Advertisement Disruptions | How the Presidential Election Stole Christmas

Out with the Halloween costumes in with the Holiday decorations, right? The most wonderful time of the year is at our fingertips, but this year we have a few hurdles to jump before we start seeing garland wrapped pillars and sparkling lights throughout town. The presidential campaign and upcoming election has caused several companies to pump the brakes on their holiday joy. Typically, on November 1st we start to notice stores filling up with wrapping paper, Christmas trees, and ornaments. But 2016 said “not so fast”…


Starbucks aficionados around the nation woke up last Tuesday excited for the classic, cheerful and bright red Holiday cups to be in their hands at last. They were wrong. In the past, Starbucks would release their holiday cups the first week of November. However, this year there is an “in between” cup before coffee lovers can get their hands the signature piece of the holiday season. Instead of the jolly red holiday cups, Starbucks regulars had a few more characters joining them for morning coffee.


The new design hit stores November 1st and was originally drawn on canvas using one single line, forming a variety of different characters symbolizing unity throughout our communities. These cups made their debut a week before the presidential election. Coincidence? Last year their holiday cups received a lot of buzz and this year it has been no different. Save the date, November 11th Starbucks will be officially releasing their 2016 holiday cups for all to enjoy.




Switching gears, the retail environment isn’t much different from Starbucks. The earlier they can decorate for Christmas, the better. However, the upscale department store Nordstrom has continuously stayed true to their morals and keeps their Christmas decorations under wraps until after Thanksgiving. Earlier this week they released their lasted campaign “love, Nordstrom” which has been described by the retailer as “a series of larger-than-life love notes”. By putting the spotlight on 30 of their customers from around the United States, they have created a strong message that helps build an honest and trustworthy relationship between their company and the customers.




These two “feel-good” ad campaigns hit media in hopes to weed through the massive amount of political advertising. In such an acrimonious advertising environment, it’s refreshing to stumble upon campaigns that make you smile.


On the other hand, retailers including Target and Walmart have already seen this election impact their numbers. Over the past year of non-stop media coverage of the very strong candidates, consumers have proven that they are distracted. As of November first, Christmas shopping has not been the first thing on their mind. Where are you Christmas, why can’t we find you?




The well-known discount retailer Target has delayed their Christmas advertisements this year due to the election. It seems like every commercial break is accompanied by the two candidates. Target decided to change its regular marketing mix to adjust to the conversations happening throughout the political and corporate world. Rick Gomez, the Senior Vice President of Target stated “We don’t want to come across as tone deaf to the conversations going on during [the election] so we’re being very throughout [and] very smart about which media channels we’re going to be in, in particular in the beginning of November”.


The political world has taken a toll on all industries. From the consumer point of view, one may feel smothered by politics. Starbucks, Nordstrom and Target are three companies who are adjusting to the campaign and using it to their own advantage. Each of the three companies have created their own distractions and are eager to get in the holiday spirit. Although these first weeks of November have been unexpected, we can expect the holiday cheer to hurdle itself over the bumps, taking full speed ahead. Commence Christmas lights, Peppermint Mocha lattes (in the red cups), and holiday ads. Tis’ the season!


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