Written by Paul Whyrow
Now we have reached December, many of us start the countdown to the long-awaited Christmas break. In order to reach the pinnacle of the season, Christmas Day, there is the need to squeeze in the present and food shopping to ensure you have everything at hand to make the day go well, and enjoy the giving of gifts to family and friends.
For shops, a few short weeks determine the profitability and success for the whole year. It is only natural then that their marketers want to do everything they can to get you to spend your yuletide extra cash in their stores. In the UK this has heralded a creative war, with the Christmas TV ads delivering a glow of nostalgia, Christmas spirit and most importantly desire to spend big in the key high street stores. The UK is the clear market leader here with the US only just starting to produce some Christmas gems.
Here in Oz we seemed to have loved the retail approach to Christmas ads on TV, and the theory has always appeared to be that if you can’t sing or shout about a discount price for your mince pies, toys, electronics or food, why bother spending the advertising dollar? Last year Myer broke the mould with an angel, elf, mouse and reindeer in a quest for their gift needs in one place– a tale I am sure we can all relate to! This year the animated team return with a fresh ad and are joined with a number of other brand mini movies including Aldi and David Jones.
The money spent on these commercials in the UK can be pretty huge, so why do businesses want to fork out so much on an ad that most the time doesn’t offer any retail call to action, except tell you who the store is?
For me, the answer is that it is a device to shortcut to the emotional safety and fun of childhood. Personally I love Christmas, as my family will tell you, as I turn up at home from November onwards with mince pies and Christmas cake just to get in the mood for festivities. When we were children the lead up to Christmas wasn’t full of client end-of-year events, the rush to close deals before the break or the dread of getting the so last year kids’ toys. It was a time of excitement and anticipation: school Christmas events, the letter to Santa (sorry, a Santa text is not the same), the fun of decorating the house and the thought that it may actually snow this year.
In our so busy and planned living, a short break back to this time reminds us what Christmas was all about, and so if we get a warm glow then maybe the shop benefits, because when we are in the buying mood for Christmas we may head to one of the stores that gave us the most emotional buzz!
In the spirit of Christmas, I have taken a look at the crop of Christmas ads from here, the UK and the US, and created my own marking system based on storytelling, fun, heart-warming impact, creativity – and cheesiness! In this very unscientific method here are my personal best of the bunch.
Christmas Top 12
1. Marks & Spencer – Christmas with love – Great storytelling with Christmas joy outcome.
2. Aldi – Nothing beats a perfect Aussie Christmas – Australian humour in fine form.
3. Burberry – Designing for Britain – Fantastic movie on how Burberry has made Britain great.
4. Myer – the animated team are back on a new mission – Well-crafted brand execution.
5. Sainsbury – The greatest gift is me – Cheesy and catchy all at the same time.
6. H&M – Train story – Top marks for artistic bravery with very different ad.
7. David Jones – How do you Christmas? – Like the local humour.
8. Tesco – Bring it on – Very retail as shot in a shop with a simple message.
9. Waitrose – Home for Christmas – Great scenery and heart-warming tale.
10. Myer from 2015 – Couldn’t resist as enjoyed the emerging humour.
11. Macy’s – Flying Santa – Nostalgia with Macy’s famous friend.
12. Harrods – A very British bear Classy music with classical feel.
So when you are stuck on the bus or train in Christmas traffic, why not take a few minutes out to watch a Christmas ad and crack a smile: it might just help you get in the festive mood for the Christmas break.