The wrap on Christmas campaigns in the time of chaos

Once a religious holiday happily sharing it’s territory with jolly Santas and shining Rudolph noses, seeing shoppers contently balance carol singing with armfuls of gifts…our increased exposure to world events has sent even the consumerist of buyers home with handfuls of UNICEF donation vouchers and a ‘#HugMe’ Instagram post.

Unfortunately unless you are already working the ‘goodwill’ retail angle, this makes the need to buy ‘stuff’ a challenging sell. But having never met an advertising exec that didn’t enjoy a challenge, even some of the more product/price retailers have invested in more emotionally charged campaigns…just unfortunately most of it isn’t in Australia.

John Lewis #ManontheMoon does it best, this year focusing on remembering those that might be alone this Christmas in an emotionally charged ad that taps into our basic human instinct to want to help each other. A campaign that perfectly balances the consumer triggers to rush in-store, without feeling guilty about it…contained under an ongoing positive brand building strategy.

Sainsburys ‘Christmas is for Sharing’ ad, keeps it light hearted, but again brings in a feeling of togetherness to make the day special even when you have lost all the things you thought were important in the first place…a much bigger and very relevant message than what the creative leads us to believe at first.

Coca Cola’s #SharetheGood might have us raising a little pollution flag, but the overall message is again using the air time for spreading a message of community togetherness, vs. the usual party theme.

Woolworths takes a handy cam approach at looking into how everyday families make their Christmas special, focusing on the celebration around the food and not the food itself. A nice campaign given recent struggles the brand has been facing.

And finally, T.K. Maxx goes one step further and combines cheap and cheerful value messaging with goodwill, in a beautiful ad around caring in your community, showing that price and bigger picture selling can be done together.

Sure it’s the season of giving so these ads are to be somewhat expected from the majors. But while community goodwill is trending, the Christmas campaign market, especially locally, is surprisingly still largely ignoring a bigger picture consumer sentiment, in favour of traditional and easier low, low price and ‘I want’ stuff messaging.

While we are not convinced most brands, especially in Australia, are oblivious to this evolving socialist consumer mindset, it is interesting to note how many are ignoring it, in favour of product&price, yell&tell campaigning…a message difficult to build a brand on in the long term and one the consumer forgets quickly as soon as they are distracted by a more compelling message format.

Of course the proof is in the Christmas pudding and with profit margins expected to be squeezed this year, we will be on the look out to see if a re-evaluating consumer can indeed be persuaded to keep buying whatever the method, or if they are rejecting retail overall for the simpler things.

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