7 Marketing Lessons from Classic Holiday Movies

7 Marketing Principles from Popular Holiday Movies

Characters from Christmas and Holiday Movies

Key Takeaways:

Review insights from classic holiday movies to help inform your marketing in 2024.

As the festive season continues, with twinkling lights and joyful melodies all around, it’s the perfect time to curl up with some classic holiday movies. But have you considered that there may be some valuable lessons to be learned from these beloved films? Here are seven marketing principles from some of the TTG team’s favorite seasonal films to help shape your 2024 strategies and methods. 

Lesson 1: The Appeal of Unexpected Pairings

Movie: Die Hard

In “Die Hard,” there’s a surprising blend of two very contrasting themes: Christmas and action. From the protagonist’s wife’s name “Holly,” to the Christmas settings and music that percolates the film, it presents a subtle tribute to the holidays while juxtaposing it with the adrenaline-inducing plotline featuring the heroics of the one-and-only Bruce Willis. This movie embodies how combining different or seemingly unrelated elements in marketing can create a unique selling proposition and generate buzz.

Lesson 2: The Value of Influencers

Movie: A Christmas Story

Known for its nostalgic tribute to holidays in 1940s America, Bob Clark’s “A Christmas Story” holds a gem for today’s marketers. Though Ralphie lived in the pre-social media era, his excitement about the Little Orphan Annie decoder ring shows the impact influencers or endorsers can have. It’s a great reminder of how strategic partnerships with influencers who resonate with your target audience can step up your brand’s messaging. 

Lesson 3: The Power of Simplicity

Movie: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

In this movie, the character Clark Griswold tries to do too much. It’s a vivid metaphor for small business owners who overdo it with their marketing, from visually cramped website layouts to ad campaigns that are all over the place. Just as Clark’s excessive Christmas lights weighed down his house and led to power outages and frustration, doing too much with your marketing can weigh down your overall message and lead to small business burnout. 

Lesson 4: Own Your Identity

Movie: Elf

Buddy the Elf, played by Will Ferrell, illustrates the power of authenticity amid skepticism and adversity. Throughout the film, he continues to radiate happiness and stays true to his elf identity. His consistent attitude of joy and innocence eventually melt the hearts of his biological dad’s family and the jaded NYC dwellers around him. Like Buddy’s ownership of who he was, it’s vital to show off who your business is to your customers, from social posts to imagery and everything in between. 

Lesson 5: The Importance of Community Engagement

Movie: The Grinch

In Scott Mosier and Yarrow Cheney’s “The Grinch,” the titular character goes on a journey from Christmas-hating outsider to Christmas-loving insider. The Whos’ sense of community and their inclusive approach gradually won over the Grinch. Small biz leaders can take a cue from the story’s focus on community in fostering genuine connection. Actively engage with your communities, both online and in-person, to cultivate a sense of belonging. Responding to customer reviews and actively posting on social are two easy ways to get started. 

Lesson 6: The Value of Trying Something New

Movie: The Holiday

Another seasonal classic, “The Holiday” showcases the personal transformations of two female protagonists, Iris and Amanda. A holiday house swap is the first step to their respective transformations, as Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz’s characters experience new countries and (finally) meet their dream partners. Just as these two embraced changes, it’s equally important for small businesses to have this open-minded perspective. Sometimes all it takes to stand out in your niche is to experiment with new marketing ideas and methods that you’ve been hesitant to try. 

Lesson 7: The Power of Fulfilling Promises to Customers

Movie: The Polar Express

Whether you’re a fan of “The Polar Express” for its enchanting visuals or the sound of the nostalgic “Believe” song featuring Josh Groban, this movie has a valuable theme for today’s entrepreneurs. The film begins with the roaring train suddenly appearing and grinding to a halt outside of the protagonist’s house. The viewer is soon whisked away as the train gradually delivers what was promised: the magical Christmas train ride of a lifetime and the chance to see Santa at the north pole in person. From a marketing lens, ‘The Polar Express’ serves as a compelling narrative on the critical importance of fulfilling your brand’s promises, ensuring that customers’ expectations are not just met at the destination but also during the journey. 

Marketing Principles Made Practical

Need some extra coaching on one or more of these marketing principles? Connect with a TTG mentor today!

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