Do people really judge a retailer by its Christmas advert?

We don’t anticipate advertising campaigns at any other time in the year like we do at Christmas. The big retailers’ Christmas campaigns landing has become a major event. But the main question is, do people really judge a retailer by its Christmas TV advert?

The battle to get the prime-time slots with the most viewers is serious business. The amount of money thrown at these campaigns would lead you to believe it’s worth the investment.

With shoppers expected to spend a colossal £80 billion in the final six weeks of the season, (according to findings by the Centre for Retail Research report for VoucherCodes) it appears it very much is worth the spend!

Yet, often it’s the humble ‘little guys’ that win the hearts and minds battle of the Christmas adverts. This year that’s been true with the £100 Christmas advert by a local hardware shop in Wales – Hafod Hardware. It’s gone viral with over 2.5 million views and counting.

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This has made it a serious contender for the 2019 Christmas top spot. Imagine how big this advert could’ve been if it received even a tiny slice of a major store’s advertising budget.

Christmas lights

It’s been reported a record £6.8 billion is being spent on advertising by retailers this year. It also brings into question what people value now, and it seems cute little dragons don’t quite cut it.

After attending the 2019 Sainsbury’s Farming Conference, it was interesting to see their festive offering. Nicholas the Sweep led with a nostalgic look back 150 years when Sainsbury’s launched its first store.

The implication of the hero of the story growing up to be Saint Nick is very clever. Yet it doesn’t seem to have resonated with the audience as expected. In a ranking, based on how brands won heart on social media (research conducted by global data science company 4C), they came out bottom of the pile.

Christmas baubles

The list of top retailers delivering emotive, sentimental Christmas adverts goes on, with Tesco nailing the top slot in the rankings.

Social media engagement with the brand increased by an average of 146% in the five minutes following the start of each advert aired on TV. This resulted in the highest ‘TV Social Lift Score’.

We could analyse which Christmas advert performed the best all day long. But fundamentally it comes down to so many interconnecting factors. Advertising as part of a much wider strategy needs to deliver on all levels and all platforms. It needs to resonate and reach out to the right audience at the right time with the right message.

All that aside, do we judge a supermarket by their advert? Does it really impact our shopping habits? For me, living rurally, with only a couple of local stores to choose from, I don’t think so. That said, I do enjoy the festive buzz and warm fuzzy feeling the advertising battle creates.

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