This Christmas the anticipation began as it usually does with a focus on the major brands Christmas ads and the competition to win Christmas (and the internet!) with their TV ads. Unlike times past, the real impact of these ads is not measured on TV itself but rather if they go viral on social media and strike an emotive chord with a mass audience online (clicks, Retweets, Likes… the whole shabang!). Increasingly, brands look to the response on social media to tangibly measure the success of TV ads in general. However, there is of course a particular importance on Christmas ads given that brands spent around £6bn collectively on Christmas advertising in 2017.
This year an unexpected ‘winner’ emerged from the pack ahead of the regular competitors like John Lewis and M&S. In the UK, the real victory came from Iceland and their acquisition of a Greenpeace video drawing awareness to the use of Palm Oil and its impact on the environment. While unconventional, the move paid off massively and significantly received all its impact via digital means as it was banned from airing on TV for being ‘too political’. Of course the banned status is music to the ears of any advertiser because there’s nothing the general public love more than a good ol’ bit of taboo deemed unworthy of their sensitive minds. Naturally, the video was shared far and wide and made an impact on audiences across many countries, beyond the intended UK audience. The impact of this ad was clear for all to see with a massive search volume spike for Palm Oil on Google which can be attributed directly to the awareness the ad generated.
Speaking of Google…
(You didn’t really think a digital marketer was going to write a blog and not mention Google, did you?!)
Through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops in the wonderful land of the USA; Google had their own Christmas ad ready to win the internet. Their ad focused on a grown up Macauly Culkin re-enacting famous scenes from the first Home Alone instalment with a few connected Google smart devices thrown into the mix. The associated nostalgia made millennials far and wide smile ear to ear.
Ultimately, the digital response makes or breaks Christmas ads and is arguably considered ahead of the actual intended platform of television. This is certainly true of Iceland and the very calculated decision to be controversial with their choice of Christmas ad this year. The results speak for themselves and show how ads function above consumption to drive action and change.
Here’s to the Christmas ads of 2018, we already can’t wait to see what the 2019 Christmas ads will bring!