Christmas ads compared and contrasted

Although it seems a bit early, what with Christmas still being six weeks away, all the big stores have rolled out their festive campaigns, so it’s as good a time as any to do a compare-and-contrast exercise.  Let’s start with the supermarkets:

ASDA and Morrisons’ agencies seem to have been working from a very similar brief, but both executions appear to fall slightly short of explaining why their megadupasupermarket should be Mum’s one-stop-shop for Christmas and what they do to make Mum’s life easier at the most stressful time of the year.

Tesco are leading with Clubcard at the moment (and as ITIABTWC pointed out, surprisingly un-exciting for an ad out of W&K), but I’m guessing that the Big Festive Ad is still to come.

But I rather like this little teaser that preceded the one above as although it may not be warm and fuzzy it does embody the Mum’s ‘gearing up for Christmas’ mentality.

And W&K have just (this bit is an update on 13/11) released their Tesco Christmas Compilation, which boasts a really nice insighty buy-your-fizz-from-us ’30 at the beginning and an equally lovely more tactical one for their click and collect service at the end  (I like the cracker hat on the logo too).

Waitrose appear to have opted-out entirely and are donating their production budget (but not their airtime one) to charidee, but I suspect that we’ll still see some tactical work from their nearer the big day.

Aldi have played a blinder, with a campaign that works on a brand and tactical level, has a cracking strapline and still allows them wiggle room to run more executions of their Like Brands work in parallel.

Sainsbury’s finally broke their festive campaign on November 13th (a good week after some of the others – this bit is an update on the 13th too).  Like Tesco they seem to be going for lots of vignettes rather than a Big Brand Lifestyle Ad – and with a nice approach focusing on making more ‘Christmas Days’ by encouraging their customers to enjoy the season, rather than just the day itself.

Meanwhile, Iceland have ditched the ‘That’s why Mums go to Iceland’ line in favour of something more foody, more aspirational and, let’s be honest, more upmarket.  With every family now merrily portfolio shopping round several stores for their grocery needs it makes sense to try to encourage new customers to make a pit stop at Iceland too in the run up to December 25th.

As for the department stores, they seem to fall into two camps – ‘happy people with product’ and ‘like John Lewis please’.

M&S’s offering leaps all over the place.  According to the youtube blurb it’s about using the Greatest (music) Hits to accompany what they believe will be the greatest hits, gift-wise this year.  But I’m not sure that comes across.  Bonus points for embracing diversity though (and semi-tastefully PRing it).

Debenhams seem to have stuck a foot in both camps with their Christmas Journey approach, however as their agency appears to be contractually obligated to get the actual Designers at Debenhams physically into every ad, this would have hampered their style a bit.

John Lewis have again gone for a mush-tastic approach with their snowman shopping for his snowlady – but here the brand feels like much more of an afterthought than it did last year. You could just as easily have plonked House of Fraser’s logo on the end frame.  Or the Wool Marketing Board.  Or even a dating agency.

Which leaves Littlewoods.  Now that Mayleene Klass is off the M&S roster Littlewoods have snapped her up to sprinkle a little magic on their campaign (we’re like a department store! only more affordable!) – perhaps taking this a little too literally by turning her into Santa’s Helpful Fairy.

Finally (for now) I’m including Boots as there’s a lot of range cross-over with the Debenhams of this world and their festive campaign is rather fab.  ‘Gifts that keep on giving’ is a lovely line – and a lovely way of lifting the standard ‘generic beauty gift’ into something much more thoughtful, valuable and personal.

As I said, this is just the beginning, with six weeks to go I hope we’ll be seeing lots of fresh executions.  Otherwise we’re all going to get very bored very quickly.  Bah humbug.

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