Brands will reinvent their holiday campaigns this season, shooting mobile-first vertical video or transforming TV creative to feel more native on social platforms.

Sarah Maloy, director of content marketing, Adaptly

Sarah Maloy, director of content marketing, Adaptly

From August to November, advertisers in every industry ramp up for the holidays, preparing to reach shoppers and spenders in what is predicted this year to be a $1.3 trillion retail season. On top of retail there are holiday opportunities for entertainment, travel, automotive, even food and beverage brands, and it all starts with their advertising creative.

Here are 3 of the top holiday creative trends of 2017 that marketers can add to their ad arsenals.

1. Making New Traditions

Millennial audiences—which account for 34% of holiday shoppersare now in their 20s and mid to late-30s. Although we often hear how Millennials are taking longer to have kids, nearly half of the generation has at least one child and millennial parents account for 82% of births each year. As young parents start their own families, they’re looking for ways to reinvent the holiday season, connecting the traditions they grew up with and celebrations that are unique to their new family unit.

Try non-traditional color palettes to help your marketing creative stand out this season.

Brands will provide value to this audience by helping them make new traditions, relating relevant products to family experiences. A food brand can share the season’s top recipe and encourage families to bake together on the Winter Solstice. Your e-commerce brand might offer DIY guides for seasonal crafts and games, bringing families closer and associating your brand with holiday collaboration. Or if you’re an entertainment brand, you can showcase the joy that comes with annual Thanksgiving Day movies, family binge-watching, or a local winter attraction.

Ideas for new holiday experiences are invaluable to the millennial audience, and they’ll appreciate the brands that help shape their family traditions.

2. Redefining ‘Christmas Colors’

Red and green will always dominate the holiday season, but Adaptly reviewed social media photos and holiday campaigns to identify new and emerging palettes that are bringing a modern touch to holiday advertising this year. In the past, brands have branched out while keeping it safe with gold, white, and blue. This year we expect to see colors like lavender, dusky orange, and even bright pink find their way into holiday campaigns.

Try these 3 non-traditional palettes to help your marketing creative stand out this season:

holiday color palette 1

This palette maintains the warm / cool balance present in the traditional red and green holiday color scheme, trading bright red for two magenta hues and opting for pale sage green, green-gray, and a navy shade in place of forest green. Use this color scheme if your brand is playful and modern, or if you’re trying to reach young families who celebrate in unique, non-traditional ways.

holiday color palette 2

Here we pair bright, energetic greens with cream and gray hues—reminiscent of clouded, snowy landscapes—with a hint of purple to draw the eye. This palette is best for brands that want to help their audiences feel calm and relaxed this holiday season. Trade your traditional tranquil blues for a color scheme that offers a bit more cozy, holiday feel.

holiday color palette 3

Embrace the rustic familiarity of winter with these neutral hues, all of which can be found in nature. This color scheme will evoke feelings of home and family, reminding audiences about what really matters this holiday. Use this palette to connect with customers who will be traveling to see family this holiday and with older generations looking to feel nostalgic.

3. Embracing Vertical Video

It’s no surprise that mobile-optimized vertical video continues to grow in popularity and adoption, emerging as a top creative trend this holiday season. Early research shows that vertical video provides a 3x return for advertisers over horizontal video, making it a key format for marketers all year round. Brands will reinvent their holiday campaigns this season, shooting mobile-first vertical video or transforming TV creative to feel more native on social platforms.


Less than 30% of people turn their phone to view horizontal video ads, and when they do, they only watch 14% of the ad. Give your creative its best chance to succeed this holiday season with vertical video and formats that are optimized with mobile in mind. Vertical video opens up a whole new range of possibilities, giving your team new real estate to play with and the opportunity to be clever and creative with your marketing. There’s no better time to start testing than with your upcoming holiday campaigns.

Adaptly is a social media marketing agency.