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Christmas is the brand that every marketer covets. Its traditional color palette of red and green, images such as fir trees and burning logs, Grimm & Andersen’s heartwarming tales, fueled by anticipation, excitement, satisfaction and hope never seem to grow old.

Christmas  branding is  multi-sensory – whether  it’s the sight of street illuminations, the smell of a wood burning fireplace and pine trees, the taste of baked goods fresh from the oven and the touch of soft comforting fabrics such as down blankets and cashmere sweaters.

And how about the
hearing sense?

Christmas  music, whether you like it or not, raises expectations to astonishing levels because “everybody wants love and everybody wants peace”(1).

It’s as simple as that.

Recently, a friend of mine told me that they have a family tradition: every year on Thanksgiving Day at 4:00pm, they play their favorite Christmas playlist. In a fraction of a second, as soon as the first musical notes of traditional carols begin to play, the entire family is filled with joy and excitement.

The power of Christmas music is undeniable and the sonic identity that comes with it is part of its enduring marketing success.

Century after century, the music repertoire of Christmas has grown and expanded to include new contemporary songs. Today, Christmas playlists offer an immense variety of tunes and carols that trigger the best of the holiday spirit—feelings of connection, love, friendship, and charity.

The sonic identity of Christmas is so strong that the first chords of a song are  instantly recognized. So is the ringing of sleigh bells, Santa’s iconic hearty ho ho ho chuckling, are deeply rooted in our subconscious and make for the holidays experience.

Close your eyes and listen:

(Click the audio player below to)

Without any visual support, your brain instantly associates these distinctive sounds with a time where you start thinking of your family and gifts you will purchase to the ones you love and cherish.

Locally and globally,  our consumer societies understand and respond to the power  of Christmas music on the radio, on our TVs, and in stores—earlier and earlier in the Fall season. We hear Christmas music performed in churches, shopping malls, on city streets and at concerts. You can’t escape hearing these joyful melodies, crooners and choirs, as you approach the end of the year.

Transmitted aurally though centuries, enriched with new musical adaptations, it is consistently diffused throughout sonic touch points across all communication outlets.

Its universal associations with joy, compassion, authenticity, and friendliness engage all of us through an emotional transaction that moves us and influences how we feel about making purchases during this powerful gift-giving season.

Marketers use it shamelessly. They know how this iconic music gets under a customer’s skin and how it amplifies a brand’s products with good cheer in the hopes that you, the consumer, will spend some serious money as a result.

So, it’s fair to say that Christmas has -by far- the strongest sonic identity compared to any other sonic identity in the world.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Olivier Jamin Changeart

Olivier Jamin Changeart

Founder & President, OJC, Artisan of Sound