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7 Great Christmas Marketing Campaigns For Gen Z From 2022

Festive adverts, much like mince pies, cold weather and sugary-flavoured hot drinks, are an indisputable marker of the holiday season. We know there’s nothing to get you into the spirit quite like revisiting the best ones of 2022, so today we’re taking a look at the festive campaigns leading the way for Gen Z and share what you, as youth marketers, can learn from them. 

Gen Z and the Christmas season

Our research revealed that over half of Gen Zers (53% from the UK and 58% from the US) prefer to see Christmas marketing in November, so now is the perfect time to land those perfectly-crafted campaigns. From fun social media content to holiday shopping inspiration, these digital natives are counting down the days until they can officially celebrate Christmas.

And in terms of what vibe young people want from the festive marketing they consume, what do they want? Research revealed the leading sentiments to be:

  • Creative (58% UK, 68% US)
  • Humorous (53% UK, 58% US)
  • Nostalgic (51% UK, 58% US)
  • Emotional (42% UK, 40% US)
Gen Z students having a party at Christmastime

As the data suggests, Gen Zers want wholesomeness from holiday marketing campaigns. The holiday season brings Christmas trees, Santa Claus and gift-giving, but most important to this generation is time happiness, imagination and family time.

7 engaging holiday marketing campaigns

So which Christmas campaigns from 2022 really got Gen Z talking, and what can we learn from them ahead of this year’s festive season? Check out our favourites below…

1. John Lewis

Perhaps the most long-awaited advert of 2022, John Lewis dialled down their messaging last year to tell a heartwarming story about the foster care system. Amidst the rising cost of living, this advert was a grounded contrast to the traditionally indulgent adverts that often populate screens at Christmas. 

For Gen Z, the John Lewis advert is an iconic signifier for festive calendars, and despite the retailer’s target audience being slightly older, the advert garnered a massive amount of conversation and praise from young consumers. One of our survey respondents described John Lewis’ Christmas ads as ‘Ones to watch out for every year’, whilst another said they ‘Always get me in the feels and pull on my heartstrings.’


*Re-considers gifts for entire family* 👨‍👧‍👦👩‍👧‍👦 #johnlewis #christmas #blindreact #relatable #fyp #viral

♬ original sound – Sam Cornforth

On TikTok, searches for ‘John Lewis’ soared into the millions, whilst many Gen Z influencers filmed themselves live-reacting to the advert (yes, there were tears involved).

2. Jack Wills

Coming in at a hot second place is Jack Wills’ Christmas 2022 campaign. A British brand formerly recognised for preppy clothing and name-adorned accessories, Jack Wills has had quite the character arc in the last couple of years. These days, it’s a brand best known for being worn by the UK’s hottest influencers – even taking a group to Ibiza in partnership with TikTok. 

Lasy year’s campaign depicted Gen Z Christmas opulence at its best, with a star-studded cast (including Olivia Neill and Jack Joseph) throwing the ultimate party complete with glitter, balloons and a thumping backing track from Charlie XCX.

3. Coca-Cola

Holidays are coming…

It wouldn’t be Christmas without the iconic Coca-Cola van. This campaign first graced our screens in 1995, and over 20 years later, it still gives us that warm fuzzy feeling. In 2022, the Coca-Cola van embarked on its ninth tour, spreading Christmas cheer to 33 cities across the US and Canada. 

Despite the longevity of this campaign, Coca-Cola has found ways to stay innovative. In 2022, the brand created the ‘Holiday Hub Digital Experience’, allowing consumers to have an AR experience with Santa himself (although Gen Zers might be a little sceptical on this one…). Coca-Cola joins many other brands that are shifting their focus to emerging technology such as AR and the Metaverse for a competitive advantage.

4. Marks & Spencers

For Gen Z, M&S often conjures thoughts of school uniforms, jumpers and expensive (but delicious) food. However, with the release of their 2022 Christmas advert, the tide might just be changing…

Directed by none other than the filmmaker behind ‘The Greatest Showman’, Marks and Spencer showed they were unlikely Harry Styles stans by featuring his song ‘Treat People With Kindness’ as their ad soundtrack. If M&S wasn’t on the map for Gen Z before, then it certainly is now.

Many flocked to TikTok to express their delight, with others saying they were converted to the M&S brand as a result. This advert came as part of M&S’ digital overhaul to reach younger consumers, with the brand adopting live-video shopping in 2020 and investing heavily into a renewed omnichannel strategy.

5. Disney

Last year’s Disney advert followed a similar trajectory to John Lewis by reining in traditionally consumerist Christmas messaging in favour of a purposeful, charitable feel. Disney partnered with the charity Make-A-Wish for the third instalment of the ‘Lola and The Stepdad’ mini-series.

Despite being a little older than Disney’s target audience, Gen Zers around the world loved the advert. Many flocked to Twitter to share their reactions, whilst others labelled it ‘the best Christmas advert of all time’. Moreover, as the world faces a global cost-of-living crisis and economic uncertainty, Disney’s advert focused on finding joy in the smaller things – and its wide appraisal and recognition showed it hit precisely the right notes.

6. JD Sports

JD Sports knows its target audience is Gen Z, and every year, they show us exactly how far they’re willing to go to get them engaged.

Their #KingOfTheGame Christmas campaign featured an unbelievable lineup in an action-packed advert soundtracked by grime legend Kano. With famous faces including KSI, Anthony Joshua, Amelia Dimoldenberg, Bugzy Malone and Harry Pinero making an appearance, this campaign drew on some of the most notable faces shaping UK youth culture today. 

And, the graft didn’t go unnoticed. In fact, the advert drew record-breaking levels of Gen Z engagement, with #KingOfTheGame trending on both TikTok and Twitter. This advert is another big win for JD, who are known for their influencer marketing and partnerships with some of the biggest names in the Gen Z world, including Youtuber Chunkz and Love Island’s Chloe Burrows.

7. Ann Summers

Regardless of whether it’s Halloween, Christmas or Easter, Ann Summers knows how to successfully execute a campaign. Last Christmas*, Tasha Ghouri joined fellow Love Island alumni Maura Higgins to become the new face of their festive marketing campaign. Tasha has previously received praise from Gen Zers for her Y2K dress sense and renouncement of fast fashion following her partnership with eBay. Tasha shared that she was drawn to Ann Summers for their diversity and inclusion – something we know is important to Gen Zers. Tasha was Ann Summers’ first deaf ambassador, so this was a massive and exciting step for the brand. 

And who could forget…

In our research, we asked Gen Zers which festive ads stood out to them. Aside from the aforementioned, here are a few that we just couldn’t ignore (spoiler: it seems like food stores hit the Gen Z sweet spot year after year…). 

  • Aldi: ‘It felt like a very cosy theme and the food looked awesome’ 
  • Walmart: ‘It was about family coming together and spending time happily’
  • Sainsburys: ‘[It] showed festivity and fun go hand in hand’
  • Asda: ‘Makes the holidays look so cheerful because family get to celebrate together’
  • Apple: ‘It was exciting and memorable. I ended up buying an iPad because of the ad.’
Gen Z woman walking in the park, uses the phone for online shopping, on a winter snowy day

So, there you have it: the leading holiday marketing campaigns from 2022. We saw everything from emotional storytelling to showstopping soundtracks, but one thing’s for sure – we can’t wait to see what Christmas 2023 has in store for the youth marketing world.

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*(I gave you my heart)

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