Thursday 14th of December 2017
Christmas is such a commercial occasion that now the mere mention of it is likely to conjure up in your mind at least one or two memorable adverts from brands promoting their festive offerings. All FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) brands need a consistent, clear and catchy marketing message for the festive period – and there’s lots to be learnt from those already managing successful campaigns of all sizes.
Christmas offers up the opportunity for businesses to tell a story rather than just sell a product; instead explaining, describing or invoking a thought, feeling, memory or experience. This is not easy to do but specialist marketers can master this. The PromoMEDIA team can help you achieve this magic in your messaging - http://www.promo-media.co.uk/
The now infamous Coca-Cola Christmas Trucks are over twenty years old, having launched in 1995 under the name ‘the Christmas caravans’. Consistency has been key for Coca-Cola in their Christmas communications: with near-identical adverts broadcasting on television (http://www.promo-media.co.uk/type-of-ads/tv-adverts), print (http://www.promo-media.co.uk/type-of-ads/press-adverts) and radio (http://www.promo-media.co.uk/type-of-ads/radio-adverts) across 100 countries worldwide. Slight geographic adaptations are made to account for language, cultural characteristics and packaging differences. Nowadays, the next step has been taken to modernise the marketing by making it interactive, in line with present-day consumer expectation. Coca-Cola have invested in a series of physical trucks that ‘tour’ countries to give customers (and potential customers) a photo opportunity and to get hold of further marketing material and free samples. This dive into experiential marketing broadens appeal to consumers and allows them to share their experience with the brand across social media or other social channels – broadening the brand’s reach even further. And yet, have you ever seen a genuine Coca-Cola lorry making a delivery of soft drinks in time for Christmas?
Indeed Coca-Cola’s Christmas marketing presence is now so famous that it’s often claimed the brand themselves are responsible for colouring Santa Claus’ suit red. This urban legend is just that (St Nicholas, who was around the in 4th Century and is the clergyman from which the character is derived wore traditional red and white robes), but it goes to show just how large an impact marketing done well can have - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDoDUC9M0Sg
In the UK, department store John Lewis have fast become a Christmas ‘institution’ with the unveiling of a television advert that is long awaited every year. Again, John Lewis’ adverts focus little on products but more on the happy, warm feeling of being with family and experiencing a Christmas period with those consumers care about. Perhaps the most notable of these ads thus far have been “The Bear and The Hare”, accompanied by a song by Lily Allen (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NW2EmATcb6o) , and “The Man On The Moon” accompanied by an Oasis song (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuz2ILq4UeA). Both demonstrated the importance of the ‘coming together’ of people at Christmas and as an aside, fundraised for popular British charities.
John Lewis have built this cult-like media and social interest (http://www.promo-media.co.uk/type-of-ads/social-media)into their adverts by only releasing one a year and ensuring the press have advance warning of it, building ‘hype’ before it airs. Even if the reception isn’t as positive as hoped, the ‘buzz’ around the brand’s marketing is by that point so large that it rarely matters – the desired communications have been heard and seen by the masses. John Lewis too have built an interactivity into their festive marketing messaging, by selling related products (often cuddly toys of characters featured in the television skits) in their stores. Limiting supply of these again allows for a ‘buzz’ to be built as consumers stress to buy them quickly before stocks sell out.
Take your marketing to the next level by offering consumers experiences, not just messages. Contact the PromoMEDIA team to discuss concepts and ideas to suit all types and sizes of brand.
Marks & Spencer’s (http://www.marksandspencer.com/) lingering shots on steaming, dripping or ripping food invoke a hunger for delicious home-cooked meals, dinner parties and social eating occasions that can be rarely be found on other such grocery marketing. These television and print adverts require a degree of styling but are extremely low-budget and elevate the products featured to more than just a ‘quick fix’ purchase for dinner. M&S rely on simplicity and quality – a key value of the brand that translates exactly into their festive marketing.
Grocery retailer Sainsburys (http://www.sainsburys.co.uk/) have also focused on building a picture of a happy Christmas; in whatever form that may be. Conjuring up memories of yesteryear by reflecting on historical scenes, their 2014 television presence focused on commemorating a century since the beginning of World War 1 by staging a video of the Christmas Day truce resulting in a football match between sides and (in line with their products on offer, of course) sharing a chocolate bar. Christmas is a time for remembrance and if managed correctly and appropriately, using marketing for reflection can be extremely poignant.
Playing with existing traditions and favoured seasonal products, images and experiences is another tactic that can reap brand benefits when managed precisely. Businesses’ must stay aware of public opinion and never be seen to slate or defame a favourite, but there is definite leeway to play around in (copyright permissions permitting, of course). Irn Bru (http://www.irn-bru.co.uk/all/xtra) demonstrated this brilliantly back in 2007 with their humorous take on the 1982 animated film ‘The Snowman’. Using the lyrics of the accompanying song ‘Walking In The Air’, the ad amended the words to a funny ditty around the brand and featured the snowman and his companion flying over Scotland. There’s no doubt it was a risk to play with such a well established Christmas film, but the risk paid off – and was the perfect fit for a risqué and gimmicky brand.
You don’t need to sprinkle snow on everything or photoshop in a Santa hat to revitalise your brand for the festive season. Speak to the PromoMEDIA media buying team (http://www.promo-media.co.uk/media-buying/) and they can help find you a modern, innovative and new take on festive branding.