What can we learn from the Christmas marketing campaigns we love?

Posted under Advertising, Content, Email, PR, SEO, Social Media, Website
Coca Cola Storytelling

We’ve had a tear in our eye watching the John Lewis Man on the Moon, giggled at the Lidl School of Christmas and gasped as that clumsy Mog getting himself in a real pickle. Of course, we’re talking about the Christmas adverts that are flooding onto our TV.

For many it’s not ‘officially’ Christmas until they see the Coca-Cola advert and it’s become a tradition to eagerly anticipate what track John Lewis have chosen to accompany their advert.

But we’re talking about big festive marketing campaigns, with huge budgets that mean they can afford to advertise in prime time slots during X Factor and Downton. We love these marketing campaigns and the warm, festive feeling they give us but surely they’re out of reach for the vast majority of brands?

The John Lewis ‘Man on the Moon’ campaign, with all facets (app, print advertising, TV slots) included, cost a whopping £7 million. On track with their usual Christmas spend but still an undeniably big figure.

So, without this price tag, is there anything the rest of us can learn from the big Christmas campaigns this year? I’ve picked out a few that we love in the office here at Media Matters and included a couple of takeaways for every brand:

House of Fraser’s You Don’t Own Me

To start with a Christmas campaign that’s not been spoken about in the press so much, or seen on every prime time TV slot, the House of Fraser campaign dubbed an ‘antidote to the festive fuzzy’ campaign is on our list for a few reasons:

1) They’ve debuted the campaign on Instagram
Instagram is the home of visual content and the platform is growing with 400 million monthly active users. House of Fraser’s decision to launch their Christmas campaign on Instagram is fitting for the messaging of the campaign. The campaign calls for everyone to play by their own rules this Christmas and Instagram is the home of self-expression!

Ultimately, successful marketing is about telling a great story, it’s about having a creative idea and then using the right platform to express it. House of Fraser have done exactly that with this year’s campaign.

2) They know their audience
Appealing to a younger, fashion-conscious demographic House of Fraser has chosen a message that steps away from the norm. It’s attention grabbing and   promotes independence – a hot topic amongst their audience. The music – ‘You Don’t Own Me’, by Grace, featuring G-Eazy – for the ad also matches the feisty, independent message. It goes without saying how important knowing your audience

Watch the House of Fraser advert, #YourRules, here

John Lewis’ Man on the Moon

John Lewis adverts always take Christmas by storm. Over the last few years we’ve all eagerly anticipated their release and we’ve not been disappointed yet. With big bucks spent on these campaigns – what could we still learn from them?

1) They know how to spread a little love and warmth at Christmas
John Lewis know it’s not all about pushing products. We want to get a warm fuzzy feeling from the campaigns we see at this time of year.

Man On The Moon Empathy

The Man on the Moon campaign definitely achieves that. But they’ve taken it a step further and they’ve integrated a strong CSR element to the campaign with the involvement of Age UK.

The message of caring for the older people in your life – showing someone they’re loved – at Christmas is one that resonates with us all. John Lewis are known for their ethical and socially responsible outlook, so combining a charitable message in their Christmas marketing is fantastic for their branding and engaging with their audience. That’s a cornerstone for every great campaign – engaging and on-brand messaging.

2) They know integrated marketing is the way forward
Whether it’s a Christmas, year-round, Easter or summer marketing campaign it’s so important that brands integrate their marketing. That means bringing different channels into a campaign, blending them together to achieve the very best results. John Lewis have got this down to a tee with their Man on the Moon campaign including extensive social media, an app, in-store advertising and much, much more.

Watch the John Lewis Man on the Moon advert here

Aldi’s Christmas spoof…

We can’t mention the John Lewis advert without including Aldi’s, quite frankly brilliant, spoof of the Man on the Moon campaign. Aldi have hit the nail on the head with this bit of marketing; it’s light-hearted and funny yet still maintains the heart warming message of the John Lewis campaign.

But what’s the main message we take away from the Aldi video? If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.

Aldi know they’re message ‘I like this one…but I like this one too’ is hugely popular, so they’ve put something we all love and combined it with something else (the John Lewis campaign) that’s trending. If you know something works, do more of it!

Watch the Aldi advert here

Mog’s Christmas Calamity by Sainsbury’s

Sainsbury’s Mog’s Christmas Calamity had us in stitches too. The campaign brings to life a character many loved throughout their childhood, in the famous Mog stories, and resonates with a common worry that the turkey will burn, the tree will be no good and all the presents will be ruined! But do not fear, Mog is about to ‘save the day’ but really it’s good old community spirit that makes sure Christmas isn’t cancelled.

Beyond the lovely messaging of the campaign, Sainsbury’s has also shown a few techniques and tactics we could all keep in mind for our festive marketing next year:

1) They’ve generated lots of extra PR
Off the back of the marketing campaign, the book ‘Mog’s Christmas Calamity’ written by Judith Kerr has shot to the top of best seller charts. Not only that, but the book’s popularity has made Judith Kerr, at 92, the oldest author to have reached the number one spot in UK charts. You can imagine the fantastic PR Sainsbury’s has managed to secure with that news in mind! Think creatively about how your campaigns could tie in some PR and generate that extra bit of coverage.

2) They’ve made the most of audience engagement on social media
Social media is all about talking to your audience – having them engage with your brand and communicate directly with you. Sainsbury’s have managed this perfectly over on their Facebook page, asking fans to post photos of their ‘Mog’ and encouraging videos of children reading the books to be sent in.

Sainsbury's made the most of audience engagement on social media

3) They know the importance of video content
Video content, when done right, is a quick win on social media. But professionally produced videos can take time and a fair bit of budget to create. Sainsbury’s have shown how easy it can be to create effective video content that’s engaging and reactive. For example, they recorded the reactions children had when watching the advert – a quick way to put a smile on people’s faces!

Watch Mog’s Christmas Calamity here

Any inspiration?

What Christmas adverts and marketing campaigns have you loved this year? Have you taken any inspiration from them, all ready for 2016? Let me know by leaving a comment!

Image credit: Creative Commons “Coca Cola Christmas Truck, Bournemouth 2013” by Let’s Go Out Bournemouth and Poole Licensed under CC BY 2.0

Dawn Strange

Dawn joined Media Matters when the business was just six months old. In 2018 she took over the reins as MD.

A former journalist and experienced PR professional (Dawn is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations), she has played a key role in Media Matters’ growth.

With 25 years behind it, Dawn relishes the opportunity to develop the company further while still remaining true to the core values that have earned Media Matters its excellent reputation to date.

Dawn oversees existing accounts and Media Matters’ multi-talented and multi-skilled team.

Out of work, she skis, ‘Moon Walks’ (for charity, not for fun!) and reads for Peterborough Talking Newspaper for the Blind.