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Social Media Christmas Crackers


The Star: The Prett Christmas Sandwich campaign

In 2014 the sandwich chain sold more than 625,000 of its popular Christmas lunch sandwiches in November and December. Since the Summer their customers were asking them when their favourite sarnie was coming back in-store - so Pret turned this interest into a Christmas campaign.

The campaign focused on Social Media to create an annual event to launch their seasonal Christmas Sandwich. The combination of organic and paid social updates on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram encouraged users to 'save the date', teasing with an image of a gift-wrapped sarnie. The call to action 'schedule now' linked to a landing page (complete with countdown clock) where users could add the date to their calendar or join the Facebook event.

The launch promoted an expanded ‘Christmas Specials’ range for 2015 which included the original Christmas Lunch Sandwich but also included Mint Hot Chocolate (with trifle cream), mince pies, a Beef Wellington Baguette, a gingerbread snowman, Brie and Cranberry Baguette, Crimble Crumble bar, Veggie Christmas Lunch Sandwich and Christmas Tiffin bar.

Why we loved it

Perfect Sandwich of British Absurdity and Charity Pathos

Pret knows a sandwich is hardly worth calendarising. Bowing down and paying homage to a humble sandwich (however yummy) is absurd. Absurdity and Britishness work well together. With this sense of absurdity they conveyed their Britishness as a brand.

The self-deprecating tone is successfully delivered by the contrast with the serious CSR messaging which also ran throughout the campaign. It was clear when they were not taking themselves too seriously and when they were being very serious about the causes they support.

Santa's [Lunch is] Coming

To whip up the excitement level to that of a 5 year old on Christmas Eve Pret released details of free giveaways and ‘It’s coming’ via social media in the days before the launch and created a “Save The Date” and Countdown Clock to the launch on November 10th. They attracted fans and drove greater footfall to stores.

Christmas Sandwich Day

On November 10th Pret wrapped up its shop in London's Broadwick Street on 10th November as a giant Christmas present, with customers invited to tear their way through to get a free festive sandwich. The great ‘unwrapping' of the Pret branch was quite a spectacle with swarms of people with their phones out taking photos – which were shared on Social Media. Anyone would have thought Santa himself had arrived, not just his lunch.This was supported by the Christmas Sandwich gift unwrapping in a gif on Twitter and PR food press coverage gave the launch additional coverage, for example The TimeOut review called them “The Father Christmas of sandwiches” – also shared on Social Media.

A Charity is For Life, Not Just for Christmas

The humour of the ‘Big Event’ was perfectly balanced by the pathos of the CSR messaging in this campaign.

“Doing the right thing” has always been a big part of Pret’s brand strategy, CSR is right at the top of their agenda. For Pret a charity is for life, not just for Christmas. As a result their charity messages came across as genuine and with integrity. We loved this. For Pret Christmas was about giving to the causes it stands for as much as selling more sandwiches.

Pret launched its Christmas Sandwich campaign along with its 'A Little Thank You' campaign to raise awareness and money for five homelessness charities among the 40 good causes it already supports: Glasgow City Mission, The Choir with No Name, The Clock Tower Sanctuary in Brighton, Cardboard Citizens in Whitechapel and The 999 Club in Deptford.

More than two million customers a week will have seen the five charities' logos on its packaging and coffee cups. For each Christmas sandwich and baguette sold, the company will give 50p to the Pret Foundation Trust, which in turn will distribute the money to the individual charities.

Pret’s social media channels and website featured the charities' stories, with new photography and video assets. Pret's digital media budget for sponsored posts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter was used to promote the charities. On Instagram, Pret ran a portrait photography series telling the stories of the people it works with through the different charities and the firm's own apprenticeship scheme for the homeless and ex-offenders.

The results – everyone’s a winner.

* Pret’s evangelisers were given something to talk about – which they did, on social media.

* 7k people added ‘the event’ November 10th launch of the Christmas sandwich to their calendars.

* @Pret gained 8.9K new followers over the Christmas period, taking them up to nearly 95.7K followers in total.

Source: TwitterCounter

Pret may be giving 50p away for every Christmas Special item sold to charity but it’s probably safe to assume with the product range being bigger and an increased following then everyone’s a winner.

Other Christmas Social Treats We Loved

Mercedes-Benz Played Secret Santa

In the run-up to Christmas, Mercedes-Benz brought some festive cheers to its social media followers by playing Secret Santa. It direct messaged people on Facebook and Instagram asking them to nominate a friend or loved one to receive a gift, using the campaign hashtag #MBSecretSanta. Once MB had received the name, postal address and social media handle of the lucky recipient, the brand sent them one of over 1,000 gifts that included a leather chronograph watch, a bluetooth speaker and Mercedes-Benz branded products such as wool throw blankets and leather tote bags.

"We hope people will continue to follow the brand [on social] for some pretty amazing things. This is definitely not a hard sell", said Mark Aikman, General Manager of Marketing Services at Mercedes-Benz USA

The Best Social Cracker Joke: Happy New Year – A Day Early

We’ve all used them, those auto scheduling tools which enable community managers to go to the ball and not be tied to their desk. Unfortunately pre-setting the date to 12:01am on December 31st meant a lot of brands wished the world a happy new year 24 hours early on social media. This was hilarious for most of us but we’re guessing not for those poor social managers who set their clocks a day wrong.

Our Other Social Festive Favourites

* Unicorns were so 2015. For those who enjoyed too much bucks fizz and thought they were seeing unicorns everywhere – in 2015 you were.

* The Instagram best of 9 trend as people prepare to see in the New Year

* Star Wars brand hijacking, a great example from Google but plenty of others - we love the windows example.

* User generated content themes became prominent on social media over Christmas, for example with The Floods and Thanks to John Lewis.

And Finally A Social Winner Which Stood Out In December (for not being Christmassy!): EasyJet

A promoted tweet from EasyJet, including a moving GIF. Audiences needed to click (which stops) the gif when they spotted the 20% off. This was an innovative and different way to get users to interact with their brand and promoted tweet. The birthday theme was present throughout and was well aimed at their target audience. We also liked the use of emojis within the tweet.

In 2016 we’ll continue to bring you monthly highlights of the best in Social. Happy New Year everyone.

Compiled from contributions by the members of the DMA Social Media Council.

Kathy Harvey - Council Member & Digital marketing Manager at Thunderhead @_kathyharvey

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