Hannukah can be a tricky holiday to market for. Even though Christmas is a huge religious festival, it's increased secularism means its celebrated by the religious and non-religious alike and therefore you don't have to be an expert on the nativity to find a clever way of marketing the celebration. Hanukkah on the other hand is very much a religious holiday. It's absolutely okay to start advertising to your customer base but just bear a few things in mine to make the holiday period religiously sensitive.
Let's kick off with the most important point:
Don't try to make it Christmas
One of the major failings of Hanukkah marketing you see year on year is the way it's treated as a a sub-set of Christmas. Hanukkah is definitely not a sub-set of Christmas. If I had a penny for every time I've seen a dreidel with Santa Claus painted on the side or Stars of David hanging beneath a big 'Christmas Decorations' sign I'd be a millionaire.
Don't fall into this trap! Make sure you keep your Hanukkah, Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations correctly labelled and separately marketed - you'll be doing yourself a favor and you'll be doing your customers a favor.
Make sure you understand when it is and how it ties in with other fall holidays
Hanukkah this year falls between the 6th of December and the 14th of December, putting it midway between the calendar's major shopping event and its major gift giving event. This makes it perfectly situated to incorporate nicely into your holiday season marketing.
Giving presents on Hanukkah is a modern tradition, occurring predominantly as a way of incorporating the Jewish community into the Christmas festivities, but it does have a number of marketing advantages over Christmas even so. Because it runs for eight days, a large number of families give a gift on each night
For those not in the know, the holiday celebrates a miracle whereby oil which was enough for only one day burnt for eight days in the temple. The holiday is remembered by lighting candles, saying prayers and eating foods fried in oil. Incorporate candles, chocolate coins (gelt) and traditional foods into your marketing.
Try to understand how it's celebrated
Unlike Christmas and Thanksgiving where people tend to stay at home - much of Hanukkah is celebrated out of the house. There are no religious restrictions in place during the celebration so why not look at offering discounted meals or drinks offers during Hanukkah? (just make sure the food is kosher if you're doing this!)
It can be difficult for anyone who follows a smaller religion, trying to preserve it from commercialization or a take-over by another major holiday and this is especially true of Hanukkah. When you market it, make sure it's completely stand-alone from your Christmas marketing. Offering a discounted meal or a special offer for families is a brilliant way of attracting customers, but don't try to make it an alternative to Christmas dinner.
Bear in mind that the holiday can be quite a personal, restricted thing, the more you understand it and treat it as such the better results you'll get. Put time and effort into forming campaigns around the celebration, coming up with unique ideas that make it as enjoyable as December 25th without needing to compete with December 25th.
Don't forget Christmas Day
Whilst we spend Christmas morning eating Christmas chocolate, drinking far too early in the day and desperately trying to prepare Christmas lunch before the imminent arrival of the in-laws (is that just us?) For many Jewish families the traditions have built up due to not participating in the celebrations. The Chinese food tradition stems from there not being anywhere else open Christmas Day, so if you run a Chinese take-away or a supermarket why not incorporate the humor of that tradition into your holiday marketing?
Quite a lot of the community find themselves without any school or work but with no Christmas plans, so if you run a museum, cinema, family destination or anything else open on Christmas eve - try promoting it to the Jewish community as a fun alternative to going out dressed up as Santa Claus.