Christmas content marketing fail

Christmas – the biggest commercial event of the year – is well and truly underway. But with the number of visitors to UK shops falling by 9 per cent last year and online booming, there should be plenty of content to push people into the sales funnel.

With this in mind we had a quick look at what Outbrain had to offer. Purely at random, we picked an article on poor working conditions at a JD Sports warehouse. Not very Christmassy, but in our experience it wouldn’t make any difference to the Outbrain content if it was an opt-in by Santa Claus himself.

To be more specific, there should be tons of retailers firing off articles with present ideas for kids that link back to products. Or what about affiliate sites doing the same thing and kicking back links to Amazon?

There was nothing, unless you’re planning to put through a PPI claim as a gift.

Good old Tesco

After half a dozen refreshes, the only article with a Christmas message was thrown up by Tesco. Titled How to make your home smell like Christmas, it is a proper piece of content marketing.

It includes tips such as creating your own pot-pourri (orange and cinnamon) and making your own reed diffuser. There were no links in the copy to Tesco products. Tesco Living is a good example of a brand creating its own content for its target market.

And the other notable example

Christmas is also the time when people look to book summer holidays. In keeping with this theme, there was an interesting article from AirFrance titled Men prefer curvy women!

Granted, it is always good to stimulate curiosity when dreaming up headlines. And you are surely curious how AirFrance has managed to tie this piece of offensive-sounding clickbait to a trip to the city of romance.

It turns out the full title is ‘Men prefer curvy women! Back in Paris… sweets from summer trips’. The actual copy is predominantly about cakes and how nice they are in France. It contains plenty of calories but no reference to men.

Call me old-fashioned, but a headline should at least contain some reference to the thrust of the article.


And that was it. Depressingly, Outbrain was mainly PPI and laser-surgery companies. The only other standout Christmas-ish content was a Cartier link that led back to a product page.

At a time when online marketing is literally being thrown out from Santa’s sled, it’s almost nice to see an opportunity being missed.

Now, time to create that affiliate site ’10 last-minute presents for your wife’. I wonder if Cartier has a programme…

Christmas content marketing fail is part of Content24, the blog for London content marketing agency FirstWord.