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.