The Christmas campaigns we’re all talking about

In a world where we are constantly bombarded with marketing stimulus, it’s difficult to discern how impactful the messages we’re exposed to are and whether that was the intended impact the brand wanted to have. It’s not just about which were memorable, but which were memorable for the right reasons! Sometimes it can feel as though brands and companies can lose sight of their messaging in the mission to get the most talked-about campaign of the moment.

Advertising is a psychological sport, we’re all vying to stay in the elusive ‘evoked set’ of Joe Bloggs’ minds eye and with Christmas just around the corner, big consumer brands are upping their game to get into that sweet spot for the festive spending. This year, the Christmas advertising landscape is more diverse than ever; brands are thinking outside the proverbial (gift)box for their ad to get the most exposure and ultimately go viral.

In recent years, John Lewis has dominated the field; their Christmas TV advert a much-anticipated feature on the nation’s countdown to Christmas. The retailer is rumoured to have splurged a whopping £7m on the campaign, bringing in musical icon Elton John to front the advert. With a legacy of heart-warming ads, not to mention the demise of high street store, it’s no surprise the department store goliath was sparing no expense with its 2018 ad.

As usual, John Lewis have got the Christmas recipe nailed:

It’s emotive (tick)

it’s Christmassy (tick)

it’s got people talking (tick)

So yes, it does have impact – although many viewers would argue that it has more impact for Sir Elton John than John Lewis, but we’re still talking about the department store aren’t we?

A strong candidate to usurp the John Lewis Christmas campaign monopoly was ironically an ad that didn’t even make it onto TV. Iceland’s collaboration with Greenpeace hit headlines after it was banned for TV for being ‘too political’. The short, animated film featured a young girl with an orangutan in her room after palm oil manufacturers tore down it’s home. (Habitat loss, in countries who are major global producers of palm oil such as Malaysia, has been a major contributor to the orangutan now being classified as critically endangered.)

Despite being banned for TV, the advert racked up hundreds of thousands of online views; The campaign certainly had the trappings of a Christmas hit

It’s emotive (tick)

it’s got people talking (tick!)

But it’s not exactly Christmassy… And the ad had originally belonged to Greenpeace, with Iceland rebranding it. The question here is, would we be talking about the campaign as much if it had aired? Or is it the controversial nature, which has driven the increase in interest? Iceland became the first major UK supermarket to pledge to remove palm oil from all its own-brand foods earlier this year; but it’s only following this ad that people are really starting to hear about it. In an age where sustainability is a hot topic, it’s a smart move for the supermarket chain.

For us, the TV ad-that-was-never-really-ever-a-TV-ad, is the biggest Christmas hit. John Lewis may have got us looking for Elton John tickets but we’re now feeling obliged to step foot in Iceland for the first time ever…

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