As with all seasonal celebrations, Easter often creates a flurry of marketing activity as brands buy in to the hype and potential sales that it can bring. Now as commercialised as Christmas and Valentine’s Day, Easter is just around the corner and even if you’re not in the confectionary business there are rewards to be gained.
Here is a selection of the most successful Easter campaigns and the insights you can draw from them.
A Cadbury Easter and listening to public sentiment
As arguably the biggest confectionary name in the UK, Cadbury has a lot to play for over the Easter period. Now under the umbrella of Mondelez International, Cadbury has for many years partnered with the National Trust for a country-wide Easter egg hunt, that frequently draws thousands of families to some of the country’s stately homes and parks.
Yet last year the brand came under fire for removing the word Easter from its egg hunt advertising, drawing the ire of the Church of England which accused Cadbury and the National Trust of ‘airbrushing faith’ by removing any religious references from the celebration. A public outcry and tabloid press war followed, with even Prime Minister Theresa May weighing in on the debate, calling the move ‘absolutely ridiculous.’
Whatever your thoughts on Cadbury’s decision and the ensuing arguments, this demonstrates the precarious position of brands when trying to gauge public opinion and the need to judge carefully when considering the impact of campaigns. This year it seems that Cadbury and the National Trust have u-turned on the previous year’s position, showing themselves to be context aware and willing to respond to the demands of their customers.
Wickes and having confidence in your offering
With a four-day weekend in sight, many take the opportunity to tackle a DIY project they have been putting off until spring. This longstanding norm has been capitalised upon by hardware and home furniture stores for years, with search insights commentators Adthena pointing to research that has shown DIY stores see ‘an increase of 6.1% in footfall over the Easter weekend […], with the biggest rise on Good Friday at 9.5%.’
Yet despite this trend, last year homeware store Wickes crafted a playful campaign that actually encouraged its customers not to spend their long weekend doing DIY. According to Marketing Week, the chain launched a ‘Buy Now, Do It Later’ sale, which encouraged customers to take advantage of the 15% off products over the Easter weekend but asked its audience to leave their at-home projects until another time.
Marketing Week emphasises that ‘the new approach was adopted in light of brand research showing that 85% of home improvers start a project over a bank holiday weekend, but only around half ever actually finish it.’ Acting upon this research demonstrated Wickes’ confidence in its product offering, as by positioning itself as a trusted consumer partner, it was able to make the most of the peak in footfall and sales but paint itself as a reliable brand with its customers’ interests at heart.
Whiskas and shareability
For those brands not in the chocolate or DIY markets, buying into the Easter frenzy requires a little more creativity. This is exactly what cat food brand Whiskas was able to achieve with its ‘Earster Cats’ app. According to The Marketing People, the app ‘gave users an augmented camera that put giant bunny ears on their cats,’ and in doing so sought to capitalise upon the ever-growing importance of mobile.
With viral cat videos remaining popular and animal-themed Snapchat filters a regular feature in many a social media-user’s psyche, Whiskas’ humorous approach to the Easter season demonstrates a clever use of simple technology to link your product offering to the current trends taking place.
For other brands looking to do the same, the key takeaways are simplicity and shareability. With huge swathes of the working population suddenly finding themselves with a four-day holiday ahead of them, creating a campaign which can tap into people’s insatiable desire to share online can quickly create buzz around your brand.
Whatever your marketing aims this spring, a well-timed and well thought out Easter campaign could bring benefits to your brand. By learning from previous years’ successes, and sometimes missteps, you can ensure that your campaign is on the money this weekend.