Christmas: creating some digital magic

Tanja Gacic and daughter

Christmas is over, but that was last year – and it’s coming again this year! Belinda Daly tells us in this article how AMP Capital Shopping Centres approached Christmas in 2015. It’s more than just an article on Christmas promotions; it looks at changing consumer habits and how we need to harness them.

It’s no secret that Christmas is typically one of the busiest periods for retailers in many nations around the world. Speaking as a veteran marketer of shopping centres, it would be easy to take Christmas for granted as it rolls around even more quickly each year, but I try not to lose sight of its magic appeal. It is such a special time of year, and many shoppers look to their local centre to help them get into the Christmas spirit. As the wonderful cartoonist Charles Schulz once said, “Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.”

In 2015, AMP Capital Shopping Centres (AMPCSC) brought Christmas to life through a digitally led campaign titled ‘Unwrap Christmas Every Day!’ which complemented each of our centres’ local marketing campaigns throughout the holiday season.

The campaign leveraged the insight that everyone loves opening gifts on Christmas morning – it is a shared moment full of excitement, surprise and gratitude enjoyed with loved ones.

But why limit the fun to just one day? We developed a competition that allowed our valued customers, across 18 centres in Australia and New Zealand, to unwrap virtual gifts every day in the lead up to Christmas.

The competition enabled shoppers to open Christmas gifts digitally in the lead up to Christmas by presenting them with a virtual present that they unwrapped by swiping down on their smartphones.

Participants either won a prize or were able to have a donation made, on their behalf, to a local charity. Winners were able to redeem the prize for themselves or re-gift it to friends or family.


The prizes were selected using data that helped us to identify the trending gifts at the time, such as Fitbits, digital tablets, iTunes vouchers and centre gift cards.

The competition proved to be incredibly popular, with the number of entries increasing by a whopping 114% on the previous year’s competition. It also led to increased visitation and time spent on the centres’ websites, with consumers searching for information in addition to entering the competition.

At the same time, we relaunched all our centres’ websites – no mean feat! Using a range of customer data points, including user flow analytics, we were able to create a brand new look and feel that truly reflects what our shoppers expect from their local centre in the digital era. The new websites are easy to navigate, provide useful information, are updated in a timely fashion and aim to make shoppers’ lives easier and more enjoyable. In fact, there is not much difference from what they expect of an in-centre experience!


We’ve heard many times over that the shift towards mobile is real, and we know how connected we all are to our devices – be it our phones, tablets or now even our smart TVs. The results from our Christmas competition found around 53% of participants accessed the competition via the mobile sites – more than half of all entrants.

The learning here is that it is all about being where your customers are – social media plays a huge part in this as well. We know from our own behaviour that social media is now part of our everyday life.

For example, the marketing team at Karrinyup Shopping Centre in WA created an amazing Christmas installation in-centre, featuring giant animal light displays. The team then ran a sponsored post on Instagram promoting an in-centre competition that generated well over 1,000 likes and reached over 39,000 people.

On the East Coast, our team at Macquarie Centre in NSW worked with well-known fashion blogger Tanja Gacic, of My Empirical Life, to create a piece of video content for social media featuring herself and her young daughter. The video positioned Macquarie Centre as ‘your one-stop Christmas shop’ and featured key retailers such as Papaya, Alice McCall, Country Road, Scanlan Theodore and Seed. It received over 47,000 views on Macquarie Centre’s Facebook page.

In addition, our team at Pacific Fair ran a social competition that promoted the skating rink, installed at the centre, over the Christmas holidays. The competition gave shoppers the opportunity to win a private party at the skating rink for themselves and 10 friends, and was amplified across Facebook and Instagram. The competition reached almost 100,000 people on Facebook and generated over 160 entries.

The key takeaway from our centres’ Christmas content strategy is that it’s all about understanding your audience and what makes them tick – or click! SCN

About the author

Belinda Daly

Director – Marketing & Partnerships, Shopping Centre News (SCN)

Belinda Daly is a veteran of shopping centre marketing with over 22 years’ experience in the retail and property sectors. Belinda has worked for a number of leading property companies including Lendlease, Walker Corporation, Stockland and most recently led the marketing function for AMP Capital Shopping Centres.

Belinda has been an avid contributor of SCN for many years sharing her industry and marketing experience in the marketing section of the magazine.

After a successful marketing career in the industry she is so passionate about, Belinda was excited to join SCN in 2018 to ensure the magazine reaches as many audiences around the world as possible.

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