Our experts weigh in on the purpose of holiday mascots—and the little blue reindeer making big waves.
For brands big and small, the holidays are a busy time full of opportunity to hit sales goals and win the hearts of new customers. We often see brands take a holiday approach where ads become more about selling a feeling (joy, hope, gratitude) than their actual product—with brand-building and boosted sales to follow.
And while introducing a mascot isn’t always the right solution for every brand (read our post here to learn why), leaning into storytelling with a beloved holiday mascot is a strategy that has served some major brands well in years past. From Budweiser’s Clydesdales to Coca-Cola’s classic polar bears, there are some seasonal characters that just make us feel nostalgic and cozy inside (even Rudolph has a retail origin story). The ads they’re featured in are heartwarming and full of holiday spirit—in those moments, we may not be thinking about cracking open a cold Budweiser or Coke, but we are growing more loyal to the brands for their sentimentality and virtue.
This year, Macy’s introduced the world to a new holiday face: Tiptoe the blue reindeer. In a series of digital spots and cinema teasers, Tiptoe’s story of overcoming her fears to save Christmas comes to life in a way that feels both classic and fresh (watch her story here). Our team is sharing their thoughts on the unique power of holiday mascots to inspire…and how Tiptoe may be doing just that.
Ever the optimist, I’m always looking for the silver lining. And I’ve found myself doing it less and less over the last couple years. This installment of Macy’s long running “Believe” campaign reminds us that there is always hope in a time when our collective idealism is being put to the test. Which puts Tiptoe at the top of the list of my favorite holiday mascots.
Nate Fleming, Strategy
With all the uncertainty of this past year, It is so refreshing to hear a cheerful, motivational story like Tiptoe’s! I think Macy’s made an excellent decision in launching a brand mascot that is both cute and inspiring, going along with their “Believe” slogan. Any viewer of this Macy’s ad can take away their own personal lesson from it, such as the value of friendship, strength to get through a hard mental block, and optimism for the future. I can really see Tiptoe being a hit, and I want a plush toy of her myself!
Carly Hart, Copywriting
I saw this spot last weekend on TV and said out loud, “This is so precious.” I think it’s a great move for Macy’s. There honestly aren’t a ton of holiday brand mascots out there, so there is opportunity. And Macy’s is taking advantage of it. They don’t force their brand in your face throughout the spot at all, which makes it feel like their goal is just to provide some heartwarming holiday cheer.
If I’m going to brave the mall this holiday season, this definitely makes me think to go to Macy’s. And maybe there will be Tiptoes for sale?! (Do i need one??) Win for Macy’s in my book. I hope our girl Tiptoe is here to stay.
Riley Collins, Production
I’m not crying there is just reindeer fuzz in my eyes. I think what really works about Tiptoe is Macy’s emphasis on storytelling—not only is it relatable, sentimental, and even funny, but the undertones of female empowerment don’t hurt either. Macy’s isn’t explicitly trying to sell a product or push a sale with this, they’re reinstating a spirit of belief and imagination around the holidays. For me, it’s a win.
I’m not sure that Tiptoe can be as iconic as Rudolph—I think it’s a lot harder for these stories to take hold than it was in 1939 simply because of the quantity of content we are inundated with. That being said, I sure do hope they let her play in all the reindeer games.
Jesse Spear, New Business
The story and timing of Tiptoe feels really wholesome to me. Other holiday brand mascots feel familiar and reminiscent of the holidays pre-pandemic. This new mascot gives me new-found holiday spirit in the midst of a chaotic world.
Emily Whittington, Human Resources