Corporate & Institutional Communications / English / Marketing & Advertising / Uncategorized

What makes a perfect Christmas ad?


Just a sniff

Until that tree comes down it’s still Christmastide…

You would think by now that everything had already been tested. Thankfully, the secret of the perfect Christmas ad, with just enough emotion to bring a tear to your eye without descending into embarrassing schmaltz, is elusive. I say thankfully, otherwise we would be all weeping every time we turned on the television.

Or maybe not. As we look at advertising we have to understand that the propensity to make the audience cry — and therefor more likely to buy –also depends on the demographic of the target.  The “truth” being told in the ad will resonate differently with different age groups. Adolescents are less prone to cry than their parents, when shown sibling or filial love.  The highly emotional advertising we now see in Britain really took off with the latest American-made financial crisis, as highstreet stores had to fight for survival.  I’m thinking of the new emotional strategy that the middle-income, fairly premium british department John Lewis adopted when faced with ruin. Since their ad, The Long Wait (which recently reduced one of my middle-aged students to tears), there has been a veritable Christmas ad contest. This contest has seen beautiful photography and music used to tell emotional short stories in ever longer formats. Of course, many retailers stick to the 30-second, medium-level-celebrity-in-a-Santa-outfit, fake-snow-and-gifts genre, but they aren’t the ones creating excitement.  Of the contenders (John Lewis, M&S, Sainsbury’s, House of Fraser, H&M), you will see Santa outfits and fake snow, but none of that jingle-bell jarring.  As far as I’m concerned, the winners this year are M&S, with it’s sparkle and subversion of the gender roles, as well as it’s story and photography (watch here) and a surprise from Poland (demonstrating, no doubt, my ignorance) which you can watch here. If you don’t cry, you probably aren’t old enough.