Effectively Using 4th of July - Themed Creative


CA’s digital team reviews ads that effectively promote products using the holidays.

Holidays offer grocery stores lucrative opportunities for capitalizing on special promotions. According to a study by the National Retail Federation, Americans spent $7.1 billion on food for cookouts this past 4th of July week—up from $6.8 billion last year. 



Safeway is one of the grocery chains that tapped into the 4th of July spirit (and the associated earning potential) by promoting products most closely tied with the holiday— particularly cookout foods. The Safeway ads were product focused, had a clear call to action, and were very timely. While the ad may not be aesthetically pleasing, it is positioned well for its target audience. 

While I did not survey the entire digital landscape, I did rigorously search for good and bad examples of 4th of July themed-creative this year. 

Clients often ask if they should be doing holiday-themed creative. The answer is yes— but only when the message is directly related to the holiday. What a client shouldn’t do is launch a holiday-themed campaign simply because it's a holiday. Firework-themed ads might get more attention because it’s the 4th of July, but there might not be enough time to test and know for sure. 

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That being said, if you are spending enough money, you can test your ads in a few hours. For example let’s say ad 1 has a true conversion rate of 10% and ad 2 has a true conversion rate of 11%, after 7,500 observations I can say with 95% confidence that the expected performance of ad 2 is better than ad 1.

But, if your measure of success is actually selling something in a store, then there may not enough time to test. This might explain Best Buy’s approach:

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Best Buy appears to have developed a template that they have tested and have found works well. As you can see, they’ve used the same design for both their 4th of July and Memorial Day ads. The creative utilizes the golden ratio, and splits the square with the smaller section highlighting the sale. The larger section is split in half featuring the product and the discount. The discount is displayed in a contrasting color that will stand out on most websites. 

Online furniture retailer Article, on the other hand, went all in for their 4th of July-themed creative—so much so that if you’re not familiar with the brand, at first glance you may not even realize that they sell furniture.

It is possible that this ad performed incredibly well, but I think there are some problems with it. They mention a 4th of July sale, but provide no details on the sale. The call to action does not stand out, and the creative is very different from their previous ads, which have likely gone through rigorous testing. 

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Finally, here’s another good use of holiday-themed creative from Google. It is simple and very relevant. With Google’s attribution tools, they can quickly measure search uplift from users who saw this ad and make realtime decisions on who to show it to next. There is no traditional call to action, but the message is clear: click the search button. 

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This post is the expressed opinion of Cambridge Analytica. The companies mentioned are in no way clients of Cambridge Analytica and all ads are cited purely for instructional purposes.