We’ve already covered John Lewis’ Christmas advert, but what else impressed us this year? Marketing over this period is a lot like the Super Bowl half time commercials. Brands attempt to get noticed whilst the world is not only paying attention, but has an expectation to be entertained. The only difference with Christmas marketing activities is that they’re spread over a wider period. Brands have to engage for much longer.
We noticed a couple of themes. Brands tried hard to tap into emotions, to hit us right in the heart or make us smile. Arguably this is perennial with advertising around this period. Animation made a return with brands such as Waitrose, Aldi and John Lewis all mixing animation with real world filming.
But what really stood out to us?
H&M and Wes Anderson – Come Together
I’ll happily admit that Wes Anderson is one of my favourite filmmakers, so I was excited to see him join up with H&M to film their Christmas ad. What I particularly liked (aside from the film itself) was that for a short while H&M featured the film on a specific landing page. Viewers were able to buy the products shown in the film. It made for an interesting interactive experience.
Cards Against Humanity – Holiday Hole
To ‘celebrate’ Black Friday and what, for many, has been a rather bad year in terms of news and politics, Cards Against Humanity decided to dig a hole in the ground and to make people pay for it. And live stream it online, so people could watch the hole being dug. There seemed no point to it – indeed, having no point might have been the point. But this rather unusual method of making a statement attracted a huge amount of attention. (If you’re wondering, they eventually filled in the hole.)
Marks & Spencer – Mrs Claus
In popular culture the older female demographic does not get the coverage that it deserves. Marks & Spencer decided to do something about that. They focussed their Christmas campaign around Mrs Claus, “the remarkable female half of the world’s best-loved power couple”, who was presented as a very strong and confident individual. This was a good move for all kinds of reasons, yet still remained absolutely on-brand.
Aldi – Kevin the Carrot
Aldi’s series of animations starting Kevin the Carrot was featured across numerous types of media, from TV to Facebook. In this advert, Kevin went on a seasonal adventure across the dinner table to eventually join up with Santa Claus on his sleigh. The advert proved very popular online. The cheeky carrot was even sold by Aldi as a toy. (Now sold out, they’re going on eBay for several times the original price.)
Barbour – The Snowman and the Snowdog
Barbour is a British heritage brand and chose a traditional Christmas campaign to appeal to their core audience. The company teamed up with Penguin Books and Lupus Films to create a “bespoke animation of the original ‘The Snowman and The Snowdog’ film”. This was also a nice example of promoting another channel – their Barbour Dogs Instagram account. It is an increasingly fashionable trend for brands to get involved in partnerships at anytime of year, to help tap into another audience and cross-promote. But this actually references an older campaign from 2010.