Everywhere you go, it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Christmas lights are already adorning the shopping streets of London and here in Aberdeen the Christmas lights have marched their way down Union Street thanks to the efforts of the council staff. Let’s just hope that they aren’t subjected to the strong winds that battered them last December, which meant they didn’t shine as brightly or for as long as usual.
Christmas is always a busy time for the retail sector with every brand fighting for our custom. Each year the big names roll out festive advertising campaigns in order to capture our attention to ensure we visit their stores or buy their products. This year is no exception, with brands rolling out all manner of festive-themed campaigns.
Asda launched an amusing advert for its 2012 festive campaign that depicted a mother preparing for Christmas. However, the minute-long advert has angered some people who claim it is sexist and its strapline of ‘Behind every great Christmas there’s mum’ could reinforce negative gender stereotypes. Others say it accurately reflects the division of labour in a household. Perhaps we should just view it in the way it is intended; an amusing look at all the work that goes into making Christmas a memorable family day. Watch it below and make up your own mind.
Asda hasn’t been alone in irking TV viewers with its advert, Boots and Morrisons have both received objections to their yuletide adverts. It seems not everyone is enjoying the light-hearted theme that is running through this year’s Christmas ads.
In the Boots advert, dog lovers have objected about a girl blow drying her dog’s hair in order to make it look like a unicorn – claiming it could harm the dog. Others have raised concerns about children using electrical appliances. While Morrisons’ advert follows a similar theme to Asda’s and has also been criticised for being sexist, it is arguably more comic than its larger rival. Perhaps all these complaints are being generated just because as a nation we like to complain!
Last year’s soar away Christmas advert success came from John Lewis. It was an inspired piece of storytelling that left much of the nation reaching for their hankies to wipe away tears when they realised that the wee boy didn’t want Christmas to hurry up and arrive so he could get his presents from Santa, but instead it was so he could give his gifts to others.
So how would John Lewis follow it up this year? With a budget of £6million it would turn out to be another great piece of storytelling that conveys the message of it being better to give than to receive. The journey is the 90-second story of a snowman walking across the countryside, wading through rivers, crossing motorways and dodging snowball fights in pursuit of getting the perfect gift for his snow-lady. Going by the online response it would seem John Lewis has another winner on its hands and is again helping sales of Kleenex!
What of yuletides past, what adverts have stuck in our minds? Marketing Week has had a look back at some of the most memorable of recent years and there are a few classics. Who can forget that magical place with toys in their millions that was Toy R Us’ 1990s advert. It was so popular that the toy store remade it for Christmas 2009. Irn Bru’s fun parody of the 1980’s film The Snowman was a winner with viewers and critics alike when it launched in 2007.
Another that makes it onto the Marketing Week list is Coca Cola’s holidays are coming campaign. The main theme of the advert hasn’t changed over the years; it always proves popular and is now a Christmas mainstay. Perhaps it works so well because it has run for so long and taps into our nostalgic memories, taking us back to a time in our lives that seemed so much better. But, in 1993 Coca Cola dispensed with tradition and went with polar bears settling down to watch the Northern Lights with a bottle of ‘the real thing’.
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without chocolates and Quality Street makes it onto the Marketing Week list with its 30-second magic moments lollipop lady advert. It’s heart warming and amusing, not least because of the way the wee lad nonchalantly shrugs his shoulders and says: “It’s OK”. At what other time of the year apart from Christmas would you eat Ferrero Rocher? Whether it is at a diplomat’s party or just round at your friends, Ferrero Rocher’s adverts always at least raise a smile. Back in 1985 Cadbury’s said thank you very much very simply with this 10-second Roses advert. A short and simple advert with a memorable jingle!
One brand whose Christmas adverts didn’t rely on a memorable jingle, but instead used a cracking Christmas hit, was Andrex. The toilet roll manufacturer used Slade’s ‘So here it is merry Christmas’ as the backing track to its festive campaign while a Labrador puppy darted about in the snow chasing toilet paper and a duck skidded on ice. Cuddly and amusing, but it also reinforced the age old message that a puppy is for life and not just for Christmas.
Staying on a canine theme; whatever you do don’t forget a present for your four-legged friend. Pedigree ran a very clever campaign about a dog getting revenge on its owner when they forgot about it at Christmas. So be warned, don’t miss your pooch off the Christmas list or this could happen!
Just as we publish this story news is reaching us of HMV’s 2012 campaign. Nipper the dog is coming to life alongside his best friend Gramophone in a series of 11 animated spots. The humorous Christmas Tales campaign is a departure from HMV’s previously product and price focussed advertising. From those we’ve seen online the short ads have made us chuckle.
An extra stocking filler
Still in need of more Christmas adverts? There are more on the Thinkbox website and if you search for UK Christmas adverts on YouTube, this selection box appears. And, if you’re now singing ‘It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas’ to yourself, here’s Bing Crosby’s version.
Happy shopping and remember, just like John Lewis’ snowman, it is always better to give than to receive!