My Thoughts On Christmas Advertising This Year

Ever year, the beginning of Christmas is marked by the release of the John Lewis (and Partners) advert, which this year premiered on social media on Friday 13th November 2020. Surely one of the most challenging and bizarre years since the company started trading, many people had eyes on the brand to see how they’d approach their iconic Christmas campaign this year.

Would they address Covid, or ignore it completely? The news came out a few weeks ago that this year, the advert would partner up with FareShare and Home Start, so we already knew there’d be some sense of purpose behind the campaign this year. But what the advert would be based around was left to speculation, until this morning.

Give A Little Love… To The John Lewis Advert

Opinions are mixed every year, you’ll never please everybody. I, personally, really like this ad. It’s the right balance of emotional but spirited, whilst reminding us of what truly matters. For 2020, John Lewis has opted for a campaign that shares the message of spreading kindness and – as they’ve coined it – giving a little love. It couples changing formats with a string of events and for me – it really works. What more, I love that it supports two charities that do amazing work. There’s already lots of information how you can show your support – including a novelty range by John Lewis where all funds raised from purchases go directly to the organisations.

I love that a number of items are out of stock already, helping John Lewis & partners achieve its target of raising £4million for the two charities

I asked what my followers thought of the ad, here’s your verdict…

Reading The Room: Should Christmas Ads Cover Covid?

One question on the minds of many this year was whether brand should be acknowledging Coronavirus in their Christmas content this year. Earlier this week I shared an article from the Drum which covered whether brands will ‘stick to the sparkle’ this year, or address a more harrowing reality. I personally maintain that Christmas ads have the opportunity to offer an escape, and we don’t need reminding of the now – because we’re living it. Brands such as Asda have already said that they’ll touch on how Christmas “isn’t going to be the same this year”, but is that really necessary? Businesses should be trying to lift our spirits, not bring them down. Here’s what my followers thought (61.9% agreed with me)…

I also asked a few more questions today relating to Christmas ads. one of them was pretty similar to what I asked a couple of days ago, I wanted to know whether my followers thought companies should be acknowledging Coronavirus at all, or not. This is what was said…

I was surprised to see how many people thought yes. I stick to the view that we are living through this, and the idea of Christmas dinners over Zoom is looking like a stark reality. I don’t think people need to be reminded of this, and I don’t necessarily see much benefit to brands broadcasting it either. This isn’t really what Christmas is about, is it? Maybe at the beginning, the idea of virtually living and the new normal was a novel one, but I think as we’re well over half a year into tis pandemic, it’s worn off. The mood feels generally quite low at the moment, why exasperate that?

Naturally, everybody will have different opinions on this (that what makes human beings brilliant) and as my poll suggests – we’re pretty torn on the matter.

To Twitter Or Not To Twitter?

Another hurdle for Christmas ads – is how to release them. Traditionally, ads would have a prime time TV slot for premiering their content, but we’re now in the era where social media trumps most other forms of communications.

Personally, I still love the idea of the first airing of an advertisement being on TV – like it used to be. However, in a time of Netflix and catch up services, there’s just not as many people tuned in live TV as there used to be. I thought that spreading the word of when people could catch the first glimpse of the ad might work, you can leverage the media and social to share that, to get people excited – but in reality due to the vast amount of users, you’re probably missing a trick by not using social media to reveal your content.

Generating the hype with hints and tips isn’t something that John Lewis has really done this year, other than when the news came out that they’d be teaming with Home Start and FareShare. Remember when they released all the teasers for the Moz the monster ad? Twitter accounts and hashtags were just two of the ways they began to set the mood. I feel if you’re gearing up for a release on social media, then it’s a nice idea to rustle up that excitement beforehand, the way they did in 2017. It’s a shame we didn’t see that this year, but that being said it does pay to change tack every now and again.

Here’s what you thought on the best way to release your Christmas content…

Interesting to see a mix of opinions there for sure – and I think these results are definitely indicative of the changing landscape of marketing and communications. If you have any more thoughts to add, then let’s talk Christmas. Find me in the comments below or on Twitter.

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