The summer suitcases may have only just been packed away, yet the supermarket shelves are already laden with festive sweets and treats, as brands get ready to launch their all-important Christmas campaigns. Working hard to prolong the season of giving (or spending), brands’ annual offering of Christmas ads seem to arrive on screens earlier with every passing year to help facilitate this. Successful seasonal marketing campaigns set a benchmark which serves to herald the beginning of the festive season, leaving consumers in anticipation of fresh and engaging content. So, what do the big brands have in store for us this year?
As part of a full brand overhaul, Argos is gearing up to release a new Christmas ad at the beginning of November. The marketing campaign is part of an entirely new direction for the brand as it unveils its ‘digital transformation’. Details are yet to be released, but the Christmas ad campaign will be supported by digital, social, outdoor, cinema, PR and radio coverage. Sneak peek teasers of the Christmas ad are due to be unveiled exclusively to the retailer’s 1 million social media fans in advance of the first showing.
Starbucks’ popular festive must-have, the Pumpkin Spice Latte, has reached new heights as The Real PSL Twitter account recently exceeded over 95,000 Followers. The international winter treat is one of the most infamous examples of a successful seasonal marketing campaign. However, Starbucks found itself subject to backlash this year having started the PSL season earlier than usual. A promotional offer launched at the end of August allowed fans to get their hands on the tasty drink even earlier, leaving a mixed response to the coffee retailer’s generosity. Ardent fans welcomed the early launch, while others reportedly felt cheated out of the last few days of summer.
Famous for producing nostalgic and sentimental Christmas ads, the John Lewis festive offering is a 360-degree brand experience which has become the stuff of seasonal marketing legend. The highly anticipated Christmas ads are supported with in-store offers and initiatives, which in the past have been known to include complimentary tea and coffee, free nursery services for busy mums, and festive competitions. This year, John Lewis has gone a step further in establishing its position as the ultimate Christmas shopping destination, having teamed up with a Scottish plantation to allow consumers to order their perfect, real Christmas trees online.
Perhaps the most successful seasonal advertising of all comes from a brand with a product that is (ironically) available throughout the year. For nearly twenty years, the iconic and beloved Christmas Coca Cola advert has been part of a campaign which includes a 52-stop national tour, an internationally known jingle, various social media accounts, and millions of followers.
So, as we brace ourselves for a flurry of Halloween and Christmas-themed ads in our news feeds and on our TV screens, what can we learn about the role of seasonal marketing campaigns? Consumers often respond fondly to seasonal marketing and successful campaigns can be quickly taken to heart, welcomed as part of the Christmas culture. However, brands should exercise caution as fans can quickly become disenchanted with campaigns that are launched too early. So long as brands hold back until at least autumn, it looks like consumers are set for a festive, fun-filled ad-vent.