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When did the first Christmas email of the year drop into your inbox?

Along with the first frost, the first woolly hat, and the first mince pie tentatively proffered by a colleague, it hits on a different day for different people. We can, however, safely predict that at least one of these things has already happened to you this year.

As a marketer, it can be hard to decide when the time is ripe to pitch that first festive mailing. Do you stand out from your competitors and get in first, incurring rolled eyebrows and impatient tuts from the Scrooges among your subscribers?¬† Or do you wait until your customers are all safely into the holiday spirit, and risk your campaign scrabbling for attention in an inbox that’s more overcrowded than the free bar at your office party? As usual in these situations, getting to know your customer base and implementing a regular testing strategy will go a long way.

This is the perfect season to unleash your creativity, too, and as 2017’s holiday email output begins to gain momentum we’ll be posting weekly updates each featuring our two favorite picks from the inbox.

To kick things off we have two large retailers, each demonstrating a very different approach:


John Lewis: Moz the Monster

The British retailer’s hotly-anticipated Christmas ad campaign launched this week with the usual excitement, and as with previous years John Lewis were keen to ensure that the hero character (this time a lovable monster called Moz) enjoyed a presence across all their content channels. The simple subject line – “Our Christmas advert in here” – tells subscribers all they need to know, and incorporating a GIF with overlaid play button acts as a good CTA for readers to click through to the ad’s landing page. Until embedded video is available across all major email clients, this is the slickest way to do it.

Paperchase: glittery dinosaur, anyone?


Paperchase isn’t known for its subtlety, and that’s why I love it. This campaign’s cheeky copy, bold colors, and – um – vibrant¬†choice of email design might have some reaching for their sunglasses, but Paperchase’s target audience of kitsch-loving millennials will be expecting nothing less from their favorite stationery store. A strong emphasis on price (the “3 for 2” sale bauble is the only real constant as you scroll through) underlines this, as does the subject line: “Dinosaurs, Unicorns & Aubergines… Obvs”.

The downside to Paperchase’s effusive emails is that they’re often a touch lengthy. This is an unusually short example, and yet I still needed to scroll to the very bottom to check out the brand’s celebrated tree decorations, and realize that want I really want for Christmas is a glittery aubergine (that’s an eggplant, in case you were wondering).

Whether your brand’s email output leans more towards John Lewis chic or Paperchase cheer, we look forward to sharing more of our favorites with you next week!