Lonely snowmen, stressed out mums, celebrity chefs and break dancing kids, yep the fight to become the Christmas number 1 isn’t reserved for the music charts anymore.
As retailer’s efforts to tug at our heart strings, to make us nod knowingly or laugh out loud becomes as much a part of Christmas as the turkey itself which ad is your favourite to win and why?
In an attempt to connect with consumers in tough economic times, by lifting spirits and showing us that they understand us, glitz and glamour is, this year, being replaced instead with family and feelings. And with a distinct lack of celebrity and a big dollop of heart warming, reality style Christmas, it all feels very down to earth.
For me the top of the scoreboard ads, in no particular order, have to be Asda, controversial I know, and John Lewis, predictable I guess but always a winner.
Yes, despite that fact that Asda has come in for a bit of a bad rap, about their ad being sexist, to the point where it is being investigated by the ad standards agency, I actually really like it. It makes me laugh and surely on some level we can all identify with it, even if we are thinking of our own parents or grandparents. I think the highlight for me is when the mum sits to eat dinner on the Peter Kay ‘emergency chair.’ Come on people lighten up, they are taking it to the extreme for comedy value. When did we all get so touchy and over sensitive? Why not take it in the spirit it’s meant and have a laugh, I dare you! The old saying that laughter is the best medicine is so true, especially at Christmas. So well done Asda!
And so to John Lewis, whose ads manage to create a battle between broadcasters over who gets first showing. And whose ads even earn themselves trailers to advertise the advert! Surely we must applaud such genius. After last year’s, tear inducing, ‘for gifts you can’t wait to give’ ad I had high expectations. And in my opinion they certainly haven’t disappointed us with ‘The Journey’ and its ‘give a little more love this Christmas’ strap line. This Raymond Briggs inspired story, for with its distinct beginning, middle and end, a story is what it is, is so beautiful and simple in its message. And although clearly an expensive campaign it is understated and sincere, not that we would expect anything less from this well known brand. I love the way it takes us back to the essential ingredients of effort and love for the perfect gift, rather than size, quantity or a big price tag. It tugs at your heart without a hint of cheese, so bravo JL.
Online research, by Vision Critical, however, suggests that John Lewis, whilst scoring highly on the emotional connection, did not win out in converting viewers into buyers. Maybe this is because, whilst it has oodles of aaaah factor, the lack of real life ‘christmasiness’ (my word and I like it) means that it becomes more like a film that you watch, enjoy, appreciate but do not feel the need to act on? I’ll leave that one with you.
Other contenders, for me, are Waitrose and Tesco. Waitrose, although still using their celeb chefs, offers us a completely paired down affair, simply telling us that instead of a flashy ad they are instead giving £1 million to good causes. Simple and so clever! Aren’t we all left thinking how much is wasted on advertising and how great Waitrose is for shunning this tradition? Don’t we all want to spend our money with them because they are so very charitable?
And finally Tesco, who again adopting the Christmas is family route, give us a series of mini films, each one depicting a very typical Christmas and focusing on different members of the family. From mum buying a Furby, at Tesco of course, to the teenage son with the cracker hat and Granddad playing on the Wii, they capture the spirit of family Christmas very well.
The reason I instantly think of these ads is that they connect with me. I am moved by them on an emotional level which means that they will stay with me and my brain won’t chuck them out with this year’s wrapping. On this point I have just watched the John Lewis ‘Always a Woman’ campaign and the, award winning, Proctor and Gamble ‘Best Job’ ad again. And although not Christmas ads, because they always give me watery eye syndrome, I wanted to give them a mention.
So, which ads have won your heart this Christmas? And, because they might not be one and the same, which ones have converted you from viewer to shopper?
Anyway better dash, I’ve got to wrap the presents, write the cards, decorate the house, make the mince pies, feed the reindeers, and knit the stockings, light the fire and sit on my very own emergency chair!
Ho Ho Ho and a merry Christmas to you, Sarah