi Ready to Cook Packages."

The livestream achieved 880,000 views.

Citi Bike

As a way to give back around the holidays, Citi Bike created a campaign in New York City and Miami to encourage people to help kids who don't have enough food. The tagline was "Turn your rides into meals."

The OOH campaign focused on creating "motivating messaging on Citi Bike and station wraps, attention-grabbing kiosks and posters, and engaging digital screens to bring this campaign to life. The creative used visual cues from a delicate and beautiful die cut holiday card with colorful, branded illustrative imagery representing the circular motion of a bicycle. It was designed to feel like a personal message from Citi Bike and NKH to the viewer."

Ultimately, the campaign resulted in "1.2 million Citi Bike rides in New York City and Miami during the program period. Furthermore, $1 million was raised in donations to help feed kids across the country and over $1.7 million was raised on #GivingTuesday to help nourish communities in need," as explained in the ANA case study.


For the 2020 holiday season, Proof created a campaign for its Maker's Mark bourbon to bring people across the world together, especially as "cultures each have their own unique way of celebrating the holiday season, including special ways of dressing and decorating, distinctive celebratory traditions, and unique food and cocktails. It is not the generic symbols of the holiday season that individuals look forward to year after year, but these unique traditions that make the holidays memorable and full of character," according to the ANA case study.

Short videos were created from the real stories of people around the world (from Kentucky to South Africa) to shine a light on the universality of celebration, love, and friendship. To promote these stories alongside an e-commerce strategy, Proof "offered a gift box that contained its latest edition of the yearly sweater bottle design, along with an adult-sized matching sweater as an Amazon exclusive" as well as compiled the recipes for the holiday cocktails featured in the videos.

The brand saw a sales lift of 13 percent versus 2019, and the campaign was "extended to run again in 2021 and 2022."


For the winter holiday season, Toyota sought to promote the feeling of "togetherness" and connection. Every moment, no matter how big or small, is special. The company focused on speaking to Hispanic families during the pandemic who couldn't take off time for the holidays.

Toyota reported that 65 percent of Hispanics in 2020 "had jobs in industries like healthcare, transportation, and food services, which kept them working onsite and away from their children." Thus, the company's campaign, "The Journey," was born; the ad focused on the idea that "even traveling small distances with loved ones can create magical moments," as explained in the ANA case study.

The campaign achieved 100 million impressions and a 35 percent increase in conversion rates.

Joanna Valente is a director of editorial and content development at ANA.

The views and opinions expressed in Industry Insights are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.