How to create a great Christmas advert

How to create a great Christmas advert

There is no greater visual reminder that Christmas is on the horizon than the return of Christmas adverts to our TV screens. With just over a month to go, it’s a great time for brands to make their mark in the hope to get a share of the festive sales.

We’ll take a look at how some brands have built successful Christmas campaigns to date and how they’ve approached advertising in this very challenging year.    

Kevin Returns with More Friends

Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot is a great example of how to use animation and storytelling consistently and effectively. Since 2016, Kevin the Carrot has been integral to the campaign, facing a new challenge each year with thinly disguised jokes adding humour to the equation.

It continues to be a hugely successful formula; the lovable carrot merchandise has sold out within days this year and it has previously outperformed other ads on emotive appeal, attention and memorability (Kantar 2019).

The animation format also allows Aldi to introduce new characters to expand on the existing merchandise portfolio. This year meet the new stars, Wingman Turkey and Harry the Hedgehog who we may see again in future years.

Aldi have relseased new characters into the range this year, who have all featured on the Christmas advert
Aldi released new characters to the range this year

Effective Ads Don’t Need to Re-invent the Wheel

It’s not just Aldi that makes the case for familiarity and repetition as an effective strategy. The Coca Cola ‘Holidays Are Coming’ advert has been in circulation since 1995 and is one of the most anticipated Christmas adverts each year. For many, it signals Christmas is truly here.

The highly iconic truck is also utilised as a part of a wider marketing campaign to bring the ad to life via a UK wide truck tour. While 2020 denies this marketing opportunity, it features prominently in this year’s Christmas advert on TV, once again by bringing a father home for Christmas. More of the same can be extremely rewarding.   

The Coca-Cola truck is an iconic symbol of the Christmas advert
The Coca-Cola truck is an iconic symbol of Christmas

Getting to the Heart of Emotion

Like Coca Cola, John Lewis’ TV advert has become a cultural phenomenon. The hotly awaited Christmas advert gains widespread media coverage and millions of YouTube views. Over a 10 year period, the adverts have won 2 IPA Effectiveness Awards and are estimated to have generated £1.2bn in incremental sales and an average ROI of £8.83.

The key to its success is highly emotive storytelling with an unexpected twist that is known to pull on heartstrings.

While this year there is no ‘star product’ to drive sales, there is a consistent emotive story that involves acts of kindness to ‘give a little love’. Whether the call to action to support their partnered charities is clear, is debatable. But it has navigated the challenge of producing an emotive ad that has all the features of a John Lewis ad without the usual big marketing budget to match. The power of emotion in influencing creatives and in-store cannot be underestimated.

It brings much-needed normality to the festive period that our familiar characters and adverts have appeared once again.

John Lewis really pull on the heartstrings  with their Christmas advert
John Lewis really pull on the heartstrings

How we can help

Gaining an emotional connection with your customers is crucial to building brand affinity and brand loyalty. At Spark Emotions, we are experts in getting to the truth of how people feel about something, whether it is a brand, a product or even a Christmas advert.

We use our Spark Emotional Wheel to plot the exact, in the moment, emotion people are feeling. This tool allows us to understand your customers better than ever and by combining this with our team of consumer psychologists and industry leaders we are able to provide actionable insights, proven to drive business growth.

Get in touch with us by filling in our contact form to find out how we can help you grow your business.

Written by Sinita Govind, Associate Director at Spark Emotions
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Sinita via email or connect with her on LinkedIn