In December, we witnessed many brands celebrating Christmas in typically grandiose fashion, as well as happily waving goodbye to the fiasco that was 2016.
Here’s a round-up of the best stories and campaigns from the month.
Paddy Power trolls Southern Rail
It’s been a miserable winter for Southern Rail commuters so far, but just before Christmas, those ol’ jokers at Paddy Power offered up a lifeline.
It launched a ‘cancellation insurance’ bet – offering long-suffering passengers the chance to win money should Southern Rail mess up their journeys on Christmas Eve.
Paddy Power took bets on Southern Rail’s 32 routes, with odds of five to one per line.
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) December 23, 2016
Budweiser gives revellers a free Uber
In a similarly travel-themed campaign, Budweiser teamed up with Uber to discourage drink driving on Christmas Eve.
Throughout December, Uber had been giving free rides worth £15 to new customers. However, on the 24th, it opened up the offer to all users in order to prevent revellers from driving under the influence.
Spotify says good riddance to 2016
Spotify launched a data-driven campaign to say “Thanks 2016. It’s been weird”. I wrote about how the campaign cleverly makes use of listener data in this article.
Meanwhile, it seems not everyone appreciated the brand’s attempt at humour.
A photoshopped version of a billboard ad recently went viral, with the perpetrator evidently disgruntled at how the streaming service compensates musicians.
Instagram Stories introduces stickers
Instagram has introduced yet another new feature to Stories, this time in the form of stickers that display locations, time, weather conditions and emojis.
Much like Snapchat geofilters, it is an attempt to make the feature much more fun and creative. As of yet, there’s been no word whether Instagram will introduce sponsored or branded stickers.
Twitter launches 360-degree live video
In late December, Twitter launched a new live video feature, allowing users to stream live in full 360-degrees using Periscope technology.
While only ‘select partners’ can currently broadcast live in 360-degrees, all users are able to watch, gaining greater insight into surroundings and exclusive views of behind-the-scenes.
The first-ever 360-degree live video was from broadcaster Alex Pettitt, showcasing a Florida sunset.
— Alex Pettitt (@Alexpettitt) December 28, 2016
H&M wins favour with Christmas ad
From John Lewis’s underwhelming attempt to Pret’s impressive effort – there were many festive ads to relish throughout December.
Though rather late to the party, H&M’s ‘Come Together’ ad was met with lots of approval online.
Directed by Wes Anderson and starring Adrian Brody, the short film told the story of train passengers travelling home for the holiday period.
Capturing storytelling elements – and a slice of Wes Anderson’s artistic magic – it was a December highlight.
Burberry celebrates 160th anniversary with cinematic short
Burberry marked its 160th anniversary with an ad deliberately designed to feel like a movie trailer.
Featuring clothes from the brand’s winter collection, the three-minute short is inspired by the brand’s founder, Thomas Burberry, and stars the likes of Sienna Miller and Domhnall Gleeson.
Social media conversation was largely positive, with many calling for a sequel to the video or for the brand to release a full-length feature.
Trump tweets his enemies
While Obama saw in the new year with a series of reflective tweets, Donald Trump took to the medium to offer up a less inspiring message.
He wrote: “Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don’t know what to do. Love!”
With Trump continuously taking to Twitter to post his latest musings, it’s been suggested that the new President could be the platform’s biggest marketing card to date.
Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don't know what to do. Love!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 31, 2016