The vouchers above are what’s left in my purse after I used seven others up on Monday. Which seems excessive.
At Boots, I used five vouchers, got three back and took advantage of a 3for2 resulting in over a tenner ‘saving’ on my basket of health and beauty stuff – and an extra £7 in points on my Advantage Card too. At M&S I bought nine greetings cards, used two vouchers, got another one back and paid £7.50 for the lot. I felt like one of those women from Extreme Couponing.
So the question is, have the big retailers ‘done a Boden’ for Christmas 2013 and, erm, adjusted their prices upwards to allow them to heavily utilise their loyalty schemes and associated vouchers, or has it all just got a bit out of hand? Not to mention, what will happen a fortnight before Christmas if everyone in the already long queue at Boots has half a dozen vouchers they want processing…
Since most of the big retailers have now shown their hand in the 2013 Great Festive TV Ad Standoff, now feels like a good time to pull them all together in one place.
Let’s start with John Lewis, a brand for whom the festive ad stakes were set very high following 2011 and 2012′s triumphs
It’s charming – and Lily Allen’s cover of Somewhere Only We Know is currently sitting at No2 in the itunes chart. You can also buy the cuddly toy, christmas card, slippers, onesie, children’s book etc. Talk about a media multiplier.
Next up we have Tesco
This is the Christmas ad that I’m sure John Lewis would have done if they hadn’t already used the idea for She’s Always a Woman in 2010. And their aging makeup was tons better than Tesco’s.
Asda have gone in the opposite direction to Tesco and led with Value
But I suspect that a more lifestyle-y offering from them might surface in December as there’s only so many OTSs a value-snowman analogy will stand up to. Nice use of Mel-or-Sue from the Great British Bake Off for the v/o though.
Talking of double acts, Morrisons have gone for Ant-and-Dec again to front their Christmas campaign
I’m not convinced that Ant-and-Dec are a great fit for Morrisons, especially as they also front I’m a Celebrity, which will be on air asap sponsored by…Iceland. I’m guessing that the brand recall research numbers are going to look disappointing here.
Sainsbury’s meanwhile have got the bloke who directed Last King of Scotland to make a 45minute documentary about Christmas home videos, which they are showing highlights from in their ad break slots
Which is…different, certainly. I actually think running clips as ads makes what is apparently all genuine footage look contrived at times, but it does stand out among the manufactured fuzziness that other retailers have churned out.
Aldi have basically pastiched themselves
- and that’s no bad thing
M&S seem to have mashed up the plot of Alice in Wonderland with Standard M&S Christmas Script and…well, I think ITIABTWC covers it better than I could
Also, two and a half minutes???
Boots have taken their ‘Lets…’ and ‘Feel good’ lines and put a new spin on them
I like it – and I strongly suspect the brief might have included the line ‘make Boots customers think of an extra person to buy a 3for2 gift for’
Debenhams is a bit of a yawn-fest
There’s so much product in there, it’s at the expense of standout and engagement.
I recon the winner so far is, unsurprisingly, John Lewis – but let’s see what Sainsbury’s and Iceland (who are working with a decent agency for once) can come up with.
I was in New York last weekend visiting a friend and I’m afraid that the subway system there defeated me completely. It turns out that it’s not just my near-legendary lack of direction that was to blame, my host claimed it took her weeks to get the hang of it and even the Lonely Planet says that “subway confusion is the great unifier in this diverse city”.
And it’s all down to bad design. The directional arrows sometimes mean ‘this platform’ and sometimes ‘up the stairs’. In some lights the orange and red lines look identical on signage. Uptown and Downtown trains are only identified typographically. And how the actual trains show where-you-are-and-where-you’re-heading seems to vary depending on the carriage’s age.
I was in an agency internal client team meeting recently, talking about some stuff I’d been working on, when someone else in the room piped up with “and the Insight Team have come up with this document that…”. I was taken aback for a moment – after all, traditionally Planning and Insight are normally pretty inseparable and Planning stuff for this client usually falls to me. Then I remembered they were talking about what The Maths Department had come up with.
Yep, data is so important to this Northern, mid-sized integrated agency that they have an in-house department of post-grad mathematicians, or Numerical Analysts. Not just one, a team of them.
It’s a bit scary from a fairly traditional Planner’s point of view to be reminded that Insight is now so firmly routed in data analysis – for this agency I’m strictly their go-to girl for Soft and Fluffy forms of insight. My stuff does fit in neatly for this agency’s client alongside the more numerical side of things, but will Planners soon need to start reassessing who owns or leads Insight? And what Insight really is exactly?
Because if Planning doesn’t have ownership of Insight, we’re going to have to either find a territory we can own, or learn to share – and be prepared to be second fiddle.
I came across this post from agency Sell!Sell! today, which basically says that agencies create unreasonable clients by consistently capitulating to unreasonable client demands.
Which is all very well, but as an agency you have to be in a pretty strong position to consistently say No to clients – you need a cash flow that doesn’t depend on the client’s next job coming your way or their account remaining with your agency. Or you need your client to think you’re so brilliant at what you do that they couldn’t find a comparable service elsewhere. It doesn’t really matter if you ARE brilliant or not, the client just has to believe that the grass isn’t greener at another agency. How many agency types can say that they’ve ever worked anywhere that either didn’t need the work or were so good that they could throw their weight around?
The fact is, that in the majority of cases, marketing communications is a buyer’s market. Some clients admittedly abuse this with moon-on-a-stick requests needed yesterday or briefs asking for caviar on a fish paste budget, some clients come from organisations where treating suppliers like dirt is part of the corporate culture and some clients are just unreasonable people full stop. But we still have to recognise that the relationship between buyer and seller is never going to change, so you’d better try and move yourself and your agency towards ‘trusted partner’ status if you want the power to occasionally push back.
And for those individual clients who are simply bullies – we’re watching you. And we’re probably bitching about you to our local agency mates too. If you ever decide to move agency-side you may find your employment options somewhat limited as your reputation precedes you…