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Brand Activations Unwrapped: A Glimpse into the Most Enchanting Christmas Activations of 2023


(Source Asda)

As the festive break approaches and we prepare for the delightful chaos it brings, we thought now would be the perfect moment to review the realm of Christmas brand activations that have truly captured our hearts and minds. In this blog post, we’ll unwrap the magic of some of our favourite Christmas experiences, revealing how brands have successfully pulled The MARVELS Behavioural Science levers and embraced the holiday spirit, leaving an indelible mark on the memories of those fortunate enough to experience them.

1. St. Pancras Station’s Literary Wonderland: A Haven for Book Lovers

First up it’s St. Pancras Station. Who, in collaboration with Hatchards, London’s oldest bookshop, metamorphosed into a literary wonderland with an enchanting Christmas tree book installation. Soaring 12 meters high, this Hogwarts-reminiscent tree boasted a winding staircase and 270 shelves adorned with over 3,800 hand-painted books. Visitors were invited to escape the urban bustle and cozy up in one of the eight charming reading nooks at the tree’s base. Penguin Books treated them to five-minute passages from festive audiobooks, bringing the magic of Christmas literature to life. It was a bookworm’s paradise, celebrating the richness of literature and the joy of reading, making our hearts swell with holiday cheer.

2. A restaurant dedicated entirely to pigs in blankets. You heard that right. 

Aldi celebrated the festive season with the grand opening of a restaurant entirely dedicated to the yuletide delight of sausages snuggled in bacon, famously known as pigs in blankets.

Situated in Islington’s Camden Passage, the Pigs in Blankets Restaurant promised a jolly time, complete with a “Press for PIBs” button that unlocked a sleigh-full of unlimited courses of this merry favorite, allowing guests to ham it up to their hearts’ content.

The six-course menu showcased Aldi’s pigs in blankets range in all its tinsel-covered glory.

Securing a spot at this whimsical eatery was as easy as paying £5 —a small price to pay for a bellyful of holiday joy. Plus, all proceeds were wrapped up and gifted to Aldi’s charity partner, Neighbourly.

3. Ikea offered a ho-ho-hosted Christmas dinner extravaganza.

Ikea recently offered a unique opportunity to host a Christmas meal with friends and family in their festive roomsets.

On December 7th and 8th, participants were able to invite up to five guests to the Greenwich and Edinburgh stores for a Christmas dinner experience lasting for up to two hours.

The package included festive decorations, a two-course Ikea Christmas dinner, an Ikea dessert, and unlimited soft drinks.

Guests could choose from options like turkey, a vegetarian alternative, or the legendary Ikea meatballs, all served with roast potatoes, parsnips, peas, red cabbage, and gravy. We only wish we could have tucked in! 

4. A Bublé-powered Christmas Tree brought festive joy at Kings Cross Station

Asda installed a unique Christmas tree at Kings Cross station that brightened up only when individuals serenaded it with Michael Bublé tunes, in a festive nod to the supermarket’s campaign featuring the crooner.

Dubbed the “karaoke” Christmas tree and approved by Michael Bublé himself, passers-by had to sing a Christmas hit into the mic to activate the tree lights. Utilizing voice-recognition technology, the tree gauged the singer’s effort level, illuminating more brightly as they sang with greater intensity.

Participants who joined in, particularly with Bublé’s “Walking in a Winter Wonderland,” were rewarded with Asda Christmas treats. The downside? The 20-foot tree only appeared at Kings Cross station for one day so, you had to be quick! 

5. Waitrose & Partners Winter Food & Drink Festival Extravaganza: A Feast for the Senses

We couldn’t write an article on the best festive brand activations without rounding it off with the jewel in our crown, the spectacular experience that is the Waitrose & Partners Winter Food & Drink Festival at Tobacco Dock London. One of the largest events in our project calendar, this year was bigger and better than ever, with over 8,000 visitors and 189 suppliers offering 180,000 samples of around 800 different festive treats. 

In 2023, we unveiled the enchanting ‘Waitrose Christmas Room,’ a magical space that blossomed into a festive wonderland. Welcoming countless visitors, the room became a hub of culinary delights, featuring engaging cookery classes, wreath-making sessions, and the art of tablescaping. Attendees also had the opportunity to indulge in a Macaron Masterclass and immersive drop-in drinks experiences.

Finally, as we revel in the joy of the season, these Christmas brand activations serve as a testament to the magic brands can create, bringing smiles and warmth to hearts during the most wonderful time of the year. Join us in unwrapping the enchantment and embracing the holiday cheer!