Beyond the commercial Christmas fanfare Written by | Posted on December 21, 2018 Leave a comment

Before Santa Claus as most of us know him – a jolly fellow with a long white beard, dressed head to toe in a red coat wrapped snugly around his belly – the meaning of Christmas was quite different.

The commercial figure we know and have come to love was actually developed by Coca-Cola in the 1920s as part of a Christmas advertising campaign. Based (albeit very loosely) on St. Nicholas, a 4th century bishop reputed for giving secret gifts to those in need, Santa Claus rapidly became a secular icon, who one might argue is now inextricably tied to Christmas and holiday celebrations around the world.

We have become so invested in Christmas celebrations that this year, Australia is predicted to spend $25 billion collectively on Christmas shopping (Finder 2018). This spend will include not only gifts but travel, decorations and charity donations. Though we are doing a lot of purchasing online, foot traffic in retail hubs is still significant, and a great way to reach out to audiences who are out and about at this time of year. Out-of-home advertising and radio in particular are great mediums as they have a mass reach and are great at driving brand awareness and consideration.

The Strand Arcade during Christmas (Image source)

For those who celebrate Christmas in a religious sense, December is not only a time to face (or embrace) the madness of shopping for gifts for loved ones, but also a time to reflect on an important moment in the Church’s calendar year – the birth of Jesus Christ.

Many different Christian communities in Australia celebrate Christmas in its true form, as the time when the central figure in their religion was born. From Italians to Filipinos to Croatians to Greeks, Christmas isn’t a one day celebration but rather the culmination of a month’s worth of preparation and reflection. For the 12.2 million Australians who identify as Christian (Census 2016), of which the top ethnicities are Filipino (215k), Italian (155k) and Greek (88k), Christmas is a marked annual occasion.

A choral Christmas celebration at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney (Image source).

The four-week period before Christmas is known as Advent, and marks the time when decorations officially go up. In Latin the word ‘Advent’ means ‘coming’, and is used to signify the weeks in which we prepare for the coming of Jesus into the world. On Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, Christians attend Mass. A significant event in their calendar year, Christmas is an excellent opportunity to engage with ethnic audiences that celebrate the season with goodwill messages. While retail itself presents an enormous opportunity to engage with those who celebrate (be it religiously or not) and are out and about looking for gifts, goodwill messages are a sincere way to reach these receptive and engaged audiences.

Christmas for me personally is always a literal slaying of feasts. Being part of an Italian family means seasonal treats like panettone, a sweet fluffy Christmas cake dotted with sultanas and candied fruit, or the more unorthodox but equally delicious versions with fillings from chocolate to limoncello cream, are in abundance. Lunch, dinner, and snacks in between are all enjoyed in the company of family and friends and seem to never end, even after having undone the button on your pants!

Get in touch with MultiConnexions today to create relevant messages that reach multicultural audiences in their relevant festive seasons.

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