6 May Marketing Campaign Ideas to Ramp Up Sales Before Summer

Discover six creative marketing campaign ideas for May, including space exploration, Cinco de Mayo, Mother's Day, film festivals, Memorial Day, and summer-themed promotions.

By Will Blunt ・6 min read
Campaign & Contest Ideas

Summer is just around the corner, and May is an excellent opportunity to ramp up the excitement levels of your marketing campaigns.

There’s a sense of anticipation in the air as the weather gets warmer and your customers prepare for vacations, outdoor activities, and summer celebrations. Energy levels lift, and brand interactions become fun and relaxing rather than forced or nonexistent.

You can ride the wave of “good vibes” and expectations with a themed marketing campaign. Here are six campaign ideas for May to inspire your creativity.

#1. Transport your customers out of this world

Ok, so that headline is a bit dramatic… but the first Friday in May is Space Day - a day to learn more about the universe and get excited about space exploration.

The ideas for an out-of-this-world marketing campaign are literally endless. Our history is filled with curious stories about life beyond Earth, from wild tales of flying saucers to alien visits and moon landings. There is something magnetic about the great unknown.

For Space Day, you could put together an educational marketing quiz about the history of space exploration, give away a space-themed prize in a social media contest, or go to the next level and live stream the world record freefall as Red Bull did!

As with all Red Bull experiences, they framed this project as an experiment, not a marketing campaign. But after becoming the most-watched live stream in history, it’s safe to say the marketing benefits were immeasurable.

#2. Add some Mexican spice to your marketing

On the 5th of May 1862, the Mexican Army overcame the French Empire in the Battle of Puebla.

Every May, that significant event in Mexican history is commemorated with festivals and gatherings across Mexico and the United States. In a way, it has become the yearly celebration of those with Mexican heritage who live in the United States. Beer, Mexican food, sombreros, and ponchos are synonymous with Cinco de Mayo celebrations.

Not surprisingly, fast-food chain Chipotle ramped up marketing efforts in the lead-up to the 5th of May to maximize exposure during this festival. They launched a TikTok challenge with the hashtag #ChipotleSponsorMe along with TikTok influencer David Dobrik. The winners of the challenge received a Celebrity Card, which gives free access to Chipotle for an elite group of super-fans. The challenge has had over 2.3 billion views on TikTok!


Chipotle TikTok Challenge

Your Cinco de Mayo marketing campaign doesn’t need to be a TikTok challenge; if you think a little Mexican spice will resonate with your audience, use this theme with your campaign structure of choice.

#3. Celebrate the moms of the world

Did you know that Americans spend over $21 billion on Mother’s Day gifts?

That’s an astonishing statistic if you sell moms gifts because May will be an essential month for generating sales. But mom-themed marketing campaigns don’t need to be isolated to the gifting world.

For example, radio station 104.7 KCLD gave away a mother-daughter spa day as the prize in a photo contest. All you had to do to enter was upload a photo with your mom. The campaign collected a whopping 200,000 entries.


Mother's Day Photo Contest

View and Create Your Own

Skincare brand, Dove, has had great success celebrating moms too. Their #RealMoms campaign empowered moms worldwide by shining a light on the imperfection that is motherhood.

#4. Unearth the filmmakers in your audience

The Cannes Film Festival, held in France every May, showcases a range of movie and documentary previews from the world’s best and upcoming filmmakers. It’s known for giving creators the freedom to express themselves beyond the constraints of typical movie structures and industry expectations.

If you think it’s suitable for your brand, you could run a mini film festival of your own by encouraging participants to submit video entries and win a prize. This could be as simple as a TikTok challenge or a more intensive video contest where people need to upload entries to a landing page.

The ShortStack video upload contest template makes it easy to launch this style of campaign in minutes:


ShortStack Video Upload Contest Template

View and Create Your Own

Alternatively, you could jump on the Cannes bandwagon by running a knowledge quiz about the festival or a pick the winner giveaway to engage your audience.

#5. Remember our fallen soldiers

Memorial Day is a national celebration to remember the soldiers who have fallen while defending our country's freedom. It’s a federal holiday and a chance for everyone to display their patriotic side in a range of gatherings, ceremonies, and parades.

Memorial Day is held on the last Monday of May and is strongly associated with the weekend that precedes it. Summer is right on the doorstep, patriotism is in the air, and people are primed to recognize the military's importance in creating the country we see today.

From a marketing perspective, you need to be conscious of the sensitivities that surround this holiday. It's not another commercial spending spree like Christmas or Easter, but instead a way to pay respects.

In saying that, Memorial Day sales and discounts are a popular retail tactic to create a spike in revenue. Primarily via email marketing, like Dunkin’ Donuts does in the below campaign:


Memorial Day Email Campaign

Just be sure to remember the true meaning of Memorial Day when planning your marketing campaigns.

#6. Get ready for summer

As I’ve alluded to throughout this article, May is the gateway to summer. So why not prepare your customers for the warmer months with a summer-themed marketing campaign?

From beach getaways to summer-brewed ales from the local brewery, summer-themed marketing lifts everyone’s mood as they visualize relaxation and vacation mode. The scent of summer is refreshing after the colder months, and everyone is ready to make the most of it.

From camping equipment to hiking apparel, picnic accessories, and beach umbrellas, the lead-up to summer is ripe for the picking as a marketer.

For example, Nest Thermostat offered email subscribers a discount on its products as a pre-summer incentive:


Pre-Summer Email Campaign


With summer on the horizon, May is a prime opportunity to engage with your customers and generate interest and revenue for your business.

As with every month, May has a series of well-known events that you can leverage to create themed marketing campaigns and resonate with specific segments of your audience.

Without a doubt, there is a sentimental edge to the events of this month. Mother’s Day goes without saying, but other celebrations such as Memorial Day and Cinco de Mayo hold a place close to many people’s hearts.

As well as being sentimental, May also has a tinge of anticipation as everyone gears up for the summer festivities.

How will your brand get creative with its marketing this May?

About the author

By Will Blunt ・6 min read

Will Blunt is the founder of Sidekick Digital by Will Blunt - B2B Marketing Expert - Sidekick Digital, a publishing business that launches, manages, and grows brands with content marketing.

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