It’s beginning to look a lot like adverts

It’s been almost a decade now since Christmas became all about which TV ad was going to win the nation’s hearts.

All the supermarkets have been there in recent years – John Lewis, Sainsburys, Marks and Spencer, Tesco and Aldi have all had memorable campaigns.

And increasingly, social media has played a major part in creating ‘noise’ around the ads, helping build anticipation around the campaigns, on which big brands spend a fortune every year.

The problem these brands – and the makers of the adverts – have to face up to, is that they have now become eagerly-awaited milestones in the festive calendar. It’s like looking through your favourite football team’s fixture list at the beginning of the season to see when you’re playing your local rivals. At this time of year, the John Lewis ad in particular seems to give licence to people to begin the celebrations.

Having set such a high bar in the past, they dare not get it wrong – the onus is on the big brands to make sure their ads are head and shoulders above the rest.

For my money (and I spend a fair bit in supermarkets, so I’m going to have my say), the early pacesetters this year have an element of celebrity to them. Aldi’s showstopper features a carrot under attack from a mob of sprouts, before Kevin (the carrot, keep up), saves the day with a rendition of ‘Let Me Entertain You.’

Over at Walkers, the purveyors of the nation’s favourite crisps, they have enlisted the help of Mariah Carey, who in the middle of the ad we see tussling with an elf over a bag of Pigs In Blankets flavour, before she wins through by letting out a trademark high-pitched note. What could be more Christmassy (though I think they’ve missed a trick by not going for Merry Crisp-mas!)

And then the John Lewis ad dropped. Eager dragon causes upset. Redemption. Happiness. Magic. I was so determined not to like it, to play devil’s advocate, but I just couldn’t. It’s clever, witty and fun and drew numerous oohs and aahs from those I was watching it with. Above all, it continues an emotional connection with the brand.

The Walkers ad hit home and you don’t forget the product; Aldi was fun but I’m not sure how many would recall which supermarket was behind it; John Lewis was pure theatre. What they each have in common is a gentle escapism, a focus on the magic effect of Christmas on the kids, and a clear sense of brand.

What’s not easy, with so many Christmas ads in the market, is for any of the big names to cut through the ‘noise’ that all these Yuletide adverts now create. At Lime, we specialise in helping our clients do just that – to stand out in their marketplace. Whatever aspect of your marketing you’re thinking about – revamping your website, boosting (or even starting) your social media, PR, printed materials, you’ll need to make them work for the money and time you’re going to invest.

The good news is you won’t need the budget that John Lewis has, but the impact we can help you have is profound. We’d be happy to meet and tell you more – simply get in touch here and we’ll do the rest.

Oh, and Happy Christmas, when it arrives….

Posted: 19/11/2019

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