With Easter just around the corner, companies in every industry are trying to work out a way to capitalise on the holiday. We’ve seen tenuously linked Easter-themed marketing campaigns promote just about everything.
Some of these campaigns have been produced (and received) more successfully than others. But some of the most popular campaigns have come from companies with no ties to the Easter holiday at all. When brands understand their target audiences and take the right risks, their campaigns are proven to drive up engagement rates.
Branding and marketing experts Solopress have compiled a list of some of their favourites, considered why they have been so well-received, and discussed what the budding marketing campaigner can learn from them.
Durex Easter X (2015)
Condom, lubricant and sex toy manufacture Durex spoke candidly in a TV ad about their struggle to relate their brand to Easter. But stepping up to the challenge, they released Durex Easter X – an ‘adult-sized’ chocolate Easter egg containing a selection of ‘very adult toys.’
The campaign was released in New Zealand in 2015. Their frank, open approach and final words – ‘even on the unsexiest holiday of the year’ – was on-brand, and resonated with viewers.
‘An orgasm wrapped in chocolate was exceptionally appealing to lovers everywhere,’ the Easter X ad notes. The risqué, innuendo-laden advert was more than enough to get people talking.
The limited-edition eggs could only be procured via Durex’s social media channels, and the company saw a significant rise in engagement far exceeding industry standards, jumping from under 1% to over 10% (according to the brand’s own case study).
By using their existing channels only to facilitate the purchase of the Easter X eggs, Durex were able to become the most socially-engaged brand in New Zealand, during a time when there was little relation between the brand and current events.
They used the right channels to push this campaign, from their use of influencer marketing to promote the racy campaign to their use of owned media channels to direct traffic to purchase.
Walkers Sensations Egg (2020)
In a campaign aimed at savoury fans, the crisp connoisseurs at Walkers presented their Sensations themed ‘egg’.
Appearing on supermarket shelves in a box shaped and styled like the packaging of an Easter egg, the box contained much more: a bag of Thai Sweet Chilli Walkers Sensations, a snack bowl, a full-size bottle of organic wine (paired perfectly for flavour of course), two glasses to enjoy your tipple with, and, just because, £5 credit for Amazon Prime Video.
“We know there’s a growing demand for savoury over sweet at Easter because 37% of the public think savoury snacks are available in more exciting flavours,” commented Ali Kirk, a spokesperson for Walkers Sensations. “18% say they think chocolate Easter eggs are for kids. So there’s never been a better time for our savoury Easter treat to go on sale.”
Appearing in a tasteful, premium black packaging, the Walkers Sensations ‘egg’ provided a more adult alternative to the standard Easter egg. (Although perhaps not as adult as Durex’s…)
Choosing Sensations, their premium line of crisps, enabled Walkers to aim their product offering at a more discerning adult market. The price point of the Sensations egg – £19.99 – similarly reflected their target audience.
Walkers’ intimate knowledge of what their target audience wanted was the key to success for this campaign. The product and marketing perfectly fit those criteria, and their product was well-received by savoury fans.
Carlsberg Chocolate Bar (2016)
Using their ubiquitous slogan – ‘If Carlsberg did…’ – the beer company created a witty, tongue-in-cheek campaign: ‘If Carlsberg did Chocolate Bars’.
Capitalising on the increased demand for chocolate at Easter, they created a real-life pop-up bar made entirely out of chocolate at the Truman Brewery in Shoreditch.
Kitted out with a handcrafted dartboard, ornate chocolatey picture frames and even edible beer mats, the fully-functioning pub invited members of the public to enjoy a free half-pint in a custom-made engraved Carlsberg glass (made of chocolate of course).
The Chocolate Bar campaign fit perfectly alongside Carlsberg’s other marketing campaigns, following their ‘Probably the best poster in the world’ that dispensed free beer.
Their first foray into Easter marketing needed to make a statement considering the very tenuous link between Carlsberg and Easter, and they got it spot on.
Dharmesh Rana, Carlsberg’s senior brand manager, put it simply: ‘we know the British public love beer and chocolate, so we’re delighted to bring them together to create probably the best bar there could be.’
Marmite Yeaster Egg (2019)
‘Love it / hate it – you just have to try it!’ declares the packaging of the aptly named ‘Yeaster Egg.’ Marmite’s marketing over the years has been key to its popularity. Its iconic ‘love it or hate it’ slogan has become universal, whilst the name Marmite has become a synonym for anything divisive.
Marmite has been paired with any number of products over the years, from peanut butter to Walkers’ crisps, to Brussels sprouts. However, it remains a somewhat rogue accompaniment for chocolate.
The Marmite marketing team, however, no doubt knows this. Even if the flavour is universally hated, the Marmite Easter egg is a guaranteed conversation starter and a great potential gift for the Marmite lover.
With the ‘Yeaster Egg’ campaign, Marmite were able to build upon years of strong messaging and inspired marketing strategies. Had they not spent years cultivating the ‘love it or hate it’ strapline, this campaign is a non-starter. But by being consistent with their marketing, they were able to take more risks further down the line, and reap the rewards.
Cadbury’s Creme Eggs – How do you NOT eat yours? (2022)
And finally, even the egg that is unmissable during the Easter holiday is rebelling against its traditional form.
Harking back to their iconic 1980s campaign ‘How do you eat yours?’, Cadbury’s 2022 campaign ‘How do you NOT eat yours?’ paired a hearty helping of nostalgia with a nationwide giveaway to capture the imagination of the public.
146 limited edition Crème Eggs, made of half white chocolate and half milk chocolate, were circulated around the UK, inconspicuously clad in the same wrapper as normal Crème Eggs.
Each of the limited edition eggs were worth between £50 and £10,000, under one condition – that their lucky finder could prevent the temptation of eating it.
Accompanying digital and TV ad campaigns stressed just how hard it would be to not eat the delicious-looking eggs, and comedian Matt Lucas was recruited for a series of public service announcement-style radio ads urging winners not to eat their milk-and-white eggs.
Cadbury Brand Manager Lyndsey Homer commented: ‘We wanted to create a campaign that both honoured the special heritage of the brand whilst injecting some new energy into it.’
Cadbury capitalised on the fact that nostalgia sells, while also engaging with a younger audience with the promise of prize money.
The campaign also went viral on social media because of the unfortunate but comedic story of a young overseas student claiming he accidently ate one of the eggs potentially worth £10,000 because he wasn’t aware of the ad campaign – an expensive mistake indeed.
These results prove that if you know your audience, and develop your Easter marketing campaign to accommodate their wants and needs, you can put together a successful Easter-themed marketing strategy, despite how unrelated to Easter your products may be.