Covid has presented many challenges for advertisers and retailers and the hotly anticipated Christmas campaigns are no exception. Planning and production on big budget TV ads start early and this year navigating government guidance, consumer confidence and mood has made it harder than ever. We’re just over a month out and we still don’t know what Christmas will look like!
Will it be the year for small turkeys and lots of zoom calls, or will families be allowed to meet up?
What’s the right tone to hit? Is a big budget ad with whistles and bells just what we need or does it smack of insensitivity.?
Will retailers have their doors open for last minute present buying or will the the roads just be overrun with Amazon, Yodel and Hermes deliveries.
How far will buyers open their wallets this year? Will it be a tightening of belts in the face of economic insecurity or a splash out given we haven’t been able to spend our money on anything else!
Clients, planners and creatives have had to make some tough calls early on and then produce ads within the new health and safety protocols.
So how have the big brands navigated this uncertainty? Here are our thoughts on this year’s ads.
Gary Barlow and a sprinkling of magic is a great start for feelgood factor, with an uplifting song that is getting plenty of airtime on the radio. Argos have nailed it this year – we’ve never needed a little magic quite so much!
Another thing we all need is some escapism and Smyths deliver it in spades with a whole new imaginary world. This ad has two audiences to play to – children for pester power and adults who hold the purse strings. An imaginary world is appealing to us all at the moment – there’s not a mask in sight!
It wouldn’t be Christmas without reviewing the John Lewis ad and to think they contemplated not doing one this year. As in recent years, they are taking it back to thoughtfulness and random acts of kindness. Great to see the charity tie up at the end. As always there are plenty of alternative versions on youtube again this year.
With an oscar winning actress doing the voiceover and £2 million donated to the charities of Olivia Colman’s choice, this next ad is big on food and charity if a little predictable.