5 ways to avoid Christmas marketing clichés

To everyone else, it's the most wonderful time of the year. To a copywriter, it's an endless sea of samey marketing.

Don't believe me? All you have to do is follow Christmas copy bingo on Twitter and you'll see what I mean. In our industry, we have to make a game out of it or we'll end up going mad.

Avoiding Christmas marketing clichés isn't as easy as it sounds. If you aren't fighting marketing managers (who seem to think the same old worn phrases are brilliant) you're accidentally re-treading the same ground without realising it.

Here are a few examples:

Christmas, all wrapped up

'Tis the season

Gifts the whole family will love

I'm dreaming of a [insert product/service/brand] Christmas

You get the picture. And if you aren't rolling your eyes yet, shame on you.

Here's why you should avoid those clichés...

Why you should say bah humbug to Christmas clichés

There are two glaringly obvious reasons why clichés should be given the dodge and they're pretty darn good ones:

1.They make you look unoriginal
When you churn out another worn Christmas marketing phrase, you're really just showing the world that you don't give a sh*t about the art of marketing.

True marketing is about being inventive, relevant and engaging.  Throwing a cliché into the headline and adding a hero image isn't good marketing—it's lazy.

If you want a masterclass in Christmas marketing reinvention and the power it has, take a look at some of John Lewis' old Christmas campaigns.

2. They aren't effective anymore
Rolling out the same tired crap gets you the same tired reaction from customers. They've seen that headline a million times. They might have cared the first time, maybe they even stopped to look and smile. Years down the line...not so much.


How to generate original Christmas marketing copy every year

1. Save samples
Time to dip into the old inspiration stash! If you're anything like me, you squirrel away marketing examples so you have a starting point when the words aren't coming so easy. Bring out last year's Christmas campaign collateral and pick out clever headlines, formats you find effective and ideas you'd like to try. In the early brainstroming stages, nothing is off the table!

2. Check out the competition
I always say this, but it's so, so important. Knowing what's fresh and relevant on the scene is great for making sure your marketing is creative enough to make the grade and keep up with the comp. Head out networking to chat with other creatives about their ideas, cruise the net or browse storefronts to see what's knocking about.

3. Really look at what you're marketing
This is a good technique and is particularly useful for writing product pages. Take a minute to really look at the product you're selling. How are people using it? What problem does it solve? Why might someone desire it (or desire giving it)? You might find a new angle or feeling which you'd like to use when pitching the product for Christmas.

4. Get emotional
How does the product or service make people feel? Emotions are a great selling technique as it is, but Christmas takes things to a whole new level. People love to feel things at Christmas. Does your customer want to feel smug that they have Christmas 'all wrapped up'? Do they want to see the look on someone's face when they open a gift?

5. Check out your own historic campaigns
Which ones worked well for you? Which were less effective? Don't just scratch the surface by looking at the creative, either. Delve into the data and look at the customer segment you targeted, the creative assets used, the products promoted etc etc. By learning from the past, you'll be able to write copy that's a double whammy of 'fresh' and 'effective'.

And that, my friends, should help you on your way to writing magical, inspiring marketing copy this Christmas. Good luck!

Emma Cownley