M&S, John Lewis, Asda and Boots are a few big names who’ve hit the mark with their festive campaigns this year. But what makes a successful Christmas advert, and how can you use the principles behind these compelling campaigns in your own marketing strategy? We’ll break down some of our favourite ads from this year, discuss what makes them successful and offer our insight into how you can use these ads as an example to enhance your own campaigns.
The M&S advert depicts the typical scrooge-Esque type character that we’re all familiar with around Christmas time, whose attitude is wholly transformed when offered some M&S Christmas food! It doesn’t tell a particularly emotional story like most adverts, but that’s why we think it’s been successful. Whilst most food and drink retailers try to sell an experience rather than the food and drinks themselves, M&S know that consumers perceive their food as being premium, so they play on this by taking a product-first approach.
Our insight: when you have a premium product, you can afford to take a product first approach in your marketing campaigns and sell the USP that sets your product apart. If your product isn’t premium in the market, lead with your brand story instead. People buy into brand stories and how brands make them feel. Many people probably buy from M&S because it makes them feel slightly boujee!
The message: ‘It’s the things we do that mean the most.’
When we think of Christmas adverts, John Lewis instantly comes to mind! Their adverts are as extravagant as they are emotional, and they’re widely talked about year after year. This year’s Christmas ad tells the story of a big-hearted man who takes up skateboarding later in life. He finds it challenging, but he’s persistent and goes out on his skateboard until he (sort of) gets the hang of it. At the end of the advert, it becomes clear that he’s learning to skateboard – he and his wife are fostering a young teenager over Christmas who is interested in skateboarding themself.
The advertising lead for John Lewis said that the advert presented an opportunity for John Lewis to talk about something they cared about. Families are important to John Lewis as a brand, and since they’ve built up authority for their Christmas campaigns over the years, it’s no surprise that this advert is more purpose-led than ever before. John Lewis has combined brand building and awareness raising to create a campaign that promotes how they’re working to give children in care a better Christmas.
Our insight: If your brand values align with a particular cause, then this is something you can use in your marketing campaigns!
ASDA has taken footage of Will Ferrell from the Christmas classic Elf and turned it into their Christmas ad this year. They’ve repurposed his lines so that it looks like it’s his first day on the job working in Asda.
This ad is lighthearted and funny and stands out against the typical Christmas tear-jerking ads from John Lewis that we see year after year. Asda has gone big on their value ‘just essentials range’ this year, so a purpose-led ad like John Lewis or a product focus ad like M&S have gone for might have missed the mark.
Our insight: ASDAs 2022 Christmas ad is a breath of fresh air. It’s funny, lighthearted, and can be enjoyed by all. It’s a tricky year to strike the right tone with Christmas ads. Opulence and indulgence wouldn’t sit right with an audience during a cost-of-living crisis. ASDA recognised what their audience wanted to see from them and more than delivered! The lesson here is to always approach your campaigns with the right tone.
The message: ‘bring joy for all this Christmas.’
You know when you ask someone repeatedly what they’d like for Christmas, and their response is always ‘I don’t need anything…’ or ‘Just anything, I’m not fussy…’ – wouldn’t it be good to know what these people want to save all the guessing? Well, in their Christmas ad this year, boots create a pair of glasses that do just that! The ad depicts a woman with magical glasses that change how she sees the world. When she puts them on normal tree blossoms with fairy lights, her fellow commuters turn into festive party people and the bouncy Hall & Oates soundtrack bursts into life. Her glasses also let her see everyone’s deepest desires, letting her know what to get them for Christmas! On Christmas day, she puts the glasses on, but they don’t change her view of the world around her because everyone is truly satisfied and happy.
The ad is lighthearted, relatable (because wouldn’t we all love to know want to get people) and clever in that product placement is seamlessly integrated into the story. Our favourite this year – 10/10!
Our insight: This ad is relatable and integrates with Boots products. Boots have nailed how to tell a story whilst also relating it to what they offer. If you can do this – your ads will have deeper meaning and resonate more with your ideal clients.
And that concludes our roundup of the Christmas ads this year that (we think) have hit the mark! What’s been your favourite Christmas ad this year or in previous years? Have you learned anything new from this post that you’ll implement into your own ads? Let us know on socials!