Do Christmas Adverts Work?

by | Nov 28, 2019

Let’s take a look at the seasonal phenomenon.

Some of them have become a national event. When will the John Lewis Christmas advert first air? Is it even Christmas if you haven’t seen the Coca-Cola lorry?

However, as more and more brands get on board with an annual Christmas TV spot, the cynics among us wonder, do Christmas adverts even work?

So, firstly, what makes a Christmas advert work? Positions the brand, generates a buzz, showcases a Christmas product, these are all valid results.

Exploring three examples to delve a little further…

My least favourite? Mariah Carey in the new Walkers advert. Not particularly funny and excruciating to watch. But guess what? It has had a huge amount of traction on social media and generated a lot of attention. Difficult to argue that it hasn’t worked.

Another example this year that has divided opinion… Ikea. Their first ever Christmas advert. It goes against the sentimentality of most Christmas adverts. The couple’s ornaments and trinkets start rapping and home shaming them. Again, plenty of attention online. So maybe it has done its job. This one, in my eyes, is the toughest to justify this year.

Now, if like me, you grew up in a rural part of the UK, without the John Lewis Christmas advert, you wouldn’t even know what John Lewis was. The advert set the expectation. A welcoming brand at the high end of the market with an understanding of family/community.

It wasn’t until years later that I visited a store. And guess what? Helpful, knowledgeable staff, a welcoming, roomy store and pricing that reflected that. How did the advert do? Brand awareness? Tick. Market positioning? Tick. A resounding success if you ask me.

So, do they work?

Now the hyper-commercialisation of Christmas is a bugbear for a lot of people. And it is easy to feel like the message of peace, love and goodwill is being lost with all these adverts. However, looking at the adverts objectively, that doesn’t mean that they don’t work.

Put simply, if they didn’t work, the accountants in these large corporations wouldn’t let them happen.

You personally might hold a grudge on a Christmas advert or two, but chances are you’re talking about it and equally, it probably isn’t aimed at you. I suspect Christmas adverts are here to stay. There is a reason for that.

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