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Give a Garmin Hits on Travel, Humor and Holiday Stress

It was not until as recently as 2000 that GPS was approved by the Defense Department for use by civilians in the U.S.

Having produced a range of GPS devices for different markets (drivers, cyclists, runners, etc.), Garmin began its holiday campaign in 2006.

The ads show travelers at various stages of their journey, some lost and others finding their way with the help of Garmin.

The instantly recognizable soundtrack narrates the journey with a witty reimagining of the ‘Carol of the Bells.’

Garmin proceeded to create a number of ads in this format, all of which owe their success largely to the soundtrack. The familiar tune taps into its existing association with Christmas to slyly set the holiday tone.

In one rendition, lyrics such as ‘I missed my turn, I’m gonna burn, wife’s gonna freak, future is meek’ humorously describe a lost driver’s journey.

In a later edition, the driver has the benefit of a Garmin device with similarly appropriate lyrics such as ‘where’s shopping mall, there’s shopping mall,’ whereas throughout the campaign humor is elicited with nonsensical lines such as ‘look, there’s a moose, get me a noose.’

The campaign therefore shows a number of different stories through which it demonstrates the advantages of owning a Garmin product.

The comedy and familiarity in the accompanying song renders the campaign easily memorable, further reinforced by the concluding catchphrase ‘give-a, give-a, give-a, give-a Garmin.’

This song, enjoyed by some and found to be inherently irritating by others, has been the source of much debate surrounding this campaign, further adding to its longevity and success in commanding attention.

Holiday Marketing Takeaway

A memorable song goes a long way to creating a memorable campaign — even if half of all listeners hate it.

Kunle Campbell avatar

Kunle is a trusted advisor to ambitious, agile ecommerce brands. His core strengths lies in growing revenue by developing and executing scalable customer acquisition and search marketing strategies for online retailers.  He blogs, runs webinars and teach courses about ecommerce growth on He also hosts an ecommerce podcast dedicated to growing and scaling online retail businesses.