Kate Lindley
Kate Lindley
Account Manager
06.11.15

Tis the season… for Christmas Ads

Having worked in Morrisons’ marketing department for the last two years, a lot of my time has been spent thinking and working on Christmas. So as you might only be getting out your winter coat and deciding whether it’s time to put the heating on yet, ad agencies across the globe have already been working for months on the most exciting time of the year… Christmas.

Their aim is not just to make a sparkly, all singing, all dancing advert to win some kudos at the next marketing awards season, but to convince the British public to trust their retailer with the biggest purchasing decision of the year. It’s a completely different marketing objective for retailers than the rest of the year. Customer insight shows that at Christmas customers look to trade-up for the products that make Christmas special; desserts, party food and centre pieces, but also look to get the best deal on the more basic items like potatoes and Brussel sprouts! There also isn’t as much loyalty to retailers since the seismic change in the British supermarket industry and the invasion of the German discounters, so it’s even more important to win over the British public’s trust and loyalty at Christmas.

This year, instead of spending all summer elbow deep in turkey images (“is it juicy-looking enough?”) or working out correct offer on the lattice topped luxury mini mince pies (“are these the fresh bakery or ambient ones?”), I have been working across some fantastic campaigns for Ponderosa Group clients including the Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer sponsorship of TFI Friday. Plus the launch of Crabbie’s Light Alcoholic Ginger Beer, not to mention the relaunch of Red Square Vodka. So I have enjoyed seeing what each brand has spent months agonising over to ensure that this year, they win Christmas.

Here is a round-up of our favourite ads so far…

John Lewis 

Superseding the big red truck or polar bears, what really signifies the arrival of Christmas is the highly anticipated John Lewis Christmas TV ad, and over the past few years John Lewis have established themselves as the matriarch of Christmas TV adverts.

After the ad being trailed on Saturday night’s X Factor, and the song being leaked nearly a month ago, this morning we got to see what we have all been waiting for.

It is, of course, a beautiful story told in the classic style we have come to expect from John Lewis and for me, the anticipation is bigger than the advert itself. John Lewis isn’t doing anything new, it has lost the wow factor it achieved a few years ago. This year they have partnered with Age UK to promote loneliness in the elderly, especially at Christmas. This is a really nice sentiment, and a great use of the huge marketing platform they have established for themselves.

However, I wonder how quickly the telescopes will sell out this year?

ASDA 

This bold, up-beat advert certainly blows away the Halloween cobwebs and I can already tell it will be a refreshing stand out against the overly cinnamon-spiced Christmas ads that will fill our screens for the next two months. Celebratory and cheerful, but still sticking to the key parts of family life at Christmas is bang on the ASDA marketing plan and will really speak to their customers. I am assuming this will develop as the weeks go on to showcase more product, to convince customer that ASDA is the place to go for their Christmas supplies. But this ad does pin down the trust that at ASDA you can get it all…

LIDL 

It’s my first year hosting Christmas day for my in-laws, so as a novice Christmas host this ad really speaks to me – along with all the other young professions! While it doesn’t showcase lots of lovely Christmas products to influence direct purchase decisions, it fills me with hope that, with LIDL, we can achieve a brilliant Christmas. (Did anyone else see them sneakily steal a bit of M&S marketing? “It’s not a regular Sunday lunch… this is Christmas”. Sound Familiar?)

Waitrose 

Waitrose haven’t pushed any boundaries with their Christmas Ad this year, and nor did I expect them too. The advert seems very ‘standard-traditional-christmas-ad’, something we have all seen before.  With nice nods to the usually innovative Heston range, it again doesn’t tell us much about the Christmas product range but with cute babies by a Christmas tree and a mum flambéing a Christmas pudding all the minimum Christmas Ad criteria is met.

Mulberry 

By far, this is my favourite Christmas ad so far.

Its forced cheesiness up font makes you look for the punch line, which slowly unfolds to a playful tongue-in-cheek gag that simply makes you smile. Mulberry know they are pushing the envelope with this one, but it’s the one I remember the most and sparked the most conversation in the Ponderosa Group office. So good on Mulberry for doing something different and making us smile!

Keep checking back for updates when we see what Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco have in store to entice us into choosing them for the biggest food purchasing decision of the year.

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