Digital Activation Gallery: Holiday

Major retailers’ brick-and-mortar stores were decked out with holiday P-O-P materials as usual in 2019 (and Path to Purchase Institute members can visit to see much of that activity), but our editors decided to showcase digital activation in this month’s Activation Gallery. There was a good deal of brand activity on retailer websites (some retailers more than others), and some but not all of it driven by the retailers themselves.

  • Kraft Heinz’s Maxwell House coffee, Kraft shredded cheese and Philadelphia cream cheese received the spotlight on the ShopRite home page last month with a holiday-themed display ad that employed an “Oh, what fun it is to shop!” message. The ad directed users to the store locator page.
  • Nestle elevated its S. Pellegrino and Perrier brands on Walmart’s website with a seasonal showcase inviting visitors to “make the holidays sparkle.” The destination spotlighted a wide variety of the brands’ beverage SKUs and touted Walmart’s free grocery pickup service. Home page carousel and display ads linked to the showcase.


  • Best Buy and Apple teamed for an “Apple Shopping Event” in December as the electronics retailer offered a slew of deals on products as well as free next-day delivery on orders over $35 – and no purchase minimum for My Best Buy Elite and Elite Plus members. A dedicated “Apple Shopping Event” page plugged Apple products and deals, and display ads spotted on other sites including also plugged the event alongside a holiday-themed video featuring a Best Buy blue shirt.
  • Kraft Heinz’s Planters created a showcase on Walmart’s website that offered three holiday recipes created by celebrity chef Richard Blais to help Walmart shoppers “Crack the Holidays.” The videos showed Blais pulling up to a Walmart store in the Planters “nutmobile” and walking down the aisle to grab Planters cashews and pecans, as well as other ingredients including multiple private-label items. In Action Alley, a custom pallet display stocking mixed nuts depicted a QR code linking to the showcase. A home-page carousel ad and social media activity supported.
  • Coca-Cola Co. was able to “bring the magic” at Sam’s Club by running a number of holiday-themed email ads, display ads and a home page carousel ad. The ads directed shoppers to a seasonal brand showcase spotlighting brands such as Coca-Cola’s flagship, Sprite and Gold Peak as well as providing recipe ideas that could be paired with a beverage from the manufacturer. Additionally, a “Shop Now” leaderboard ad invited shoppers to “make spirits bright with classic Coca-Cola beverages” and directed users to a “Celebrate with Coke” e-commerce page corralling a slew of SKUs from the manufacturer.
  • Walmart brought back its digital Toy Lab for the second straight holiday season in partnership with interactive entertainment company Eko. Kids used a “Funtroller” (colorful, virtual buttons displayed on the screen) to test, look at, or play with items from a selection of toys from brands including Spin Master’s Paw Patrol and Mattel’s Fisher-Price. After testing, they could add toys to their digital wish list and share with their parents. The Toy Lab this year was part of a BuzzFeed-produced “Kid HQ” that also offered a “Dream Floor” experience from Mattel’s Barbie as well as a “Meet Santa” experience, with additional brand partners to come. Overt reminders that “This is advertising” permeate the experience.
  • Regional grocer H-E-B tapped Pinterest’s insights and new tool, Pinterest Trends, this year to showcase festive recipes and dishes inspired by the top food trends of 2019 on its website. A display ad on’s home page invited users to “get inspired” and linked to a dedicated page listing four ideas, including “winter salads,” “Christmas brunch” and “Instant Pot cider” – all of which offer multiple recipes for each category as well as lead to e-commerce pages for necessary products available in stores or online.
  • A display ad within Target’s website encouraged users to start the year off with a new toothbrush. Employing a “New year. New Brush” message, the ad directed users to an e-commerce page for Colgate-Palmolive’s Colgate within