Near the end of every year, brands around the world team up with creators, publishers, and other like-minded companies to create sponsored campaigns full of holiday spirit and inspiration. Like most Christmas-themed content, these videos boast delicious recipes for entertaining guests, must-have products for the coming year, and promotions for anticipated Yuletide TV shows and movies. But which campaigns managed to come out on top in this 2018 holiday season?
That’s what we’ll explore in this article! When we searched for the top sponsored holiday campaigns of the last 90 days, we discovered not only an interesting mix of content formats, but also a variety of platforms which hosted these videos. Grab some eggnog (or your favorite holiday drink of choice), and let’s dive in!
Creators Lead Holiday Campaigns and Engagement
This year, branded content clearly won the most-watched holiday campaigns, backed by the charisma and passion of select creators. Six of the top ten most-viewed sponsored holiday campaigns of the last 90 days were videos released by creators in conjunction with a brand!
The clip with the highest view count is from world-famous football player Cristiano Ronaldo in partnership with his fragrance company and highlights the release of the new scent CR7. With about 6.5 million total views, this video was uploaded to Instagram. Also hailing from Instagram was the fourth most-watched video from actress and dancer Mackenzie Ziegler; the clip pulled in 3.1 million views and posited the star’s TurnBoard device (which helps dancers analyze their turns and form) as a great Christmas gift for her fans.
Three more creators in the top ten released their content on YouTube. FV Family boasted the second most-watched sponsored content this holiday season, with a nearly 5 million views-strong video showcasing Walmart’s online interactive Christmas wishlist dubbed the Toy Lab. This FV Family partnership was Walmart’s standout success amongst the 5 sponsored campaigns it hosted so far in the last few months! Ryan’s Family Review — from the creators behind the popular toy channel Ryan ToysReview — saw 2.1 million views on its Republic Wireless-sponsored video of a giant Christmas maze littered with hidden presents. Finally, we saw beloved channel The Film Theorists place #9 with 2 million views for its analysis of How the Grinch Stole Christmas sponsored by Dolby.
The final creator to make it into the top ten for sponsored holiday campaigns was French creator Cyprien. His Facebook video where he recreated old Christmas photos of himself was sponsored by Bouygues Telecom and generated 1.9 million views. And speaking of French creators, when we ranked this year’s sponsored campaigns in terms of average 3-day engagement rates (ER3), French creators dominated almost every single spot in the top 20 with nearly unheard-of engagement rates of 10x+! A 28-days of Christmas unboxing series from French lifestyle and family channels Père pas parfait et alors? and Mère pas parfaite et alors? fared particularly well, claiming 17 of the top 20 most-engaged campaigns. Even if these videos had paid pushes behind them, it seems the people of France are very excited about Christmas this year!
Noteworthy Brands Made a Sponsored Splash
The remaining four spots in the top ten most-watched sponsored holiday campaigns of the last 90 days went to brands. First off, we had Tasty, BuzzFeed’s ever-popular food vertical which routinely makes an appearance on our monthly leaderboards. For this holiday season, Tasty boasted two sponsored Facebook videos in the top ten at #3 and #6, both in partnership with Dr. Oetker Baking. The first pulled in 3.3 million views and taught viewers how to make pull-apart reindeer cupcakes. The second saw 2.4 million views and presented a drool-worthy salted caramel truffle tree recipe.
Next up was NBC with a Facebook promotion for its John Legend-hosted holiday special A Legendary Christmas created in conjunction with Google Duo’s video chat software. The 2.7-million-views-strong clip gave NBC the fifth most-watched video of this year’s sponsored holiday campaigns. And last but certainly not least was Jungle Creation’s food channel Twisted at #7 with 2.3 million views on its delicious-looking Christmas Yule log made with Baileys (that is, both the treat and the video were made with Baileys!).
To summarize, this year’s top sponsored holiday campaigns were dominated by individual creators and their winning partnerships with brands. French creators pulled in the most engagements in a three-day timeframe, while Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube all boasted some of the most-watched campaigns of the last 90 days. Brands who landed in the top ten appealed to viewers’ taste buds, as well as their interest in traditional celebrities and holiday specials. As the new year approaches, we’ll have to see if any other notable sponsored campaigns come to the front of the pack!