The battle royale has commenced in the UK with Marks & Spencer and John Lewis going head to head with their Christmas campaigns.
This year sees an even greater focus on dual screen and richer content beyond the ad, as well as an expectation that the ads are so good (and long!) that they will be watched online, not just reliant on premium evening spots.
John Lewis’ ‘Hare and the Bear’ features no product and instead is an emotionally driven brand play to underline John Lewis as the place to shop this Christmas, and features Lilly Allen’s recording of Keane’s hit ‘Somewhere only we know’ from 2004. The rich media content including an animated book, greeting cards and more, create a really warm brand sensation. M&S have a more overtly retail edge, beyond the ‘Wonderland’ ad – with an excellent range of video content on M&S TV supporting you in having the best possible Christmas, including gift suggestions, how to make decorations or a gift bag, the best Turkey meal, plus a focus on different ranges around the store with ideas and tips. It’s really well done.
As the UK’s Guardian reports, “The new John Lewis seasonal ad campaign, which has become a landmark media event in recent years, takes in television, social media, soft toys, in-store events and even a mini manmade forest on the banks of the Thames.”
The Guardian goes on: “Marketing director Craig Inglis said: “We are trying to do things differently and always trying to raise the bar.”
The animated advert cost £1m to make and features a hare and a bear created by some of the artists behind Disney’s Lion King. It will launch with a film-style “premiere” taking up an entire ad break during ITV’s X Factor on Saturday. The channel had to rearrange the production schedule for its talent show – with agreement from X Factor supremo Simon Cowell – and adjust the evening timetable in order to accommodate the launch.
The big-spending campaign reflects a new focus on the small screen and social media by retailers. They will spend about £390m on ads in the last three months of 2013, according to market analyst Nielsen. Chocolate brand Cadbury’s will screen its first ever Christmas TV ad on Friday while the discount chain Lidl has also splashed out on its first festive small screen campaign.”
Read more from The Guardian here
What we think:
- It shows that big ads can still work really well provided they are entertaining enough to reward repeat viewing, and the content beyond enriches the whole thing. Whatever is happening to TV viewing (just reported as being down in NZ), online provides a massive additional audience for good content.
- The richer media content is a growing component and the efforts by M&S to give you every support for Christmas, and profile so much extra range through video content, is excellent and something NZ retailers can really learn from – especially as it is so much cheaper to produce good content now.
- Planning ahead clearly helps – John Lewis worked on their TVC for months!
Author: Ben Goodale