Seasonal campaigns, particularly Christmas, have become mainstays in US fast casual restaurants, coffeehouses and even fast food chains. So much so that consumers wait, anticipate and ultimately purchase. If the theme is particularly well-received (and sometimes not), social media is flooded with photos and comments.

Panera is one of those mainstays. Bags, cups and gift cards all play a role in their annual reveal and the design heavily influences the four walls of each location. In late summer of 2021, we were approached to help them celebrate this most popular (and lucrative) of the seasons.

Panera Holiday - Gift Card Designs

As 2021 progressed, US consumers were faced with a bumpy Holiday season, in-person giving was difficult and supply chain issues continued. A survey in November found that because of this, more than half of shoppers planned to buy more gift cards than in years past, on average $313, up 19% from the previous year. This meant that gift cards became more than just a last minute present, they may have become the only present, so consumers were more likely to be choosier when buying them.

Panera Holiday - Gift Card Design - Yule Love This
Panera Holiday - Gift Card Design - Brrread
Panera Holiday - Gift Card Design

Our objective was to create awareness and to remind shoppers that Panera has always been a Holiday celebration destination, both in store and online.  The deliverables for the campaign were revealed in-store and on digital gift cards, bags, interior point of purchase and signage. But gift cards were the foundation of them all and influenced the rest.

We deliberately chose a fun, lighthearted copy/design approach to add some much needed Holiday humor to a tumultuous year and applied it to gift cards, to-go bags, indoor/outdoor signage and website. Digital cards featured animations that lit up an inbox with Holiday cheer.

We thoroughly enjoyed working with Panera again and we are confident that Yule Love This, as much as we did.

Panera Holiday - Gift Card Designs - Chill
Panera Holiday - Gift Card Design - Promotion
Panera Holiday - Gift Card Design - Bags