5 of the Best Easter Campaigns & How You Can Learn From Them

Chocolate Easter Eggs

With Easter just around the corner, we’re sure to be bombarded from all angles with Easter-themed ad campaigns. With companies in every industry trying to work out a way to capitalise on the holiday, we’ve seen Easter-themed marketing campaigns promoting just about everything.

Obviously, some of these campaigns have been produced (and received) more successfully than others. But some campaigns – from both companies with and without ties to the Easter holiday – have been wildly successful. 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.

 

Key Findings:

  • Many of the most popular Easter campaigns came from companies whose product offering had little relevance to Easter.

  • Controversial campaigns – such as a Marmite-flavoured Easter egg or a Durex-branded egg that contained sex toys – performed well.

  • Durex’s Easter X campaign saw them become the most socially-engaged brand in New Zealand at the time. 

  • Their engagement rate jumped from below 1% to over 10% as a result of their campaign.

  • Walkers’ audience research allowed them to identify a gap in the market for a savoury alternative to an Easter egg. They found:
    • 18% of the public feel that Easter eggs are just for kids.
    • 37% of the public believe that savoury snacks are available in more exciting flavours than sweet snacks such as Easter eggs.

 

1. Carlsberg Chocolate Bar (2016) 

We’ve all heard Carlsberg’s ubiquitous slogan by now – ‘If Carlsberg did…’ Witty and tongue-in-cheek, Carlsberg’s memorable Chocolate Bar campaign was another inspired moment from their marketing team. 

Capitalising on the increased demand for chocolate at Easter, the beer giants 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). 

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.’ 

Why did it work so well?
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. Glen Eckett, Head of Marketing at Solopress, commented: ‘Carlsberg continued to build brand loyalty with this campaign, and their relatable, funny campaigns show a great understanding of their target audience’s sense of humour, wants and needs.’ 

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. 

What can I learn?
Carlsberg’s Chocolate Bar was placed firmly in the public eye and helped continue the positive relationship that the beer company has with its audience. With this campaign, Carlsberg found an on-brand way to capitalise on a current event – and the Chocolate Bar was so distinctly Carlsberg.

 

2. Cadbury’s Creme Eggs – How do you NOT eat yours? (2022)

Few things fit together better than Crème eggs and Easter. Like crackers at Christmas, pumpkins on Halloween and Ant and Dec anytime, they go hand in hand. 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 put into circulation 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 ad campaigns stressed just how hard it would be to not eat the delicious-looking eggs, as desperate spouses try to prevent hungry husbands from satisfying their cravings. 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. 

Why did it work so well? 

The marketing gurus at Cadbury must have a hard time keeping their Easter campaigns fresh, but this campaign was brilliant! Leaning on the nostalgia of grown-up Cadbury enthusiasts, ‘How do you NOT eat yours?’ paid homage to one of the most iconic chocolate advertising campaigns ever whilst keeping their messaging fresh.

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.’

What can I learn? 

Nostalgia sells – as the seemingly never-ending list of movie reboots seems to show. With this campaign, Cadbury’s reminded their audience of an iconic campaign and excited younger audience members with the offer of prize money (and rare chocolate!)

 

3. Durex Easter X (2015)

It can be difficult to capitalise on the Easter holidays when your company’s offering has nothing to do with the ascension of Jesus, chocolate eggs or Sunday roasts. So, it was a surprise when condom, lubricant and sex toy manufacturer Durex launched their Easter campaign in New Zealand in 2015. 

They released Durex Easter X – an ‘adult-sized’ chocolate Easter egg containing a selection of ‘very adult toys.’ The limited-edition eggs could only be procured via Durex’s social media channels, and the company saw a significant rise in engagement whilst this campaign was active. Social engagement rates far exceeded industry standards, jumping from under 1% to over 10%. 

A TV ad for Easter X spoke candidly about Durex’s struggle to relate their offering to Easter, starting with ‘Birthday sex, Valentine’s Day Romance, New Year’s Eve… Durex has them all covered. But how could we give couples something to look forward to this Easter holiday?’ Their frank, open approach and final words – ‘even on the unsexiest holiday of the year’ – was on-brand, and must have resonated with viewers. 

Why did it work so well?

As the Easter X ad notes, ‘an orgasm wrapped in chocolate was exceptionally appealing to lovers everywhere,’ and the risqué, innuendo-laden advert was more than enough to get people talking. 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 Durex brand and current events.

Solopress Head of Marketing Glen Eckett commented: ‘This is a perfect example of Durex turning a disadvantage into an advantage with some clever marketing. They took the fact that there was little-to-no link between Easter and sex, and using that to their advantage, were able to carve out an incredibly successful campaign.’

What can I learn? 

Durex created their own opportunity to link sex and Easter when it looked like there was none, and did so tastefully – so be creative! They also 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.

 

4. 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. The comedic element of Marmite marketing is another integral part of the company’s success, so the triumph of the Marmite Yeaster Egg is no surprise. 

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 know 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. 

Why did it work so well? 

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. 

However, with years of marketing stressing the controversial nature of the Marmite flavour, combining its rich umami flavours with Easter chocolate actually makes sense! Though Marmite naysayers will turn their nose up at the Yeaster Egg, self-proclaimed Marmite lovers are likely to give it a go – or at least receive it as a gift! 

What can I learn?

The team at Marmite spent years creating a strong identity through their marketing, and stressing the controversy that their product’s trademark flavour can create. With this campaign, they reaped the rewards. Be consistent with your marketing, and you can take more risks further down the line.

 

5. Walkers Sensations Egg (2020)

In another marketing 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 Sensations egg box contained much more. 

The Walkers Sensations Easter box contained 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. Now, whilst the Easter egg purists would have been disappointed, the Sensations box added a new dimension to the Easter food festivities and went down a storm. 

Appearing in a tasteful, premium black packaging, the Walkers Sensations ‘egg’ provided a more adult alternative to the standard Easter egg. Walkers made the most of the alternative Easter egg trend, which was just kicking into gear in 2020. 

Why did it work so well?

The fact that Walkers chose Sensations, their premium line of crisps, was key to the success of their Easter marketing campaign. By doing so, they were able to better position their product offering to be aimed at a more discerning adult market. The price point of the Sensations egg – £19.99 – similarly reflected their target audience. 

Ali Kirk, a spokesperson for Walkers Sensations, commented: ‘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.’ Kirk continued: ‘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.’ 

What can I learn?

The key to Walkers’ success here was their intimate knowledge of what their target audience wanted. The product and marketing that they provided perfectly fit those criteria, and their product was well-received by savoury fans. 

 

So, there you have five of the Solopress team’s favourite Easter marketing campaigns. The success of these campaigns across various industries, regardless of whether their parent business has any ties to Easter, shows that there’s always scope for a themed Easter campaign. 

As long as you know your audience, and develop your Easter marketing campaign to accommodate their wants and needs, there’s the possibility that you’ll be able to put together a successful Easter-themed marketing strategy. What are you waiting for?

Akeela Zahair
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