In the UK, the Christmas advertising season has begun and all the major retailers have pushed the creative envelope in an attempt to create both memorable and effective above the line advertising that will increase awareness, drive visitors to stores and improve sales at the most competitive time of the year for retailers.
In November and December, TV ad spend is already up 7% so far over the same period in 2012. John Lewis, the UK’s largest department store chain has set aside £7 million for a six week campaign. Struggling retailer Marks and Spencer’s Christmas campaign began in the first week of November.
Some of the ads are ‘awash’ with celebrities whilst others such as Tesco and Asda have reduced their advertising budgets and steered clear of the celebrity approach.
For many retailers, their corporate survival depends on the Christmas season. Company Watch predicts over 5,000 UK retailers will fail to make it to the ‘killing season’ the post festive months from the end of December to mid February.
But it’s not all doom and gloom, at least for some retailers. According to Deloitte, UK retail sales in the lead up to Christmas are expected to be £40 billion, up 3.5% on 2012. Capgemini expects online sales to be above £10 billion in December, the highest ever but still well below high street sales.
The big retailers will be aiming to get a piece of that using traditional mass media to communicate their messages to as many people as possible in the hope it will resonate with enough of them to get them into stores and to part with their hard earned cash.
Some of them are linking the campaigns to social media initiatives and of course all of the ads are available on Youtube.
Which is the best ad? Below is a round up of most of the ads and the number of views received on Youtube up to 17th December 2013.
We’ve also included our own poll so make sure you vote for your favourite ad!
1. Debenhams – Wishes Made Fabulous
What happens – Beautiful people in Christmas situations wearing beautiful clothes and using beautiful things before freezing and becoming hand drawn versions of themselves
Tagline – Whatever you wish for this Christmas, make it fabulous with Debenhams Christmas
Anything else – Nice song, nice scenery
Youtube views – 114,000.
2. Harvey Nichols – Sorry, I spent it on myself
What happens – Excited people opening presents at Christmas are surprised to receive mundane gifts like elastic bands, paper clips and toothpicks from the Harvey Nichols “I spent it on myself’ range”. Meanwhile the gift givers look longingly at their new expensive shoes, bag and dress.
Tagline – A little something for them, a bigger something for you.
Anything else – It’s a lovely, original and amusing take on gift giving at Christmas.
Youtube views – 382,000
3. John Lewis – The Bear And The Hare
What happens – During the winter when food is in short supply, Bears hibernate to stay alive. But the John Lewis bear knows a hare and the hare wants the bear to share the Christmas cheer so he gives him an alarm clock to wake up and experience Christmas. We’re not sure what he will eat though.
Tagline – Give someone a Christmas they’ll never forget
Anything else – Cracking animation, Lily Allen song. A Twitter feed to keep the story going.
Youtube views – 11,008,000
4. Marks & Spencer – Believe In Magic & Sparkle
What happens – British model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (She’s big in the UK) falls down a manhole whilst chasing a cute dog and into a medley of classic fairytales including Aladdin, Alice In Wonderland, Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood and The Wizard of Oz. She explores this fantasy world, often dressed in nothing but underwear until she eventually recovers the dog.
Tagline – Believe in magic and sparkle.
Anything else – Helena Bonham Carter makes an appearance.
Youtube views – 1,000,300
5. Tesco – Forever young
What happens – We’re taken through the life of a couple at Christmas courtesy of their ‘Home movies’ from newly weds to pensioners.
Tagline – There’s nothing better than Christmas
Anything else – It perfectly captures the nostalgia of Christmases past.
Youtube views – 648,000
6. Morrisons – Go on… It’s Christmas
What happens – Ant and Dec (UK celebrities) pit their acting skills against a singing, dancing gingerbread man(and come 2nd).
Tagline – More of what matters
Anything else – Animation is good
Youtube views – 408,000
7. Asda – Snowmen
What happens – The four snowmen of the Apocalypse that is Christmas line up with Asda the biggest.
Tagline – Why pay the same when you could be 10% better off at Asda?
Anything else – Nope
Youtube views – 59,500