Marketing News: How to make your brand work harder
Marketing News

Did someone say Christmas?

As tradition dictates, Christmas is the time of year when the UK’s biggest brands roll out spectacular ads as they battle to win the blockbuster showdown.

Thanks to the likes of John Lewis and Amazon, Christmas has become a vital communications period for brand building for any company. Research carried by Kantar last year found that advertising plays a key role in getting people in the festive mood. The time of year is a hallmark moment, especially for retail businesses as it’s a key touchpoint in the marketing calendar to boost a good chunk of annual sales.

Figures show that UK consumers typically spend about £30bn in the golden quarter leading up to Christmas. There’s no doubt that brands will be less generous with their ad spend this year, but that doesn’t mean that your customers should expect no gifts at all.

According to a new report by Rakuten Advertising, 70% of British shoppers don’t plan to decrease their spending this year and they are crying out for advertisers to provide festive cheer.

Consumers expect well-produced, beautiful marketing campaigns that capture their imagination whether that’s through brand affiliations, the release of limited edition collections, famous faces making cameo appearances in TV ads, or pop stars releasing jingles and theme tunes for additional entertainment and sparkle.

M&S and Co-op are the two most well-known companies that often use their Christmas ads to spread goodwill by donating and encouraging charitable giving.

Toys are likely to be on most shopping lists once again this year. Asda recently partnered with The Entertainer offering its customers something different as they browse supermarket aisles during their weekly shop, while Debenhams has launched a new toy concept called Toys At Debenhams as space on the high street dwindles. Even McDonalds and KFC have been getting in on the act as the fast food giants have released their first ever clothing range.

This year, however, many brands have opted for inspirational stories that address the challenges people have been facing. Inspired by the kindness shown by the British public during the pandemic, a tear-jerker from John Lewis and Waitrose focuses on spreading kindness throughout the community in conjunction with charities FareShare and Home-Start. Boots has also launched a charity-focused push centred around the issues of hygiene poverty.

Aldi continues with its theme to build familiarity and loyalty among its online community, so it’s of no surprise that the Kevin the Carrot ad so far tops the list with a whopping 18 million views on Youtube and across various other platforms.

Brands have also ‘upped their BAME’ in a big way as conversation about embedding diversity and inclusion are key messages in Sainsbury’s advertising campaign.

To capture the nation, retailers have decided to pull on consumers’ heartstrings. Many have gone back to basics, and quite rightly so, instead using budgets to make their ads about bringing people together and putting their staff and customers first.

More now than ever, marketers need to be tuned in to customers’ sentiments if they want their products to be purchased, or their services to be experienced as unlike in previous years where advertising would drive people to the store to make their purchases, ads this year need to drive customers to the brand’s digital channels.

Due to lockdowns and distancing regulations, the vast majority of purchases will be forced to happen online. In fact, almost three quarters (73%) of spending during the season will take place online this year.

Not only will brands need to work hard to reach and engage their audience with content that resonates, it will also need to take the customers on a journey of product discovery and purchase – something that’s unlikely to be happening as much in store this year.

What’s clear is that the common theme throughout Christmas advertising campaigns celebrates the magic of small gestures, whether that’s giving gifts, sharing moments that matter or making what you can of the situation that’s plagued 2020.

It goes without saying that you can thank the whole year around, but the fact is Christmas is coming. Give a gift of kindness and there’s no time like the present to choose the perfect corporate gifts to thank your customers in style. It’s a great opportunity to take a moment to show your appreciation for their help, assistance and custom during the year.

Further Reading:
Christmas ads 2020: will brands stick with the sparkle or will Covid-19 dampen spirits? The Drum
KFC, The Body Shop and Royal Mail launch festive ads: The Marketing Week Christmas blog 2020 Marketing Week
John Lewis and Waitrose ‘break the mould’ with Christmas ad encouraging us to spread kindness Marketing Week