Christmas 2023 Activations: Coca-Cola, LUSH, Cadbury’s and more

The holiday season is upon us, and brands are leaving no tinsel unturned to create magical experiences that resonate with consumers’ longing for a fairytale Christmas. From AI-driven campaigns to immersive grottos and unique pop-up events, the landscape of Christmas activations in 2023 is a feast for the senses. Let’s unwrap the highlights from the most enchanting Christmas campaigns of the year.


1. Coca-Cola’s Global Santa Fest

Coca-Cola, a brand synonymous with Christmas, has embarked on a heartwarming journey with its 2023 holiday campaign titled “The World Needs More Santas.” Developed by WPP Open X, the campaign transcends borders, adapting its message to over 80 markets worldwide.

The centrepiece of the campaign is a touching long-form ad that envisions a world where everyone is Santa Claus, emphasising the power of kindness. Coca-Cola takes this concept beyond the screen with a digital quiz, Christmas truck tours, on-pack competitions, and captivating out-of-home elements.

What makes this campaign truly innovative is the integration of generative AI through the “Create Real Magic” platform. Consumers can design digital Christmas postcards using AI, featuring iconic Santa Claus and polar bear depictions. The company plans to showcase consumer-created artwork on digital billboards worldwide, adding a personal touch to the global celebration.

Coca-Cola’s 2023 holiday campaign, ‘The World Needs More Santas,’ reimagines the season with a heartwarming ad, digital quizzes, Christmas truck tours, and an AI-powered ‘Create Real Magic’ platform.

2. Lush Liverpool’s Interactive Grotto

Lush, known for its innovative approach to retail, launched the ‘Lush Liverpool Christmas Grotto.’

This interactive experience, available from November 10 to December 24, features maze-like rooms inspired by Lush favourites. Visitors can explore themed rooms, participate in a bath bomb workshop, and receive a gift from Santa.

The inclusion of Lush’s first consumer-facing tech product, the Bath Bot waterproof speaker, adds a tech-savvy twist. This immersive experience aligns with Lush’s commitment to providing a personalised and sensory journey for its customers.

Lush Liverpool introduces the ‘Lush Christmas Grotto,’ an interactive experience with maze-like rooms, bath bomb workshops, and the first consumer-facing tech product, the Bath Bot waterproof speaker.

3. Valentino X Harrods: A Pink Christmas

In collaboration with Valentino, Harrods has created a stunning Christmas brand experience that bathes the iconic store in shades of pink.

This eye-catching display in London and Shanghai features beautifully designed trees and a Christmas afternoon tea experience at The Harrods Tea Rooms and Piano Bar in Shanghai. The partnership between high-end fashion and luxury retail enhances the festive atmosphere, offering shoppers a unique and visually striking Christmas experience.

Teaming up with Valentino, Harrods paints Christmas in shades of pink with stunningly designed trees in both London and Shanghai.

4. Cadbury’s Nostalgic Christmas Return

Cadbury’s Christmas campaign celebrates the return of the iconic Dairy Milk Chocolate Coins after nearly a decade. The brand infused excitement early on with a unique billboard in Leeds covered in Christmas decorations and lights.

Cadbury also tracked down some of the nation’s biggest and most eager festive fans, finding people who had already covered their homes in festive decorations in October. In a media first for Cadbury, Cadbury and the homeowners turned their homes into OOH ads with the addition of a custom-made decoration announcing the return of Cadbury Coins. The homeowners were, of course, paid in Cadbury Coins.

5. LookFantastic House of Beauty

LookFantastic opened its first-ever pop-up in London, running from November 29 to December 3 at 189 Piccadilly Townhouse. This House of Beauty event provides visitors with an exclusive preview of the retailer’s holiday collections, including the Christmas Eve Edit and Christmas Present 2023.

The pop-up promises immersive beauty experiences, facial treatments, and a chance to explore and purchase exclusive holiday sets from renowned beauty brands. LookFantastic’s foray into the pop-up space adds a touch of glamour to the festive season.

LookFantastic’s first-ever London pop-up, the ‘House of Beauty,’ promises an exclusive preview of holiday collections, immersive beauty experiences, and facial treatments.

6. Waitrose Winter Food and Drink Festival

The Waitrose Winter Food and Drink Festival, held at Tobacco Dock from November 24 to November 26, promised a festive feast for the senses. With over 150 producers and suppliers showcasing delicious products, the festival includes food and drink tastings, wreath-making workshops, and expert masterclasses.

A new addition, the Waitrose Christmas Room, offers a sneak peek into must-have festive products and food trends. This immersive experience provides visitors with inspiration for table dressing, cooking, and cocktail making, adding a dash of culinary delight to the holiday season.

7. Asda’s Bublé-Powered Christmas Tree Karaoke

Asda, in collaboration with global music icon Michael Bublé, brings a unique and musical twist to Christmas with a karaoke-powered Christmas tree.

The 20-foot-tall tree, unveiled outside London’s Kings Cross Station on November 16, lights up in response to individuals singing Michael Bublé songs into a microphone. This interactive and joyous experience not only spreads Christmas cheer but also rewards participants with free Asda Christmas goodies. The collaboration with Michael Bublé adds a touch of star power to this one-of-a-kind Christmas activation.

In conclusion, the 2023 Christmas campaigns offer a diverse array of experiences, from heartwarming narratives and technological innovations to immersive grottos and festive pop-ups. These campaigns go beyond traditional marketing, creating memorable moments that resonate with the spirit of the season. As we navigate the holiday landscape, these activations remind us that, indeed, consumers are hungry for a fairytale Christmas, and brands are stepping up to deliver the magic.

If you want to add some experiential technology to your upcoming events, whether it’s influenced by social sharing, data capturing or creating a memorable experience, chat with our team of experts who can advice, or merely give inspiration for your next project!