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John Lewis Christmas Adverts: the best Christmas marketing campaigns

With the Christmas season just around the corner and the festive adverts invading our screens, the anticipation and speculation of this years’ best Christmas marketing campaigns are looming on us all. 

Now, some people might say that November is too early to be thinking about Christmas, but already the nights are drawing in and the Christmas coffees have launched. In just a matter of time, everything will become far more Christmassy as brands start to release their Christmas magic. We can’t deny it, we’re all waiting to see what Christmas magic brands like John Lewis, Aldi, Waitrose and Coca-Cola bring this year; which brand will triumph and be proclaimed as the best Christmas advert in 2018?

Christmas holds the biggest retail opportunities of the year. In 2016, people in the UK spent £748 per person on Christmas gifting and preparations for the festive season. With 62% of people doing research online before heading out to the shops, 42% of people Christmas shopping online and 8% purchasing everything they need on the internet; don’t miss out on the opportunity to engage with your customers during the build-up to the 25th!

The best Christmas marketing campaigns

We asked our designers and developers to put forward their favourite Christmas campaigns and to take a look at how they generated a buzz. Here are some that made the cut…

John Lewis Christmas advert

It wouldn’t be a Christmas campaign round-up without mentioning the John Lewis Christmas advert. Over the years we’ve been treated to a whole host of heartwarming festive stories, including penguins in love, snowmen searching for soulmates, a boxer dog discovering the joys of a trampoline, and one very friendly monster. We got our team to vote for their favourite, and here are the results!And our top three are…

The Long Wait (2011)

A young boy can’t wait for Christmas morning, but not for the reasons you think. This is the campaign that brought John Lewis onto our radars as a big player in the Christmas ad game. The end of the ad reveals the true reason the boy can’t wait for the big day – because he can’t wait to give, rather than receive, a gift. This heartwarming surprise ending to the ad is complemented by the tagline “For gifts you can’t wait to give”. We love a warm, fuzzy ending.

Buster the Boxer (2016)

This campaign was always going to be a hit – a boxer dog and his woodland friends discover the joys of a trampoline, much to the surprise of the young girl who the toy belongs to. Happy, cute animals having a great time playing outside in the snow – what more could you want?

Man on the Moon (2015)

Once again John Lewis tugged at our heartstrings with 2015’s offering, Man on the Moon, in which an elderly man living on the moon befriends a young girl with a telescope down on Earth. Proving that friendship can extend through generations, time and space itself, the campaign had a poignant message, encouraging us to think of those less fortunate than ourselves on Christmas day. Although if you ask me, it’s the soundtrack that has seen this one get into our top three here at Clicky!

eBay – Fill Your Cart With Colour

For Christmas 2017, eBay unveiled its ‘Fill Your Cart With Colour’ campaign, encouraging its audience to look beyond the norm and change their buying habits. The Christmas TV advert used the tagline ‘Celebrate Christmas like no-one else, because you’re not like anyone else’. Playing to its young, millennial target market, eBay acknowledges the need to be seen as an individual, to find an identity in a world where the ‘norm’ is becoming increasingly oppressive and boring. The audience wants to be different, so eBay is showing them how they can help them to be different. The ad is a direct result of the brand thinking about their audience and playing to their wants and needs, and is a triumph of user-focused design. The campaign has been so successful that eBay has continued to run the ‘Fill Your Cart With Colour’ campaign throughout 2018.

Google Santa Tracker

Google has been keeping tabs on Santa since Christmas 2004, but in 2013 they decided to take things up a notch; Google and Santa’s Christmas 2013 extravaganza was born. Google re-created Santa’s village, crafting 24 interactive games to countdown to the Big Day throughout December. Additionally, the Santa Tracker traces Santa’s location (as you would expect from the name!) allowing millions to watch his every move in the run-up to Christmas Day, delivering presents to everybody on his Nice List.

Google Santa tracker

source: Ueno

Coca-Cola Truck

For many, Coca-Cola’s Christmas Truck Tour signifies the official arrival of the festive season. Gracing our screens for the first time in winter 1995, in the form of ‘Christmas Caravans’. A year later, the Coca-Cola Christmas packaging was introduced, heightening the experience further. Coca-Cola has now well and truly established itself as a major player in the Christmas ad game. In 1998, the Christmas Caravan III ad was broadcast in over 100 countries, viewed by millions.

Nowadays, the Coca-Cola trucks go on tour throughout the winter months in the run-up to Christmas, generating crucial brand awareness and fizzy, festive excitement. After all, who doesn’t like free Coca-Cola?

Starbucks Red Cup

Once we wave goodbye to summer and the weather steadily grows cold, coffee lovers everywhere anticipate the return of Starbucks’ red cups – a sure sign that Christmas is well and truly on its way! The trademark holiday cups made their debut in 1997 – originally they were not even red; the first Starbucks red cup design was introduced two years later, in 1999. The exact shade was up for debate initially, with plenty of healthy creative deliberation amongst the Starbucks team, until the bright red design we know and love was chosen. It wasn’t until 2017 that their signature red cup was simplified to the white cup, adorned with intricate line drawings that we see today. It’s fair to say that people are slightly obsessed – there’s even a website dedicated to counting down to the release of this year’s festive cups… take of that what you will!

What is your marketing strategy for Christmas?

A year on today, John Lewis released their 2017 Christmas advert – we’re on the edge of our seats waiting for the 2018 unveiling! In fact, radio presenter, Chris Moyles, has even gone as far as stitching up the press, teasing them with a ‘leaked’ clip of the John Lewis advert, which was just fake footage parodying JL’s famous penguin ad.

How will you go about promoting your brand this Christmas? Whether it’s a festive TV ad, or you’re looking at using the season to reposition your brand like eBay, there are so many creative Christmassy marketing strategies to try.

Looking for help with your Christmas marketing strategy?

Find out how you can get brand festive.

Christmas branding checklist

Written by Candy Sinclair-Ford

Digital Designer