Unwrapping the next level of Christmas advertising
08th November in Inbound, Marketing, Strategy, Uncategorised
As the festive season twinkles on the horizon, our favourite brands are preparing to dazzle us with their annual Christmas campaigns. November’s arrival marked the release of highly anticipated seasonal ads by several household names, each vying for our attention in their own unique ways, whether by tugging at our heartstrings or tickling our funny bones.
The cherished Christmas ad unquestionably remains the centrepiece of any seasonal campaign, but everyone knows that in today’s overcrowded landscape of e-commerce, social media and mobile advertising, brands must engage with consumers on multiple fronts to stand out.
Gone are the days of relying solely on traditional TV or print ads—an omnichannel strategy ensures your brand’s presence is persistent and captivating, regardless of where your audience interacts with it.
Spreading holiday cheer across all channels
The transition to an omnichannel approach in seasonal advertising is afoot, and the proof is in the pudding—just take a look at household names (and regular Christmas contenders), Waitrose and M&S.
While both brands have upped the ante this year by releasing star-studded Christmas ads, they’ve also embraced diverse marketing initiatives by investing in paid and organic social media efforts, brand endorsements and experiential marketing. Let’s dive into their strategies and explore the potential of adopting an omnichannel approach in our own marketing campaigns.
Doing Christmas Hollywood-style
Pulling out all the stops this year, M&S has enlisted the star power of Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, the dynamic duo known for their ownership of Wrexham AFC, including their roles in Welcome to Wrexham, a Disney+ documentary that recently had everyone talking. In a heart-warming animated ad, the duo lend their voices to a pair of mittens, sharing the screen with actress and comedian, Dawn French, who continues to sprinkle her fairy dust across the M&S Christmas series.
Partnering up with celebrities isn’t just about adding glamour to the mix; it’s all about connecting with a broader audience. By securing Reynolds, who boasts an impressive 50 million Instagram followers, and McElhenney, with 2 million followers, M&S definitely added some major digital firepower to their campaign.
This year, Waitrose decided to give itself a trendy makeover in collaboration with advertising company, Saatchi & Saatchi. Their Christmas ad is a swanky and stylised soirée, where the charming chat show host, Graham Norton, makes a cameo appearance. His personal Instagram account boasts over 600k followers, whereas The Graham Norton Show’s account has 1.7 million followers and counting.
Waitrose took a sharp turn with this year’s Christmas ad from the one they released last year. In 2022, we followed the heart-warming journey of farmers tending to brussel sprouts, apples, turkeys and bees throughout the seasons, all leading up to a family’s joyous celebration around a Christmas dinner table. Fast forward to 2023, and the newest ad is dancing to an entirely different tune. It abandons the familiar scenes of family gatherings and instead plunges into sophisticated, adult-only home celebrations. Take a look below.
A user-generated holiday season
It’s no secret that both M&S and Waitrose are well-versed in the art of user-generated content. We regularly see them tap into the creativity of their staff by turning them into content creators for their local customer base on platforms like TikTok, Instagram and Facebook.
@marksandspenceraintree_Come down to M&S Aintree for all your Christmas essentials🎄🎅🏽☃️❄️🎁♬ original sound – EX7STENCE™
This holiday season, in addition to their high-budget video productions, both brands have been releasing seasonal short clips that are raking in millions of views each week—completely organically. It’s not just about what they put on their shelves as retailers; it’s about the authentic connection they foster with their audience.
@waitrose WELL THIS LOOKS MERRY NICE 😍 Our new festive friend Merry the Mince Pie is made from hollow white chocolate with a touch of milk chocolate. We’ve doubled the delicious by adding a crushed biscuit base, Belgian chocolate, double cream and caramel sauce inside! Spoon, anyone? 🥄🤤 Head to the link in bio for the full recipe 👆 #TimeForTheGoodStuff #hack #foodhacks ♬ Disney-style fanfare-style BGM – harryfaoki
A digital extravaganza
Video content aside, Waitrose seems to have thrown the kitchen sink of creativity into its online approach, and it’s a feast for the senses. Over on TikTok, they’ve experimented with a captivating CGI moment that shows the transition from Halloween on October 31st to the Christmas season on November 1st.
But that’s not all—Waitrose is upping the ante with a flurry of exciting seasonal competitions on its website, offering customers a chance to win fantastic prizes. The official John Lewis Partnership website (as the Waitrose parent company) is also teasing an AR moment on Meta, quiz ads and an additional Premier Spotlight on Pinterest to top it all off. It’s a digital extravaganza, and it definitely showcases Waitrose’s commitment to providing an engaging, omnichannel online experience for its audience.
@waitrose POV: Halloween is over and now it’s time for the GOOD stuff 🎅🎄 #TimeForTheGoodStuff ♬ original sound – Waitrose & Partners
The power of an omnichannel campaign
Imagine the digital world as a busy marketplace, where brands need to set up shop in every corner to ensure they’re noticed amidst the hustle and bustle. This strategy is all about crafting a seamless and captivating experience for consumers across a variety of platforms.
For M&S and Waitrose, an omnichannel approach combines celebrity endorsements with user-generated content and experiential digital strategies, but you can tailor your campaigns to your particular audience, their preferred social media platforms and preferences. This dynamic way of marketing not only boosts your brand’s visibility but also makes your interactions with consumers feel personal and genuine.
As we gear up for the full brunt of the holiday season, be sure to keep your eyes on what different brands are doing to unwrap the next level of Christmas advertising.