The Christmas ads are here and each year I refrain from commenting on this retailer led self indulgence, but each year I wonder “do they work?” By work I don’t mean warm nostalgic feelings in the belly, or likes on social media, but hard pounds through the tills of Great Britain.
This year however I think I’ve seen the nadir of self-indulgent piffle. Enter Sainsbury’s. What just happened? Did I really see a Dickensian story of theft, wrongful arrest and revenge, with our young protagonist appearing to become an early incarnation of Santa Claus? What’s that got to do with Sainsbury’s... oh the oranges were nicked from their first shop, but the friendly shopkeeper gifted more oranges to young Santa so he could fulfill his redistribution of wealth. A story of our times... mmmm.
So onto the meat of this story. If, and this is a big if in our cluttered media times, warm fuzzy feelings make us more likely to shop in one store over another, there might be a few dozen more punters who go to Sainsbury’s now. However why shop at Sainsbury’s? What reason did they give me to shop there. They’ve been around forever... so what. Their staff give away the produce...?
Down the road the smarter folk at Tesco know how this works. Time travel. In one creative idea they tick lots of boxes. We deliver... since forever, people are happy to see us because we’ve got stuff they ordered and paid for, oh and our staff are nice and have a welcoming family at home just like you. It's Christmassy too! Impactful, distinctive, relevant and engaging... classic textbook marketing!
Ads are there to sell, persuade, convince and engage in a relevant way for your brand. In Sainsbury’s case I suspect either a poor briefing from the client, or an over indulged creative agency is to blame here.
Then I may be wrong. If we all believe in the powers of advertising we can attribute any Christmas sales uplifts to the powers of these campaigns. I’m looking forward to the announcements in January for the investors. I know where my money will be.
I really do hope Sainsbury’s are giving oranges away this Christmas; that would be fulfilling their advertising promise and be in the Christmas spirit.
Happy Christmas everyone!
Mark Shepherd is the owner of The Branding Authority, a consultancy that can help you get on the right communication track quickly and without the jargon!
Mark is also a member of the faculty of The University of Applied Sciences, Western Switzerland, where he lectures in marketing management.
If you would like a free consultation, please contact me.