14 November 2012
Tom Jones, Account Director

Jingle bells, but does advertising still sell at Christmas?


2012 has been a busy year for marketers. With the Queen’s Jubilee, the London 2012 Olympics and Halloween all out of the way, the main focus for many marketers is now on Christmas. For retailers, it is the most critical time and the big hitters have already begun rolling out their most anticipated TV advertising campaigns of 2012. But I wonder what’s in store (!) for us this Christmas given the online media explosion, as well as the attempts by Apple et al for worldwide domination.

Recent research by M&C Saatchi predicts tablet advertising spends are going to overtake those of smart phones for the first time this Christmas. Consumers are changing their shopping habits in light of the uprise in digital media but what will be the impact on the institution that is Christmas adverts, as tablets take over the world?!

John Lewis is one retailer that has cleverly squeezed every drop of value out of its TV advert by maximising the opportunities online. The unveiling of John Lewis’ Christmas advert was considered major news in itself. Launched just a few days ago, it has been covered by most national newspapers online, not to mention countless blogs, many of which include images and analysis of the theme tune (The Power of Love, performed by Gabrielle Aplin, a 20-year-old singer-songwriter from Bath) as well as embedding the actual advert in the piece. It is significant that the ad has generated copious amounts of online content and subsequently, reach beyond traditional TV audiences.

Similarly, we’ve already seen that Marks and Spencer has ditched the celebrities of previous commercials in favour of a group of diverse people dancing to a series of classic pop songs. Amongst them is a young boy with Down’s Syndrome, who was recruited via a Facebook campaign. Here, we can also see how traditional TV advertising is integrating with social media – something that will inevitably happen more and more.

I, for one, watch very little live TV and confess to being an Apple fan through and through, but Christmas adverts are all part of the magical anticipation of Christmas. Whilst the retailers must, quite understandably, implement integrated marketing campaigns; it would be such a shame for the TV element to be shelved completely. I mean it just wouldn’t be Christmas if you didn’t hear Coca-Cola’s ‘Holidays are coming’….


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