Does That Big Christmas TV Commercial Really Work?

Does That Big Christmas TV Commercial Really Work?

Now that the eagerly anticipated Christmas TV commercial from John Lewis has appeared, does it live up to its hype?

Yes, it’s a superb piece of film featuring Elton John and at 2 minutes and 20 seconds long, is easy to watch. It’s warm, it’s engaging and it looks and sounds great.

However, would it make you buy more from John Lewis?

Sainsbury’s, M&S, Tesco and other big retailers all have their Christmas ads on air, but my next question is this; can you tell them apart ?

Boots have cleverly squeezed their brand logo into shot in the middle of their Christmas ad, but for the others, you must wait until the end to be sure who the commercial is for.

The purpose of great advertising is to disrupt markets, grab attention and encourage the consumer to do something. Visit, download or buy. I’m not sure any of them do this, although without evidence to the contrary, that is simply an observation.

Has Iceland done it better?

The Iceland Christmas ad, featuring the baby ‘Rang-tan’ certainly engages. Banned from TV by Clearcast, it uses animation to plead the case of the World’s disappearing natural forests to accommodate the march of Palm Oil.

This film has had no mainstream television exposure but has generated much press publicity, has taken social media by storm and has generated millions of views online. You might argue that it has been successful because it was banned.

Even Coke got it wrong!

If you can remember 1979 and one of the earliest big brand productions, you will recall that it was produced by Coke.

Called ‘Hilltop’ and shot from the air, it homed in on a young woman singing ‘I’d like to teach the world to sing’. As the camera panned away, you could see that she was stood on top of a hill surrounded by a choir of kids.

In his book, ‘The end of marketing as we know it’, Sergio Zyman, explains why, as marketing director of Coca-Cola, he pulled the ad.

Zyman says, “I know you loved that ad. Everyone loved that ad. But did it sell any more Coke? Nope. All it did was give people a nice, fuzzy feeling about Coca-Cola.”

In fact, it lost market share over the period the commercial ran.

The hard sell is often more effective?

On the other hand, you will see the television ‘infomercials’, QVC or Ideal World, for example, where personalities are promoting all sorts of gadgets and wax lyrical about the features and benefits of said product.

Then they ask us to pick up the phone and spend twenty pounds to one or two hundred pounds. And we do – in droves!

Which is better? The big feel-good production with roaring fires, food and Christmas Trees, or the hard sell that sets the tills ringing even as the commercial is still on air?

Watch Coke’s ‘Hilltop’ here

Watch Iceland and ‘Rang-tan’ here

Watch the main 2018 Christmas TV Commercials here on our content page

And one campaign that did disrupt the market in a massive way – ‘Compare the Market’ – with Aleksandr, our favourite Meerkat!

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