christmas advert

Why Do We Love Christmas Adverts?

As Christmas draws closer, we begin to be inundated with Christmas adverts. Every big brand releases one, with heavy hitters including John Lewis, Coca Cola, and more recently, Aldi. Many people wait with bated breath to see what they will release, curled up with mince pies and cosy blankets, ready to enjoy them in between festive films and TV.

Most of the time, we view advertisements as an annoyance, often paying for them to be removed from streaming services or skipping over them on catchup TV. So why do we enjoy Christmas adverts so much?

They Tell Us a Story

A critical difference between Christmas and most regular adverts is that they tell us a heartwarming story that chokes us up a bit. Think of the John Lewis ad. This year, it features a crash-landed alien and young boy becoming friends. Although it sounds simple, it spins a story about love and friendship set to an emotional song that tugs on your heartstrings and gets you in the Christmas mood.

Over the years, other brands have taken inspiration from John Lewis and produced their own sagas, including Aldi with Kevin the Carrot and McDonalds.

Instead of making us feel like these brands want to take our money, their Christmas adverts weave us a tale that feels like a gift rather than advertising. They transform adverts from something we grudgingly sit through or ignore in favour of making a cup of tea into stories that make us teary and emotional.

This is one of the key tenets that makes a good Christmas advert. Whilst it should make us feel something, advertising specialists take care to make sure it isn’t too sad. They are designed to inspire us and send a warming Christmas message.

They Create a Conversation

The best Christmas adverts create something that we can revisit time and time again with friends and coworkers. They don’t lose their sentimentality – at least not until they have been played to death in the weeks leading up to Christmas Day – so people don’t tire of them the same as regular adverts.

Brands love this – it’s why they funnel millions of pounds into production. For example, the 2020 John Lewis advert, entitled Give A Little Love, reportedly cost around £5m to produce. However, as 70% of their sales come between October and January, they easily made this back from their Christmas sales.

Detailed Christmas adverts aren’t just for TV either. Social media allows them to be shared, so their success crosses platforms and generates greater interest and sales for the company.

Driving Sales

However, the warm and fuzzy feelings we get from watching Christmas adverts aren’t just because companies want us to feel good. At the end of the day, they are still adverts made to encourage people to purchase.

Market research company Kantar states that UK shoppers spend around an eye-watering £30bn in the months leading up to Christmas, a period sometimes called the golden quarter. Producing high-concept Christmas adverts sets brands apart from the competition and encourages consumers to go to them above anyone else.

These adverts can also present more opportunities for merchandising. For example, Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot has become a fan favourite character throughout the last few years, leading to the supermarket producing popular plush toys that people reportedly fought over.

Contenders This Year

Although there is no official crown for the best Christmas advert, there are some strong contenders for the top this year.

Aldi has released another instalment in the Kevin the Carrot saga, entitled A Christmas Carrot, by aptly named author Charles Chickens. Following the classic story of A Christmas Carol, Ebanana Scrooge is reminded of the true joy of Christmas by Kevin. It even features a cameo by Marcus Rashford as a radish.

Tesco has given us a COVID-inspired advert making light of supply shortages, travel bans, and quarantines that have hit the nation in previous months. Set to Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now, it shows a grandma zooming through various festive scenes on an electric scooter, designed to be a show of how nothing can stop us from having festive fun this year.

Conclusion

Christmas adverts are fuzzy, feel-good stories that get us in the festive spirit. They’re often benchmarks for Christmas beginning, despite often being released in mid-November. They often mark when it’s okay to crack the tree out again and buy that first pack of mince pies. Because they break from the norm of advertising, dedicating more time and effort into weaving a story, we want to watch them, almost as if they’re miniature movies to enjoy in between shows.

However, Christmas adverts are also massive boons for the companies that make them. The more we engage with their adverts, the more return-on-investment they will see in quarterly profit. The returns they see upon investing in high-concept Christmas adverts are huge, which is why they’ve exploded within the last decade. John Lewis was among the first to set this trend, and it is clear to see why others have followed.

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