3 marketing lessons from this year’s Christmas ads

The past few weeks have seen many major brands launch their 2017 Christmas advertising campaigns, online, on TV, on the radio and on billboards across the UK.

Typically, it’s the John Lewis Christmas ad that attracts the greatest level of anticipation and attention among consumers, with many seeing its premiere as the official start of the festive season.

Mihkel Jaatma, chief executive of media analysis firm Realeyes, said: “This year saw advertisers trying to be more authentic by using real-life situations, humour and romance to relate to people, which could be seen as a way to cheer them up via universal themes after what’s been another divisive and turbulent year.”

With so much fuss surrounding marketing at Christmas time, what key lessons can you take from this year’s major campaigns to apply to your own brand’s advertising strategy? Here’s our top three:

1. Don’t give away everything to your customers

One of this year’s most successful campaigns is from department store Debenhams, which features a modern-day Cinderella story that ends on a cliffhanger. The ad encouraged people to go online using the hashtag #YouShall to find out the rest of the story, meaning they had to engage with the brand on a closer level in order to do so.

This is a very clever tactic and one that you can easily use when advertising your brand. Don’t give everything away in the marketing messages you put out there. Leave customers wanting more so that they have to interact with your brand more closely. Creating a hashtag that they can use to access more about your brand will help to raise your profile and generate conversation outside of your immediate audience.

2. Tap into your audience’s emotions

A big reason that the John Lewis advert is so successful each year is because it taps into people’s emotions. It traditionally involves a heartwarming story, cute characters and a relatable scenario that are designed to reach consumers on a personal level, making them feel a deeper connection with the brand – all of which are useful tactics to employ in your own campaigns.

In fact, research carried out by the Advertising Standards Association has found that almost half of Brits have been moved to tears by a Christmas ad in the past, which is something many consumers view as a sign of a successful campaign.

3. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

 This final lesson comes from Coca-Cola, which has been showing the same Christmas advert each year for the past two decades. Its ‘Holidays are Coming’ Christmas truck ad has become another popular culture symbol of the start of the festive season, with analysis from Realeyes showing that its first screening this year was the most emotionally engaging ad premiere of the season.

The key takeaway from this is that if you enjoyed particular success with a marketing campaign in the past, relaunching it – or at least repurposing some of the content from it – could prove a smart move for your brand. Of course, you’ll need to make sure that your messaging is still relevant and adapt it if not, but Coca-Cola has consistently demonstrated that the old adage is true – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

 Source: BBC, The Drum, Campaign Live

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