Why has emotion become so important for Christmas adverts?
8 December 2015 by Marketing Team
As we enter December, we’re on the final stretch towards the big day (Christmas!) Whilst, some of us will have finished our Christmas shopping in late October and are eagerly anticipating a full day of mulled wine, mince pies and gift wrapping, others will have waited for the Black Friday sales to snap up some bargains and many of us will be braving the late night Christmas Eve trolley dash! It’s this time of year when retailers fill our screens with adverts to enchant and entice us to their store to part with our hard earned cash with them and not their competitors.
Stakes are often high when it comes to a brand’s Christmas advert. With budgets being high and the rewards to be reaped becoming ever greater, undoubtedly a lot of time, effort and anticipation is put upon a brand’s Christmas ad. It is suggested at Christmas, a retailers outlook on advertising changes instead of saying ‘buy this – it’s great’, retailers play on the emotions of Christmas to associate their brand with their message, hoping to persuade the consumer to do their seasonal shopping with them. We can clearly see this trend, with those Christmas adverts released this year, particularly early in the 2015 festive season, with many retailers choosing to go for big budget emotion or smiles.
In today’s world and in particular, in the online shopping market it’s much easier to switch between brands for our Christmas gifts. So the anticipated Christmas advert will become ever more important in the likeability stakes to choose ‘me’ over the rival next door so that retailers have a profitable festive season. It’s all about tugging at heartstrings or raising a smile; having a ‘meaningful brand’ is important as brands which consciously make an effort to engage with their customers, gain on average 46% more share of a consumer’s spending. If brands focus on creating value for consumers they will in turn reap the rewards, especially during the festive season.
John Lewis is the most anticipated Christmas advert each year, and often the most emotive. This year’s advert saw them team up with Age UK to raise awareness about the elderly and loneliness at Christmas time with a heart-warming message which asks us to show someone they are loved this Christmas. John Lewis’s have always ‘topped trumps’ with their poignant Christmas ads resulting in great rewards from 2011’s ‘The long wait’ which was massively successful online with sales mirroring this ad’s popularity – up 9.3% to last year’s epic story of ‘Monty the penguin’ which with the ever increasing use of social media saw 7m views alone in one 24-hour period and sales increase by £96m in the week the ad launched, a 5% increase on 2013. John Lewis will undeniably be hoping to continue the success in both brand awareness and subsequent sales with this year’s ‘The Man on the Moon’ advert. Social media statistics already indicate continued success with the ‘The Man on the Moon’ advert clocked up a whopping 23,000 social media mentions in the first two hours compared to 2014’s ‘Monty the penguin’ advert’s 14,000 in the first day, according to Brandwatch.
It isn’t just John Lewis who hit us with emotional adverts at Christmas; the likes of Cadburys, Coca Cola and many of the top supermarket chains tap into our emotions with their advertisements. In particular, the Sainsbury’s 2014 advert in partnership with the British Royal Legion was the most-viewed ad on YouTube in the UK last year, pipping John Lewis’s Monty the Penguin, which was more popular globally. This year, Sainsbury’s have added in a bit of humour and reincarnated the loveable Mog the Cat, for an uplifting Christmas tale titled ‘Mog’s Christmas Calamity’.
Also, it isn’t just the UK who connects with this emotive sentiment at Christmas. Thanks to the power of the internet and social media, we have seen some of the best emotional Christmas advertisements from around Europe such as the German supermarket chain – Edeka’s advert and this year’s Spanish lottery advert, both of these ads going viral. Both tales tell heart-warming stories about the importance of Christmas and raising awareness of those who may be alone at the festive season. We can imagine that these brands will be seeing the same rewards at home, as John Lewis do here in the UK, especially if the buzz in Britain is anything to go by.
Moreover, with the rise of the Christmas advert being shared on social media particularly those with an epic story or heaps of emotional content, the theory behind this has been summarised by Dimitrios Tsivrikos, a lecturer at UCL. He believes that “We have become a lot more cynical…we’re looking for excuses to communicate emotions…ads are becoming almost a Trojan horse for our emotions of the season.” With many brands cottoning on to the trend of the emotive Christmas ads going viral (either way, good or bad, we’re all talking about these adverts, aren’t we?!) and the huge amount of free coverage that’s come from this, we can assume a festive season of epic, emotional adverts will long continue.
Furthermore, research conducted by Opinium Research saw emotion top the list when crowning the nations favourite Christmas advert of 2015 with over half of those that took part picking the Sainsbury’s Mog film as the nation’s favourite. Even though this is another emotional heavyweight, as mentioned above, maybe this shows that a little bit of humour needs to thrown into the emotional mix for a truly great Christmas advert.
Last year in our blog Monty the Penguin – everyone’s a winner, we knew this Christmas advert phenomena would be back and pondered what 2015 adverts would bring. They sure didn’t disappoint…so I guess here’s to waiting for 2016’s selection of Christmas adverts which will be sure to make us laugh, smile, or maybe even cry again!