Ellie Rymer

Grayling London, Victoria

The festive season is upon us, heralded by the launch of Christmas ad campaigns from the retail heavyweights. In recent years we’ve seen the rise of ads that are akin to mini-blockbusters complete with premier-style first screenings. And this year is no different with seasonal offerings from the big hitters, Marks & Spencer and John Lewis, once again raising the bar – breaking new ground in advertising spend, multi-media campaigns and social engagement. 

’Tis the season to be social

Both M&S’s ‘Believe in Magic and Sparkle’ campaign and ‘The Bear and Hare’ from John Lewis launched online ahead of their much-anticipated TV debuts – reflecting the significance retailers place on social channels. Businesses across the board are anticipated to spend 11 per cent more online in the last quarter of 2013 compared with the same period last year. For retailers, this is where their most loyal fans reside and where a campaign is elevated from an advert to an event.  To date the John Lewis advert has clocked up over 5.5 million views on YouTube and the retailer has seen its social media followers and fans grow by tens of thousands.

Changing consumer attitudes

A number of this year’s Christmas ad big hitters are also signalling a marked shift in consumer attitudes – moving from a ‘saving’ to a ‘spending’ message. The Marks & Spencer high-gloss two minute campaign, staring Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, David Gandy and Helena Bonham-Carter, epitomises this shift.

As some analysts rightly predicted, this year’s Christmas trend is about luxury, indulgence and treating yourself. The austerity message seems to be a thing of the past reflecting the more optimistic economic climate. Brands are encouraging us to think about ‘wants’ rather than ‘needs’ and are capturing our imagination as they do so.   

Retailers are expected to spend around £390m on ads in the last quarter of 2013, according to market analyst Nielsen. Time will tell what impact these big-budget campaigns have had on sales but for now they are certainly creating impact, generating online conversation and bringing seasonal cheer to customers.  

Follow the Grayling South West team on Twitter @GraylingPR_SW 

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