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Students’ top 4 picks: Christmas Ad edition

With Gen Z turning to social media to get into the festive spirit, and four in five young people making their festive purchases via social media this year, have brands changed their approach to holiday advertising? 

We have taken a look at a variety of campaigns that have hit mainstream – and niche – media to entice young shoppers this Christmas, in order to give you the latest insight and takeaways from this year’s festive ad campaigns. Let’s dive straight in… 

London bus with advertisements


Aldi are off to a great start with the timing of their festive campaign, kick starting in line with this year’s 2022 World Cup and naming their ad ‘Feast of Football’. They’ve found the sweet spot to remain relevant to the 46% of Gen Z who watch football

Aldi’s animated festive ad was first released on TV, featuring their very own Kevin the Carrot who is left home alone, leading to their family ditching their trip to Paris to return home to Kevin. Tapping into the nostalgia of the firm favourite festive movie, ‘Home Alone’ is a good idea when targeting students, who are known to seek comfort and connection from their past when times are tough. The 90 second long Ad leaves viewers with “Let’s make Christmas amazing for everyone” which again resonates perfectly with the 69% of students who are returning home from uni to spend time with loved ones to close out the year.



Starbucks knows what they’re doing! Gen Z globally knows Christmas is coming when Starbies switch up their cups to a festive design, and encourage customers to share their festive drinks on Instagram. This year is no different, and the hashtag #joyineverysip was trending before December began. The power of social sharing isn’t diminishing, and it’s clear to see festive joy  lies within their new festive drinks menu for the youth audience. Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ founder and interim chief confirmed the strategy with The New York Times  “we’re a Gen Z favourite because young consumers like to customise and make the drink their own, and then post pictures on social media.”

Student look at adverts on their phone


You can’t help but feel as though boots have used their Christmas ad to their advantage this year and rightly so. Their ad encompasses all things students want this festive season, including a pair of glasses that when worn, transform the ordinary world into a festive winter wonderland, and the true desires of friends and family are secretly revealed. According to The Drum, 52% of the UK public feel additional pressure to be happy and pretend everything is okay at Christmas and students are no exception. Reminding one and other of the true joy in Christmas that can be gained from spending time with loved ones alleviates added pressure of gift buying around the festive period. 

Driving traffic to their website, Boots have gamified their festive campaign, offering visitors the chance to win featured gifts from the Ad in exchange for a few details – a great value exchange if you ask us! With 67% of students looking for cheaper versions of products they normally buy as a result of the rise in living costs, the giveaway is a great way to entice young people to engage.

TK Maxx

TK Maxx’s high energy ad aligns with the UK’s most prevalent challenge right now…the cost of living crisis. Positioning themselves as the solution to finding great gifts that feel expensive (but aren’t), TK Maxx have read the room. We can see this narrative resonating well with students struggling to find the perfect gift for their loved ones without breaking the bank. It’s a perfect example of how Christmas can be done on a budget, especially students who are looking to spend less during the festive season this year. 

As often is, with the good comes the bad. There have been so many brands releasing epic festive campaigns that are really in tune with consumer consensus… and then there are a few that are out of touch with reality. Cue mental image of heaps of food and extravagant presents. As many families – and students – are struggling to heat their home this winter, it’s wise to be mindful of this, especially if it’s these demographics that you are targeting. 

What’s your favourite festive Ad this year? Let us know, and
get in touch to see how we can help you to build meaningful connections with student consumers.