Wednesday, 16 November 2016

A brand is not just for Christmas

Anyone who ever says that TV advertising is dead should just take a look at what happens in the UK - and other markets - at this time of year. The John Lewis Christmas ad, with its resulting discussions, polls and parodies, has become as much a part of the British advent tradition as Love, Actually on the TV.

And it's not just John Lewis. There's a shop-load of retailers out there all fighting it out over laughter and tears, and who can bag the most. Waitrose's homesick robin probably wins the Kleenex prize this year, while M&S have gone all-out on middle-aged girl power with Mrs Santa Claus. I have a sneaky suspicion that they probably wanted Emma Thompson for this role.

Now to the bad, sad, bizarre and ugly. Argos have speed-skating day-glo yetis, while Sainsbury's have got a cringemaking song and a tired-looking animation that ticks all the diversity boxes but failed to charm me. And finally, Aldi features an intrepid carrot called Kevin who is variously seen awaiting the John Lewis ad and clambering over a Christmas dinner that will be stone cold and congealing come Christmas Day. I think I prefer the seriously weird German Aldi advertising.

The other thing that occurs to me about this yearly Christmas laughter-and-tears contest is that in some cases it smacks of fiddling while Rome burns. M&S along with a few other retailers are in serious financial trouble this year. Wouldn't their time and money be better spent improving their offer, experience and service?

But my favourite TV ad so far isn't for a retailer, it's a French ad for Milka directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. The story of an advent calendar with more than a nod to H.G.Wells.



Barbara Fisher said...

Hi Sue, the Milka advert as shared by you wins hands down as far as I’m concerned although I do love the John Lewis one with Buster the dog. I’m not keen on the M&S one and cannot understand why they are spending so much money when they are clearly in trouble.
Terry and I saw the Coke advert (with the lorry) on TV the other night. We both looked at one another and said, “it’s Christmas." That often happens after 46 years of marriage! Mind you, it is amazing how it is instantly recognisable. They only showed a tiny bit of it, but that was all that was needed.

Sue Imgrund said...

I know the feeling, with the Coke ad.

The Heathrow Christmas ad is quite cute, too:

Sue Imgrund said...

Or this version, which I think is the right music:

Barbara Fisher said...

I loved that, thank you! This time last year, we were eagerly awaiting our family from Australia so naturally it made me think of that.
I shared the link with Willie (he of the comments on my blog) he declared it rubbish – just goes to show you can’t please all the people all the time. Anyway, I completely disagree with him! I think it is beautiful.

Sue Imgrund said...

Each to their own! I know a lot of people who think adverts are rubbish because ... they're adverts, and it's all too obviously manipulative. That's the point of advertising, though, and when it does it with charm, who minds being manipulated?

But there are some ads others find wonderful which I can't bear. I don't like all those 'social experiment' type ads (which Dove started) with that depressing plinky piano music and people getting all teary. That's rubbish for me!

Sue Imgrund said...

And now it's time to get the Kleenex out. Or Tempo, which is the German equivalent: