The Evolution of Holiday Shopping Advertising | Koeppel Direct

The Evolution of Holiday Shopping Advertising

christmas shopping advertising

Long gone is the iconic age of advertising, when marketing professionals wore heels and suits and hashed out marketing plans in plush rooms that smelled of cigarette smoke.

Today’s holiday shopping advertising is much more to the point, with little room or demand for artistic talent or marketing prowess.

Still, there’s something so attractive about holiday shopping advertisements of the past. Their timelessness is shown as they continue to linger in some form in the online arena more than half a century after their conception. Take a look, for instance, at this week’s Target circular – the chances of that surviving beyond the holiday season are slim to none.

How Marketing Has Evolved

Early marketing in America was very straightforward, with no graphic imagery or over the top claims.

Small ads appeared in newspapers, but that was the extent of most marketing efforts. As radio and television made their way into the American household, brand marketing became a vital part of creating customer loyalty. Brands might sponsor a particular television or radio show, asking the station to display a product briefly, simply in order to gain awareness of the product.

The “Mad Men” type of ad agencies emerged around the same time, and marketing as a whole exploded onto the scene. Holiday shopping, even back then, was the biggest prize in brand competitions. Beautiful advertisements were created specifically for the holiday season, often depicting well-known legendary figures such as Santa Claus or showing the sort of parties you wish you’d been invited to.

The 40s, 50s and 60s featured some of the most artistic marketing ever created, designed to appeal to an audience that had little access to product information beyond what their local vendors could provide. When a brand presented itself in a particular light – for example, as the best picker-upper for a tired holiday hostess – the audience was inclined to trust the brand was providing them with an accurate depiction. 

Fast forward to today and the Internet Age… Today’s holiday buyers are more informed than any have ever been throughout the history of advertising, and they simply don’t respond to pretty pictures and unsubstantiated claims anymore. That’s why many of the ads you see today are all business and no fluff – especially around the holidays. Customers have less time than ever and they want to make the most of it, so they’re comparing prices long before they walk into a store or ordering online to have products delivered to their doorsteps.

Gaining a Foothold in the Modern Holiday Marketplace

The trick to getting the attention of today’s holiday shopper is simple – stop trying to impress them and give them the plain facts. Does your product improve attention span by 30 percent in clinical tests? Do you have the best prices on Xbox One anywhere online? These are the kinds of things they want to know, and right away.

But beyond just wanting to know the facts up front, shoppers need the information delivered in a way that works with their lifestyles. Depending on your market, this could mean anything from targeted television to programmatic web ads, social media marketing and/or retailer deals via push notifications from Smartphone apps. For those limited time holiday deals, your demographic may also check a variety of retailer websites or ad aggregators such as

Reaching Your Market This Holiday Season 

Although traditional marketing channels are quickly becoming old hat, there are still ways to reach your market this holiday season. Marketing is always evolving, though it hasn’t changed this dramatically and quickly since the rise of those casual marketing messages that are now sprinkled throughout our lives.

The only difference is the “where” and “what” we’re seeking when it comes to ads, not the “why.” After all, we all want to find a deal this holiday season. By taking advantage of modern direct response marketing outlets, you can make sure your demographic knows you’re the place to be for that shiny new bike or 4K TV this year.


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