It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment Christmas-mania sets in – inducing mass excitement/panic. However a key watershed is undoubtedly the unveiling of John Lewis’s Christmas advert. While Coca-Cola’s efforts may once have heralded the season of good will’s impending arrival (it isn’t Christmas until you’ve seen the Coke advert etc…), the level of engagement the John Lewis advert generates can leave little doubt about its advent-advertising-ascendancy. Last year’s effort generated millions of shares – and even made 14,500 people cry!
This year’s edition – which helps to promote charity Age UK– shows definitive signs the brand is trying to replicate its magic formula. While it is too early to say whether this campaign will top 2014, the omens are looking good. National newspapers ranging from the Mirror to the FT have covered its launch, and the retailer has spent a bank-busting £6m promoting it via paid and owned media channels.
Some would argue the beginning of November is too early to start talking about Christmas, but for most marketing teams it’s a few months too late. Given the retail industry is dependent on the holiday season for a huge proportion of its annual profits, and a quarter of consumers plan on buying the bulk of their gifts two months before Christmas, marketers can be forgiven for being quick off the mark.
With so much at stake, it’s only natural brands try to outdo one another. It will be interesting to see what Sainsbury’s do this year following their hugely successful 2014 campaign, and whether challenger brands will look to capitalise on the growing ‘Lidl-class’.