Creative Food Advertising All Wrapped Up For the Holidays

The holidays are a time of year folks eagerly look forward to for its special food-related traditions. If you’re like me, one of the traditions you cherish most is all the great creative food advertising during this period. However, you’re probably not much like me, because I’m kind of an obsessive food ad geek who really needs to develop some alternative hobbies and interests.

Anyway, this year’s creative holiday food advertising has not disappointed, despite the inconveniences of COVID-19. Some advertisers are using the pandemic as a creative theme in their marketing, while others are taking a break from it to simply focus on the fun of the season. As seen in last quarter’s blog, Burger King even got a jump on things with their “Christmas in July” promo. Let’s take a look at some of the other work that has stood out recently. As always, a video version of our blog is also available for those who like to watch.

Reese’s – Trick-or-Treat Robot

In the CPG category, Halloween is obviously the most important time of year for confectioners. Unfortunately, traditional Halloween trick-or-treating took a big hit this year with social distancing in full effect. However, Reese’s found an ingenious workaround. They figured if costumed kids couldn’t go door-to-door, they’d bring a door to them. The 9-foot-tall, remote-controlled, rolling entryway roamed a variety of neighborhoods, dispensing Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups through its mail slot to people who posted on Instagram using the hashtag #ReesesDoor.

Oreo – Election Ad

Though not technically a holiday, this year’s Election Day dominated the season’s conversations. Oreo chimed in with a heartwarming call for unity in an ad encouraging Americans to put aside their differences and come together. Set at a deep-fried Oreo stand at a fair, the spot revolved around a trio of stuffed animal prizes coming to life after hours. In some not-too-subtle political messaging, a donkey and elephant get into a bit of a kerfuffle, before being encouraged by a cute stuffed kitten to work together over Oreos and milk. “Life is sweeter when we come together” is the ultimate message of positivity and connection.

Arby’s Deep – Fried Turkey Pillow

Turning to QSR, Arby’s called upon Thanksgiving frivolity to publicize its limited-time Deep-Fried Turkey sandwich menu. For those of us who find ourselves drifting off into our annual holiday food-induced coma, Arby’s had just the thing. It was a deep-fried turkey pillow/hat to insert our heads into for post-dinner napping comfort. In a cheesy “As Seen on TV”-style ad, Arby’s directed viewers to its online sales site. And for those who didn’t have $59.95 to plunk down for a poultry-themed pillow, there was also a contest for winning one and even augmented reality Snapchat and Instagram filters to virtually try it on.

McDonald’s – Christmas Characters’ Orders

With Christmas fast approaching, McDonald’s is airing a new holiday season campaign featuring the favorite fast-food orders of fictional seasonal characters like John McClane of “Die Hard,” Buddy the Elf and even Frank Costanza from “Seinfeld.” The spot is a follow-up to one that ran earlier in the year showing the favored McDonald’s combinations of celebrities including Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Magic Johnson and Whoopi Goldberg. The vignettes each include details that cleverly correspond to the characters’ personalities, like a walkie-talkie for McClane and tons of syrup for Buddy. But they go by quick, so it’s easy to miss the joke during the first viewing. All the better for making us pay even closer attention the next go-around.

Real California Milk – The Day Can Wait

Finally, in the food commodity realm, California Milk is calling for consumers to slow down a bit during these dizzying times. With today’s work-from-home routines comes an overwhelming feeling of needing to stay constantly connected. Badgering emails and social notifications and news alerts demand our attention seemingly from the moment we wake up. California Milk wants us to ditch the digital distractions long enough to simply enjoy a real breakfast before diving into our day. The nicely produced ads depict “I’m not a morning person” types in their pj’s swatting away an assault of annoying swarming icons while taking a moment to wake up with California dairy products. Hmm … isn’t that what coffee’s for?

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Kirk Evans VP/Associate Creative Director EvansHardy+Young
Kirk Evans, VP/Assoc Creative Director

Kirk held senior creative positions at McCann-Erickson and Ogilvy in Los Angeles before joining EvansHardy+Young over 20 years ago. He has produced award winning work for multiple EHY Clients including Idaho Potatoes, California Walnuts and several restaurant chains. Previous clients included American Express, Coca-Cola, Columbia Pictures and Post Cereals. Despite being born and bred in New Jersey, Kirk is an enthusiastic surfer.