Your Go-To Guide for Creative Summer Marketing Campaigns (13+ ideas and examples)
May 18, 2017 | Jessica Mehring
Happy SCUD Day! “SCUD” stands for Savor the Comic, Unplug the Drama, and encourages us to relish in the funnier side of life rather than giving into drama and stress.
If you didn’t know about SCUD day, you are not alone! There’s pretty much a reason to celebrate each calendar day – many of which we might not know about.
However, holidays don’t have to be as well-known as New Years to be relatable. With the summer often being a slow time for marketers, we need to come up with unique ways to grab the attention of our audience. A great way to do this is through holidays!
While not every holiday will connect with your brand, with the abundance of obscure or specialized holidays you’re sure to find something that sparks a great campaign idea.
5 Outstanding Examples of Summer Holiday Marketing Campaigns
Before exploring some of the more unusual holidays, though, let’s look at some examples of winning summer holiday campaigns to inspire us.
Budweiser beer re-branded itself as “America” in its summer 2016 “America is in Your Hands” campaign, placing its new name and patriotic copy on 12-ounce cans and bottles.
Considering the emotional environment here in the U.S. in the summer of 2016 – the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Independence Day, contentious presidential campaigns and the corresponding election looming – tapping into national pride was smart thinking on the part of parent company Anheuser-Busch.
2. WOW Airlines
Icelandic airline Wow Air dubbed its summer 2016 campaign “the world’s first SnapTraveler program.” They asked their fans to create a short Snapchat story and upload it to a contest microsite. Participants had the chance to win the ultimate summer trip to one of 28 destinations, and winners were selected from around the world.
The brilliant part? The winners created social media content for the company on their fabulous vacations.
The result was a memorable campaign that appealed to adults and kids alike, and took advantage of the summer-vacation fever families were experiencing at that time of year.
4. Haagen-Dazs UK
The Wimbledon Championships might not be a true “holiday” … but the oldest tennis tournament in the world might as well be! Ice-cream maker Haagen-Dazs joined in the fun with their summer #LoseYourself campaign on Instagram and Twitter.
The most creative aspect of this campaign wasn’t the photography from Adam Katz Sinding – though that was certainly creative. It was the focus. Instead of focusing on the tennis stars, the photos focused on emotional fans caught up in the moment.
Travel accommodations booking company Booking.com ran their #WingIt campaign centering around the theme of summer freedom and travel. They urged fans to submit their best photos on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for a chance to have their photos turned into fun GIFs.
The photo submissions and the winners’ GIFs were featured on a dedicated Booking.com microsite, as well as across the company’s social media channels.
The campaign also included this high-energy video encouraging the audience to “wing everything except their accommodation.”
Summer Marketing Campaigns: Lessons Learned
You may have picked up on a recurring theme in most of those last 5 examples: outdoor fun. There’s a reason for that. Smart marketers know that summer is when people start spending more time outdoors. It’s when kids are out of school and parents take time off of work for family vacations. People spend less time in front of their TVs and computers – and more time mobile.
What does this mean for you?
- Consider the unique state of mind your audience is in this time of year. You’re going to have to work harder to get their attention when the sun is out and kids are about.
- Make your campaign mobile friendly, at minimum. To get the best results, however, consider making your campaign mobile driven.
Unusual Summer Holidays to Inspire Your Marketing Campaigns
The two most popular summer holidays here in the U.S. for marketers are Father’s Day (third Sunday in June) and Independence Day (July 4). A lot of your competitors are going to be creating campaigns around those dates – so why not be a little more inventive?
If you’re wondering how to leverage a summer holiday for a quick and effective campaign, here are a few unique examples:
Flag Day (June 14)
This is a day set aside for Americans to celebrate the ol’ Red, White, and Blue: the American Flag. Just think of how easy it will be to choose the color palette for a campaign centered around this holiday!
Besides the 4th of July, Flag Day is the perfect time to tap into the patriotic spirit of the United States of America. Have your audience submit photos of American flags wherever they find them. Run a campaign thanking active duty military personnel and veterans for their service, and offer them a discount coupon code.
Summer Solstice (June 20 in 2017)
The summer solstice, also known as midsummer, is the longest day of the year and the meteorological start of summer. On this day, the North Pole sees 24 hours of sunlight.
Create a campaign celebrating the sun – or bidding farewell to the daylight, since after this day, the days begin to get shorter. This might be a good opportunity for a poll asking your audience about their favorite summer activity, food, beverage, etc.
Hammock Day (July 22)
Have a mellow, laid-back brand? Hammock day might be your cup of tea. This celebration falls smack-dab in the middle of the Dog Days of summer (July 3 – August 11), a time when slowing down and relaxing are top of mind.
Take Your Houseplant For A Walk Day (July 27th)
Take Your Houseplant For A Walk Day is a quirky holiday, to say the least. But if you’re a quirky company with a quirky audience, this could really resonate! Encourage your audience to participate and share a picture of their experience with you on social media.
You can even make a fun competition out of it by compiling the funny photos you get and turning it into a survey or bracket where customers vote on the funniest picture! The winner could get some company swag, some other small gift, or even just a shout-out on your social media pages.
Regardless of how you praise the winner, your audience will be more inclined to participate because it’s a competition – which could mean more leads for your company. And who doesn’t need more leads?
Friendship Day (August 2nd)
If a quirky holiday isn’t your style, try using Friendship Day on August 2nd. This holiday is all about celebrating the strong bonds people have created.
You can use this to show gratitude to your customers through a thank-you email, or posting a blog highlighting some strong relationships you share with customers.
Many great leads for B2B businesses are generated from referrals, so it’s really important to share your thanks and gratitude.
No matter how you express your appreciation for their “friendship,” don’t forget to create a poll or survey for your customers asking how you could improve the relationship. This will increase engagement with customers, who will love that their opinion is heard.
National S’mores Day (August 10th)
Who doesn’t love a good s’more? This sticky, sugary delight is a campfire staple. A marketing campaign centered around this holiday could evoke togetherness, wilderness, family time around the fire.
Ask your audience to share their unique take on this traditional treat. Or create an infographic with instructions on how to make the perfect s’mores.
Left Hander’s Day (August 13)
Time to celebrate your left-handed fans and those who love them! The world was made for right-handed folks, so take this opportunity to give those southpaws – 10% of your audience, in fact – some extra attention.
If you sell physical products, highlight any left-handed options you might have (left-handed scissors, novelty mugs, computer mice, etc.) Or what about a polar-bear themed campaign … because it just so happens that all polar bears are left handed. (Surprised?)
More Herbs, Less Salt Day (August 29th)
This is a holiday that’s pretty neutral – not too quirky and not too serious. It appeals to gardeners, home cooks, health advocates, and anyone who loves good food (and everyone loves good food).
To get your audience involved, ask them to send in their favorite low-sodium recipes. Create a bracket out of the recipes you receive, and let people vote on their favorite. This is a great way to increase brand awareness (and get some delicious new recipes). You can also display the full collection of recipes in a gallery.
Summer Marketing Campaign Inspiration Isn’t Hard to Find
And if the holidays listed here didn’t inspire you, don’t fret! Here are lists of daily holidays throughout the summer, sure to get your creativity going:
No matter how you leverage a holiday, it is always important to tap into human emotions. Creating a human-to-human conversation with your audience is a great way to get them interested and involved, which generates better leads and data for you!