Tuesday 19 November 2013

The Christmas gauntlet has been thrown – so who has the best Christmas telly advert?

Many companies have only just hit the screens and web with their Christmas adverts but there already seems to be a clear leader this year, John Lewis’ The Bear and the Hare.

What makes these adverts so compelling and unmissable? Is it the great sales message making us rush out to their store for our Christmas shopping? Or is it simply more about the story and building brand awareness and less about the product?

The 2013 Christmas Advert League Table
CompanyAdvert YouTube
John Lewis
The Bear and The Hare
Marks & Spencer
Believe in Magic & Sparkle
Gifts for Santa
Spread the cost
Christmas in a Day
There's nothing better than Christmas
Full of Surprises
Unwrap Joy
Go on...its Christmas
Unwrap your Lidl Christmas
Wishes made fabulous
TK Maxx
The Moment
The Co-operative
  Relax, Christmas is just around the corner  
*Based on YouTube videos posted by each company directly as of 19/11/13. The stats do not take into consideration additional posts of videos by other users.

The Bear and The Hare is a heart-felt cartoon showing the friendship between a bear and hare that have never celebrated a Christmas together due to the bear’s hibernation. With animation that is reminiscent of Watership Down, the cartoon seems to be one that everyone is connecting with. In fact, John Lewis’ Marketing director Craig Inglis told The Guardian ‘This is really about telling a story and making that emotional connection. It’s not all about glitz and glamour, it’s all about animation and the brand.’ And it seems to be doing just that, making a connection with the market and reinforcing the John Lewis brand to old and new customers.

Some of the other companies like Tesco and Sainsburys are focusing on the memories that make Christmas special to their customers. Tesco has cleverly created what seems like a series of home movies documenting a family’s Christmas from a first Christmas as a couple to enjoying the extended family’s most recent holiday. Like the John Lewis advert, the focus is not really on the product but on what makes the season special and how Tesco can help create those wonderful memories. It relies on the fact customers know Tesco’s offering and focuses on connecting with customers’ memories.

Sainsburys took the same route as Tesco, but instead of focusing on one family, they have asked a variety of customers what Christmas means to them. It plays on the heart strings as well as incorporating some comedic aspects like the television presenter walking through how to create the perfect Christmas meal in a very monotone tutorial. Again, there is more focus on the Christmas events themselves and not what Sainsburys can offer to make it happen, trusting the customer knows the options available in store.

While John Lewis, Sainsburys and Tesco are focused on their brand without focusing on the product, the other top advertisers have been creative incorporating their products into the message. All have the usual feel-good factor of Christmas and some even incorporate subtle humour that we have come to expect in a Christmas advert.

The advertiser to make the most of an interesting storyline and incorporating their seasonal products into the advert is the second most watched advert, Marks and Spencer. The fairytale storyline easily connects with customers’ fond memories of childhood, imagination and magic, while revealing many different products they have available this holiday season. The viewer gets pulled into the story the first time they see the advert but then the second time you watch, you notice the clothes and home ware items, a tactic M&S utilise quiet regularly.

So why are we drawn in every year to watch the newest Christmas advert? Costumers are pretty set in their ways when it comes to Christmas shopping patterns and yet each year, companies are raising the bar by spending more and creating new and catchier adverts. Why? Customers have come to expect great things this time of year from retailers like John Lewis, M&S and Sainsburys and are thoroughly disappointed if the new advert fails to live up to expectations. Does it mean they will stop going to their usual shop when looking for presents or stocking up for Christmas dinners? Probably not, but it will make them look elsewhere for extra special gifts or dinner treats because someone else’s advert will stick in their mind.

What happens when the advert is a huge success? The brand will stick in a customer or potential customer’s mind throughout the season. Some of the adverts will help directly with sales of items that are in the adverts, i.e. M&S, Lidl and Morrisons, while others will boost overall retail sales because of the overwhelming branding preference, i.e. John Lewis, Tesco and Sainsburys.

Have a look at the top videos from our league table and let us know what you think of this year's Christmas adverts.

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