How to create a great Christmas Advert in 2021?

There is no greater visual reminder that Christmas is on the horizon than the return of Christmas adverts to our TV screens. With just under 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 New 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. Meet the new stars for this year, Ebanana Scrooge and Marcus Radishford (voiced over by England and Manchester United Forward Marcu Rashford) who are all new from 2020.

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. After 2020 denied this marketing opportunity, the holidays are once again coming, with the Coca-Cola truck visiting cities all over the UK in 2021.

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. This year, John Lewis brought in the storyline of a young boy and, believe it or not, an alien at Christmas time. The advert continues to create a consistent emotive story that involves acts of kindness to the ‘Unexpected Guest’. The ad has created a lot of debate this year, with people questioning the alien presence with others enthusiastic about the comparable nature of the advert to hit sci-fi TV shows, such a Stranger Things.  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

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