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Advertisers Don’t Understand Christmas

November 3, 2016


London, 3rd November 2016:

Too many advertisers do not understand Christmas; it is over assumed that all festive consumers have the same social attributes and behaviours sharing a love of highly extravert social activities and extravagant gift buying. As a result, the busiest time of the year for many brands and advertisers becomes about volume rather than efficiency, and many people receive advertising messages that they just don’t relate to.


Leading audience data provider VisualDNA have identified four key personas that act drastically differently over the festive period. These will help advertisers understand their audience and consequently their online audience targeting.


The personas are a key insight to the understanding that people’s attitude to the festive period can be fundamentally different and VisualDNA have now unlocked their commercial value and built on the successful recent launch of Audiences with Personality which enables these personas to be easily targeted in major ad tech platforms.


Designed by psychologists and commercial experts, the personas have been creatively named Christmas Cosmopolitans, Shy Snowmen, Holly Hipsters and Merry Mavericks. They differ in the levels of core personality traits that make humans different; openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism (OCEAN for short). Each act and react differently at Christmas, whether it be buying behaviour or socialising, below are some of each persona’s stand out features. VisualDNA has suggested audience segments that index highly against each persona in this guide.


Christmas Cosmopolitan

This profile is high in extraversion, sociable and hardworking, often leading to being affluent, warm and caring. They enjoy their friends’ company and hosting, and will be looking for value in the products they are buying. This often means they tend to research their shopping and choose higher quality products, and opt for designer brands. These are perfect for brands such as Bose, Sony, Burberry and Apple.


Shy Snowman

Shy Snowmen are emotional and spontaneous in their shopping habits. So can be persuaded by discounts and promotions. They prefer to shop for food and gifts where they get most value for their money, and favour function over style. These are perfect for brands such as IKEA, Walmart, Aldi and Samsung. They will respond to bargains and discounts, such as pre Christmas deals and Boxing Day sales.


Holly Hipster

The extraverted Holly Hipsters love spending time with others and sharing their experiences, but as long as they are diverse and exciting! They are liberal users who tend to go against the grain of life – and so enjoy innovative and imaginative products. But, it has to be environmentally friendly, and will be loyal to brands that show their efforts towards saving the planet. These are perfect for Christmas charity campaigns, organic foods and eco conscious gifts.


Merry Maverick

Thorough and assertive souls, these go-getters of life know exactly what they want, and have no time to waste! Being thorough pre-researchers, but fond of efficiency, they are likely to do their shopping online this Christmas. Messaging to these busy buyers must be logical, consistent and descriptive, to ensure they are choosing the best high quality products possible, during their versatile holiday shop. These are perfect for online stores, Christmas food packages and combinations, they will be happy to pay a better price for a quality product and may be suspicious of big discounts. They will be attracted to brands such as John Lewis, Macy’s and Whole Foods.


Jim Hodgkins, VisualDNA’s Managing Director commented “The lead up to the festive period is manic for advertisers, with much of the hard work done by now. VisualDNA has made audience targeting easier and less time consuming, it’s now easy for advertising professionals to target the four main personas for festive campaigns”.


VisualDNA offers high scale audiences in the US, UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Canada for web and mobile advertising. If you’d like more information regarding VisualDNA’s new taxonomy, please email


About VisualDNA

VisualDNA is a marketing technology company combining the science of psychology with the technology of big data so agencies, publishers and brands can understand and better target their digital audience at scale.  VisualDNA uses innovative and patented visual personality profile tests to gather profiles directly from consumers. We use predictive analytics across 650m global digital profiles to power advertising audiences across display, video, search and in both desktop and mobile channels.  Over 80 of the top 100 digital advertisers target digital advertising with VisualDNA audience data in verticals including retail, finance, travel, entertainment, auto and technology.


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