Marketing Monday: Top 5 Favorite Holiday Commercials

My working title for this post was “Marketing Monday: Selling the Holiday,” but realized that sounded cynical and Krampus-y, which is not what this post is about.

I love the holidays, and I especially love TV during the holidays (it might be more of a winter thing, now that I think about it). The classics, like Rudolph, Charlie Brown, and A Year Without a Santa Claus are on, and even the commercials are better during this magical season. And, just as with the classics on TV, I have a few classic commercials that I look forward to watching over and over each year.

    1. Frankie’s Holiday- Apple. (This one isn’t quite ‘traditional’ yet, because it just came out this year)

Why it works: In my personal opinion, we all have a part of of us that identifies as an outcast. Or, maybe it’s a longing to connect. Either way, this commercial, combined with the sentimental song “There’s no place like home for the holidays,” and a very minimal flash of the Apple logo, is my new holiday favorite. It’s not the “in your face” commercialized ad we expect, nor does it say “hey buy our thing.” It leaves us with “Open your heart to everyone,” and that’s what the holidays are all about, right? (Fun fact: part of my senior thesis at Bates was about Frankenstein, mainly because I’ve always had a soft spot for characters like the monster and the Phantom of the Opera).

2. Polar Bears- Coca Cola

Why it Works: This might be an oddly specific reason for me, but it reaches into childhood memories of sledding, and the special occasions where our parents jumped into the snow with us. And I usually got really thirsty by the end of all that sledding(I mean, it was hours), so a Coke would’ve been welcome.

For the larger public, this commercial celebrates family and spending time with loved ones. In other words, it’s about ‘togetherness.’ And also, sharing a Coke.

3. M&Ms meet Santa- M&M

Why it Works: Again, I must confess to personal bias- M&Ms are my all time favorite candy. That aside, this commercial is actually kind of funny. When it came out, we were used to seeing this pair of M&Ms in a commercial sense. It addresses the tradition of setting out snacks for Santa the night before Christmas. Then, there’s the “He does exist/They do exist” meeting, and everyone passes out. There’s a similar amount of branding to the Coca-Cola commercial, but again, no shoving sales down your throat (although it does make me want to shove some M&Ms down my throat).

4.  Merry Kisses Bells- Hersheys

Why it Works: There’s a reason why simplicity in marketing is recommended. Although I’m sure the animators for this commercial would disagree with “simplicity” here. Again, there’s not an overwhelming amount of branding plus a Christmas-y tune. Around the holidays, my brother and I helped my mom with baking by unwrapping the Hershey’s Kisses to get them ready for cookies. It was a simple, kinda mundane task, but I loved doing it because we had Christmas music playing and were usually giggling the whole time. So, this is yet another win for “Kassie’s sentimental childhood.”

5. Christmas Kittens- Bangor Savings

Why it works: I hadn’t seen this commercial until last week, when Nicole referenced it in our Tech Thursday video (which you can find on our Facebook Page). It’s really just a cat video, but for Christmas. If you have pets, especially cats, they tend to get a little…er, excited about all the shiny presents and MY WORD the tree. (Is it just me or do the cats get progressively feisty as the video goes on?) Apparently, there was a community connection remembering this video years later. To the outsider, it probably doesn’t seem like that thrilling of a commercial. For the people ‘in the know,’ though, it’s a different story.

What do all five of these commercials have in common?

Little to no branding, and a message that’s nostalgic/sentimental. After all, as Dwight Schrute once said, “Nostalgia is truly one of the greatest human weaknesses…second only to the neck.”

Any commercials I missed that should be added to this list?

Halloween and Social Media

Why are demons and ghosts always hanging out? Because demons are a ghoul’s best friend. 

Ghastly puns aside, Halloween might be the best holiday out there. Back in 2009, Americans spent nearly 6 billion dollars on Halloween related activities (costumes, candy, parties), and that number has since increased..  Plus, there’s almost no better holiday for social media sharing than Halloween. Here’s a few reasons why:

It’s not really offensive/religious.

Yes, there are some religious groups that don’t celebrate Halloween, but unlike the Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanza debacle, people don’t get super offended by this holiday. There is not too much in the way of offensiveness that comes of little kids (and adults with kid enthusiasm) dressing up and having fun.  Plus, it’s not a real family or couple-y holiday, it can be enjoyed by everyone from your 5 year old cousin to your 50 year old uncle who lives in your grandmother’s basement. No one has to cook anything and no one has to get stuck next to that Debbie Downer of a relative. It really just boils down to the basics: eat, drink, and be scary.

It’s an excuse for women to dress a little scantily. 

Alright, let’s not beat around the bush here. Our society secretly (and in sometimes not so secretly) likes scantily clad women. And on this one day of the year, every woman can dress a little trashier than she normally would in the name of a costume.


Also dudes can dress like women without anyone batting an eye. I can’t think of better fodder on Instagram. #halloweenrules.

People are expecting, and executing, pranks.

Raise your hand if you’ve seen a pranky Youtube video? When do you think most of those get produced? Likely when there is a higher tolerance for weird things happening than normal (there’s a reason why we say “Trick or treat,” after all).

People have devised shenanigans that go beyond t.p.-ing their teacher’s house. This is a great example of a stunt that went viral last year:

These videos are great material for sharing on Facebook, Twitter, or wherever. If you’re scheming a clever prank of your own, just keep safety in mind.

There are lots of parties.

Nothing says ‘social media’ like throwing a party. Halloween parties are fun for kiddos and adults alike, and offer a chance for creativity to run rampant with games, costumes, decorations, and food/beverage selections. The hype begins with the invites and builds until the actual event. Everyone has a chance to share costume ideas, or keep it top secret until the party and blow everyone else’s mind. I have been invited to three Halloween parties on Facebook… definitely more than the amount of Fourth of July barbecues or New Year’s Eve parties I was invited to this past year.

If you’re planning on throwing a graveyard smash of your own, social media can be a great planning resource, and a way to get the word out to people. There are so many fun games, like Dizzy Mummy, so there’s no reason to make anyone bob for apples.

Costume ideas all over the place.

If you are game to make your own costume, Pinterest and blogs can show you everything from how to execute realistic fairy wings to 100 costume ideas that cost $5 or less. The DIY zombie makeup tutorials are also gruesome, in the best possible way.  For those who leave their costume creation until the last possible minute, there are plenty of 5 minute costume ideas. So, if you’re uninspired or a procrastinator, get on Pinterest, and you’re guaranteed to have a costume plan in no time. Which gives you more time for gathering candy, in the true spirit of the holiday.

Whether you decide to go solo, as a couple, or in a group, social networks can help generate some ideas. And then, there’s the added fun of sharing the finished product on Facebook or Instagram. One piece of advice (that I learned so you don’t have to): if you have to explain your costume, it probably isn’t very good.


We hope everyone has a fun and safe Halloween!

And we hope everyone gets better treats than Charlie Brown.

And we hope everyone gets better treats than Charlie Brown.



Too Cute Tuesday: Candied Pecans

Too Cute Tuesday is a craft, a cocktail, and friends. To learn more check out the Facebook page or check out the cooking related Too Cute Tuesday posts in the archives.

Candied pecans cooling on the sheet, absorbing their own deliciousness.

Candied pecans cooling on the sheet, absorbing their own deliciousness.

Jen and Dorrie taste our wares, and Sparks hopes they'll drop something.

Jen and Dorrie taste our wares, and Sparks hopes they’ll drop something.

Twas the week before Christmas, and everyone was stressed, so we gathered in Dorrie’s kitchen to make a mess.

The sugar was melted on the stove with great care in hope that tasty nuts soon would be there.

Soon all were gathered to sample the treats, so crunchy so tasty, salty yet sweet.

OK, I’ll stop rhyming now. But the nuts were great and something we’ll do again I’m sure.

Sugar (brown or white)
All spice, cloves, and nutmeg
Vanilla extract
Parchment paper
Cookie sheets, wood spoons, and pans

Cocktail of the Night: Modified Black Santa (Creme de cacao, peppermint schnapps, Baileys)

1. Queue up the recipes.

Nut recipe #1: Candied nuts from Cafe Johnsonia

Nut recipe #2: Candied walnuts from Simply Recipes (we used brown sugar instead of white to change it up)

Nut recipe #3: Sugared and Spiced Nuts from (Jen added nutmeg to the mix and *gasp* didn’t measure

Recipes one and two need to have the pecans seperated quickly so have the parchment paper, forks, and helpful friends ready.

Recipes one and two need to have the pecans seperated quickly so have the parchment paper, forks, and helpful friends ready.

2. Cover three cookie sheets with parchment paper.

3. Roast nuts in a 350 degree oven for about five minutes. We used pecans but Dorrie made a batch of almonds after the fact for her dad and they were also great.

4. Prepare coating of your choice. Coat and separate on a cookie sheet. Let dry. Yum.

Of the recipes, #3 had the best coating and overall consistency. Number 1 was clumpy and not so uniform and number two was better if only because we roasted the nuts in the oven precoating (note: this does make a difference).

Anyway, these nuts can almost make a salad tolerable and they make good presents when you put them in little jars. Aren’t you crafty, and festive?

Happy Holidays from the Too Cute Tuesday crew!

Too Cute Tuesday: Paper Mache Ornaments

Too Cute TuesdayEvery Tuesday, we craft, have a cocktail, and enjoy each other’s company at Too Cute Tuesday. To learn more, check us out on Facebook, check out our archives, or start a Too Cute Tuesday chapter in your town.

While I was on my vacation, I got an email from Dorrie about a great Christmas craft for when I got back: paper mache Christmas ornaments.

Sam has some nice paper mache ornaments, though one is in a slightly less than traditional shape for the holidays.

Sam has some nice paper mache ornaments, though one is in a slightly less than traditional shape for the holidays.

I had some fun stories to share from Vegas (not everything stays there!) and while I was gone, apparently some of my Too Cute Tuesday friends won door prizes at our local merchant’s sale. Good luck all around!

These were super easy and fun. The link above will take you to the original craft but we of course modified it. You know, because we can’t follow directions. And you know, not in a bad way…

Flour and water mixture (paper mache mix)
Tissue paper
Embroidery Floss
Glitter, paint, markets, etc. (optional)

Dorrie layers on the magic... but we'll have to let things dry before we pop the balloon.

Dorrie layers on the magic… but we’ll have to let things dry before we pop the balloon.

1. Blow up a balloon in a smallish, roundish shape.

2. Using the paper mache mix, dip newspaper and/or tissue paper and slowly cover the balloon.

3. Tie the floss around the balloon nub (Nicole patented term) and cover that with paper mache.

4. Let your product dry (or expedite the process by using a blowdryer). Add glitter, markers, and other decorations to finish things off.

Once dry, you can pop the balloon and hang in your tree… or pass this off as a Yankee Swap gift or ornament swap, like I will try to do later this week.

Aren’t you crafty? And festive for the holiday season!

Too Cute Tuesday: Christmas Cookies Reprise

Too Cute Tuesday logoToo Cute Tuesday is a weekly event involving a craft, cocktail, and friends. To learn more, check out or check us out on Facebook at

Every year, we make Christmas cookies from Dorrie’s grandma’s recipe for annual sale at Dorrie’s store.

Here is the recipe:

And here are some photos from last night of our annual tradition:

P.S. Notice how there is much less of an emphasis on the cocktail as of late? Turns out Sue is pregnant! Congrats to Sue and Andrew! Back to cocktails next week now that the cat is officially out of the bag. :^)

Too Cute Tuesday: Halloween Costumes

Too Cute Tuesday logoEvery Tuesday, it’s a craft, a cocktail, and friends. To join the fun, check out the Facebook page and the Too Cute Tuesday archives. Feeling a little lazy? Check out the ‘five minute’ crafts here.

Halloween is coming up and it’s time, in the eleventh hour, to plan some last minute costumes. So I invited the Too Cute Tuesday crew for some white wine and some costume planning.

Now traditionally, Halloween costumes are scary but they no longer have to be, at least stateside (the UK, I’ve been told, is still into the more traditional Halloween garb).

You’ll have to wait until Halloween to see actual pictures but I know I am personally relieved to not be running around on Saturday figuring out a costume.

Whatever you need for a costume

Cocktail of the Night: Broadbent Vinho Verde

We drank wine and came up with the following Halloween ideas, many of which you can make for little to no money:

From Jen:
Road- Dress in all black and put a yellow dotted line (like with electrical tape) down the middle of your body. Print out road signs and stick them strategically. Think ‘Curves Ahead’, ‘Do Not Enter’, etc.

From Christie:
Cave woman: Using various animal print fabrics, sew together a tattered dress. Tease out your hair, carry a club and do a little brown makeup (dirt-like) streaking, if so moved.

From Nicole:
Geisha: With silk bathrobe, powder face white and put hair in bun on top of head. Add sandals and clever makeup, if desired.

French Maid:
With short black dress, add white apron. Add small hat (Christie apparently makes a good one), white tutu, fishnets, heels and feather duster. French accent optional.

Looking for more ideas? Readymade has some good costume ideas you can make. Like ‘cereal killer’ and ‘American tourist’!

Aren’t you crafty, and excited for upcoming holidays?

1 2 3