As we move into the fourth quarter of 2020, parents and families are starting to think ahead to how to ‘do’ the Holiday season in an extraordinary year of pandemic and societal division. Many want celebrations to be in-person rather than virtual, with 59% saying they are likely or very likely to gather physically for Thanksgiving and the December Holidays, in a recent Ipsos survey.
While all parents are thinking about how to adapt their Holiday traditions to the restrictions and challenges posed by the pandemic, younger parents (25-39 year-olds) are particularly open to change. 61% of these families are planning to adapt or invent new traditions for 2020.
Not surprisingly, as parents place the mental and emotional health of children high on their lists of concerns, they want brands to create a sense of normalcy around the Holidays. Specifically, they want brands to support sentiments of togetherness, celebration, fun, gratitude, comfort and escape.
Here are five things for brands to consider in their holiday messaging:
Perhaps for the first time in a long time, the Holidays can be different this year. The question ‘how will you Holiday?’ is legitimate. Consumers are less on auto-pilot. This opens the door for brands to participate in the season in new ways, or maybe for the first time.
Opportunity abounds in helping consumers adapt or reinvent Holiday traditions, especially for brands targeting younger families. Conversely, brands that help families to make their traditions happen, despite COVID-19 restrictions, will find willing consumers.
There are also many emotional and tonal options for brands. Multiple anxieties - the economy, the virus, societal division – make consumers want to do the Holidays BIG. Whimsy, humor and light-heartedness will all be welcome. Supporting togetherness is a big driver.
Disposable income, for those that have it, may be lavished on the Holidays in light of limited other outlets. Sentiments such as togetherness and gratitude may translate to supporting brands that help those in need.
The stage is set for many advertisers to lean into the highly-charged emotion of the Holidays. As with the start of the pandemic, we see the risk of a sea of same on our airwaves. Branding will be critically important. Successful ads will be those that can own their slice of this sentiment-rich context.
Rachel Rodgers is a senior vice president of Creative Excellence at Ipsos.