Planning effective and engaging seasonal PR campaigns

The transition into autumn is a tough reality for many, as we say goodbye to the summer and welcome in the colder and darker evenings.


But as we begin to embrace the new season with warm jumpers and pumpkin spice lattes, this can only mean one thing... Halloween and Christmas are just around the corner!


From a PR and communications perspective, it’s the perfect time to capitalise on the seasonal trends and start warming up the ‘festive’ messaging.


The likes of John Lewis and Coca Cola have set the tone for Christmas for as long as we can remember with their tear-jerking and heartwarming campaigns, while Starbucks has dominated autumn with their PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte) phenomenon.


What to consider when planning your next seasonal PR campaign


1. Select your launch season

Using a season or key moment that’s applicable to your audience has become a popular tactic for many to help execute the launch of a campaign. We call it piggy backing! While this type of campaign can often be short-term, it’s a great opportunity to jump on trends (or create your own) that build or play on emotional behaviour and tie in with your brand.


Whether its Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween or Christmas, planning early is key to ensuring successful campaign execution. Allowing plenty of time before the official launch day is recommended to begin the following:


  • Build creative ideas
  • Draft messaging
  • Capture/create assets
  • Identify your launch channels/platform


All of which will ensure the campaign is launched in a timely manner in line with the new season.


2. Seasonal sentiment and storytelling

Tis the season to be… mindful! When preparing to launch a seasonal campaign it’s imperative that the sentiment of all communication aligns with current social/political affairs ie the current cost-of-living-crisis.


The past few Christmases saw a switch in storytelling tactics for many brands as food inflation hit new records and households struggled with the rising costs. As a result, Christmas campaigns were toned down for the first time in years focusing on quality time/family over materialistic purchasing. A good example of this was, of course, John Lewis who yet again successfully generated conversation on a wider/more important cause with their 2022 Christmas ad ‘The Beginner’.


Looking to spotlight children in the care system and highlight its long-term support for Action for Children, John Lewis centred its ad around a middle-aged man struggling to learn how to skateboard but more importantly, refusing to give up. As the ad goes on, the viewers are left a little confused behind the deeper meaning before it closes with a powerful message. The ending sees a young girl arrive at her new foster home with a skateboard in hand where she is greeted by the man and partner. Immediately feels welcomed when she spots a skateboard in the entrance of the house and sees her new foster parent with injuries because of learning how to skate.


This year we can expect a similar situation/approach from brands as financial pressures caused by the cost of living continue, impacting disposable and consumer purchasing habits. Storytelling has an opportunity to be relatable to the audience if executed correctly (like John Lewis) where the focus on the seasonal messaging reflects what’s important to the audience at the time of launch and, therefore, generates conversation and overall impactful change.



3. Identify your launch channels/platform

As social media continues to consume most of our free time, it’s a no brainer when it comes to promoting campaign messaging on social platforms using easy and shareable content to reach a wide audience quickly and effectively.


Knowing your audience will determine exactly which platform you select to ensure you capture your target market through promotional activity. For example, with TikTok’s popularity continuing to grow and attracting more users, it’s a platform worth considering particularly if your target group is aged 18-24. As a place where a lot of holiday trends stem from, it’s a chance to be creative with content to encourage user engagement and inspire people to act on the call to action outlined within the campaign.


Looking for some campaign support?

Our team of experts is available to help guide you through your next campaign, whether it’s seasonal, behaviour-change focussed or social media – we’ve got you covered!


To find out more about our services and where we can support, email Naomi (account manager):


If you’d like to see a case study of our seasonal campaigns you can head to see the Castle of Light case study here.

Naomi Cameron. 

PR account manager. 

Find out more about our services here.

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