With Christmas fast approaching, the seasonal deluge of marketing campaigns from the world’s biggest brands begins to excite every one of our five senses. As early as late October we are already made aware that Christmas is coming, as adverts begin to inch their way on to our screens and into the pages of magazines and newspapers, drumming up the excitement. Christmas marketing is essential for businesses to have a successful festive period and for some brands people look forward to their marketing just as much as the big day itself.
Over the past few years, no one has captured the nation’s heart as much as John Lewis with their Christmas television campaigns. It has become such a phenomenon that unprecedented excitement builds even before its release. This year has been no exception, as the story of Sam and his CGI pet penguin, Monty, has tugged at the public’s heart strings once more. It tells the story of Monty’s longing for a female companion and through a beautiful story with a loving end, finishes with a delicate twist. The advert itself cost £1m to make and is also part of a £7m marketing campaign including soft toys, a mobile app and in-store penguin dens.
Only 24 hours after launch, Monty had already been shared on social media 202,953 times. To add perspective, the advert had already been shared 2% more than John Lewis’s 2013 advert – ‘The Bear and the Hare’ – with the beautifully crafted animated story currently being the third most shared Christmas advert of all time, racking up 1.16m shares. After only a few days Monty had already been viewed on social media 16m times, with 7m of them coming in only 24 hours, putting it on course to beating 2013’s numbers. Even Television broadcasters fight for the exclusive first screening, with Channel 4 beating ITV 1 to the first airing.
Sergi Vaezi, strategy director of Freuds, states that “you can see the figures for John Lewis: double-digit growth, year-on-year based purely on their Christmas campaign” and it seems that this year will be no different, with Christmas trading sales up by 5% on the previous year at £96m and a 17% jump in online sales, all since the launch of Monty. Vaezi explains “they’re talking about the joy of giving rather than the joy of actually receiving and I think that’s actually touched a nerve with people and that’s why some of these things are now so successful and people actually look forward to these campaigns”.
However, it is not just retailers that we think of regarding Christmas adverts. For many, Christmas starts when they see the beaming smile of Santa Clause accompanied with a fleet of large red brightly lit trucks emblazoned with the Coca-Cola logo on our screens. This year’s advert is no different and drives with the theme – ‘Make Someone Happy’. Due to its success, Coca-Cola will once more be carrying out a 45 stop tour of the truck across the UK to give out festive surprises and make our experience that little more special.
Christmas marketing campaigns do not just stop at TV and media, every year people from around the world visit Harrods to marvel at their customary window displays and be amazed by 70 different facades. Planning can start two years in advance and can take 25 days to install, with Inspiration taken from a wide variety of sources. Having such a discerning customer base puts the pressure on every year, as Harrods rolls out the red carpet treatment on the outside before dazzling further on the inside, to ensure an experience they will never forget.
Even something as simple as turning on Christmas lights can be a huge marketing extravaganza when it comes to Christmas. London’s Westfield shopping centre marks the festive period by having a World famous celebrity switch on their lights and sing to 20,000 fans. This year, on the 3rd November Rita Ora had the honour and joined a previous list of celebrities including Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Mariah Carey, and Rihanna, who was reportedly paid £500,000 to switch them on.
When it comes to Christmas, no matter what the budget, having a strong marketing campaign can really drive brand awareness and sales. Some campaigns have become so popular that people look forward to seeing them and will visit places just to gaze at the spectacle. Furthermore, making sure the campaign has a clear message and is launched well in advance of Christmas, ensures that companies connect with their target audience and sets them up for a truly successful Christmas.
Written by Sam Lovell, Client Service Manager at GottaBe!