The launch of the John Lewis Christmas ad marks the official start of the festive marketing bunfight in the UK – but who will be remembered come Boxing Day?
The first obvious trend is that the Yuletide ad landscape is an almost entirely celeb-free zone. British comedians Ruth Jones and Ben Miller appear in UK supermarket chain Tesco’s campaign. But rival brand Morrisons has ditched Geordie TV stars Ant and Dec for its own staff (tapping into stripped-back trends explored in Get Real), while most other retailers eschew familiar faces for more down-to-earth concepts.
This might keep the costs down – and in the social media age, the wisdom of spending millions on TV commercials might be questioned. But online viewing stats for British department store John Lewis’s Man on the Moon clip reveal the importance of another key trend: video is vital. Due to Facebook now autoplaying videos, on its first weekend on the platform alone, the ad achieved 99% of the views that last year’s Monty the Penguin campaign amassed in 12 months, according to US digital media agency We Are Social.
UK retailer Marks & Spencer has devoted a quarter of its festive budget to digital, according to UK industry magazine PR Week, splitting its TV ads into shorter clips for mobile consumption. “It has described its Christmas campaign as one made up of a series of ‘moments’ that mark the run-up to Christmas,” notes PR Week, adding: “The concept of ‘moments’ is increasingly common in mobile marketing language, playing to the idea that consumers are constantly scrolling through their social feeds. This gives marketers a finite amount of time to capture their attention, resulting in shorter, highly focused creative.”
So what’s our tip for the top Christmas ad? In a crowded field, the chutzpah of Mulberry’s irreverent Mulberry Miracle campaign stands out.
For more on mobile and video marketing, see Marketing in the Moment: Advertising Week New York 2015 and New Video Marketing Strategies.