Christmastime guarantees a few things: twinkle lights in windows, holiday jumpers, delicious sweets, and a new advert from John Lewis.
For years, John Lewis has assured publicity around Christmas, as people anticipate their elaborate, heart-wrenching annual advert for the season. When the video was released this year, it quickly became the top trending topic on Twitter in the UK. In the two weeks since its release, it has gathered nearly 20 million views on YouTube. The advert from 2015 has approximately 28 million views.
As I’m new to Europe and had never seen a John Lewis Christmas advert before, my friend — originally from Northamptonshire — insisted I watch every video from the past few years, even taking the time to rank them for me, as she had favourites and least favourites. She’d been waiting for the advert; to her, it meant Christmas was close.
Similarly, H&M had huge success recently by tapping Wes Anderson to direct a nearly four-minute-long video starring Adrien Brody. The video on H&M’s YouTube channel had over two million views just a day after its premiere. The advert features clothing from the retailer, of course, but does very little standard promotion, instead focusing on the story and characters wearing the H&M Christmas 2016 collection.
H&M was able to capitalize on what John Lewis has been doing for years — creating a link between their brand and Christmas in the minds of shoppers. Coca-Cola did it with their polar bear adverts and Cadbury’s achieved comparable success with their giant advent calendar trucks. With just one advert for the season, these businesses have ensured that when shoppers go out in search of Christmas gifts, many will instinctively think of their business.
Small businesses can recreate this effort on a smaller, more local level around the Christmas season. Arnott’s, for instance, is known for their elaborate window decorations and displays during the winter holidays. If your business has a store front display case, crafting a Christmas-themed display could make your shop a destination spot, drawing in shoppers who may not normally visit your location.
It is also possible to piggy-back off these larger businesses’ adverts. Though not a small business, in 2015 Aldi referenced John Lewis’ Christmas advert in their own, sparking conversation online and using both their own marketing content and public awareness of the John Lewis one for free!
For many, marketing around Christmas is about capturing the spirit of the holiday.
Chimney cleaning businesses can offer a deal to help people prepare for Santa; construction companies can use gingerbread houses to display model homes; showing families reunited allows travel franchises to highlight their role in making the holidays special; enabling families in need to prepare a Christmas meal through donations from a food franchise is charitable and lets customers feel they are giving their money to a worthwhile organization; international franchises could show an exchange of traditional holiday customs between different countries.
Businesses can employ the same strategies for New Year’s themed adverts, as well. Are potential customers going to think highly of a gym that tries to shame or force them into purchasing a membership in January? Probably not. But, a local gym that highlights how its members are able to stay in shape all through the holiday season by practicing moderation and continued exercise may persuade people that joining their gym is a way to bring about lasting change by the next holiday season.
There’s something magic in the air during the holidays, a sense of wonder and joy. The best business and franchise owners can pick up on that and use it to inspire.
Happy holidays and happy marketing!
Post by Anne Rowan