What makes a great Christmas campaign?

By Joanna Elliott, Junior Account Manager

The clocks have gone backwards, the mornings are frosty and pumpkin spiced goods are everywhere you turn. The month of November has begun and the nation is on the edge of its seat in anticipation for the release of 2017’s Christmas adverts. But what makes a successful Christmas Marketing campaign?

Invest

The investment that retailers make in their Christmas adverts provide the opportunity to not only create short-term commercial success, but develop the brand over the long term. John Lewis is an excellent example of this. In 2007 its Christmas adverts returned to the screen following a three-year break and ever since the retailer has raised the bar year on year, demanding competitors follow suit.

Its 2014 campaign told the story of a little boy called Sam and his loyal penguin friend Monty who is craving a penguin companion. On Christmas morning, his wishes come true as waiting for Monty under the tree is Mabel! The spell is broken when Sam’s parents enter the room and we realise that Monty and Mabel are not real penguins, but Sam’s toys. It’s adorable, heart-warming and, importantly to John Lewis, extremely profitable. Cuddly toys of Monty the Penguin sold out just hours after being released. The RRP? £95!

Connect

 Cute animals, thoughtful children, doting partners and dream-like worlds are abundant in adverts throughout the festive period. An effective Christmas campaign creates an emotional connection with the audience and offers the chance to build brand fame, create customer bonds, implement strategic PR and ultimately drive long-term gains.

Discount supermarket chain Aldi is growing rapidly and as it continues to compete with the ‘Big Four’ a successful Christmas advert will be a top priority for the marketing team. Last year Aldi stepped up to the (Christmas) plate with its festive advert depicting Kevin the carrot’s perilous journey to the fireplace where he hoped to meet Santa, but instead ended up precariously dangling from Rudolph’s antler, flying high on Santa’s sleigh. The advert was a resounding success and the internet was flooded with comparisons between it and John Lewis’ offering, many favouring the budget supermarket. In response to this Aldi later released a tongue-in-cheek video featuring the carrot as he sat down to watch the much-hyped John Lewis advert.

 Engage

Social media has become an increasingly integral part of festive campaigns. Marks and Spencer’s Mrs Claus advert last year launched the social media tag #LoveMrsClaus, which proved hugely successful. The advert reminded the nation of Mr Claus’s often forgotten other half and supported the movement of female empowerment. In 2014 Sainsbury’s, in partnership with the Royal British Legion, created a thought provoking campaign on the Christmas Truce of 1914. Due to the political nature of the topic there was potential for a PR crisis. However, the advert was widely received positively and achieved 24,000 mentions (the vast majority of which were positive) within the first week of it airing.

Last year before John Lewis first aired its Buster the Boxer advert a 10-second clip was posted by an account named @Bouncing2016. Although this year’s campaign remains a closely guarded secret, eager-eyed Twitter users have spotted an account named @UnderTheBed2017 who have posted a video showing the eyes of a creature in darkness. The account encouraged followers to tweet the hashtag #UnderTheBed creating a stir online before even being aired!

Many of this year’s Christmas adverts are expected to air this week so be prepared for hearts to melt and Twitter to go crazy!