Christmas – and how to use it for your marketing advantage

So, the John Lewis advert has finally landed.

The department store giant might have only started its festive advertising campaign back in 2007 – but it has now become as integral to the festive season as the Queen’s speech and Secret Santa.

But what makes a good festive advert – and how can smaller businesses boost sales over Christmas? And, importantly, how does this year’s John Lewis advert stack up against its rivals?

Here, PRG takes a look at some of the festive best and offers tips on how to make the most of your Christmas marketing campaign.

John Lewis

Well, one thing’s for sure, when it comes to the new John Lewis advert  it very much abides to the mantra  “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it..” coming as it does with emotive music and its heart-tugging tale of a little boy and his unlikely friendship with a seven foot monster called Moz.


Supermarket giant Asda is promising punters the ‘Best Christmas ever’ in its advert which harks back to a Willy Wonka-style factory of festive delights. As Fleetwood Mac’s hit Don’t Stop plays in the background, we’re taken through a hive of different workshops, from turkey tasting to igloo smashing.


Marks & Spencer has spent big money on securing the rights to Paddington for its Christmas advert. But it works. Thwarting a burglar he believes is Santa, Paddington then helps him deliver the stolen gifts back to their rightful owners – showing the bad guy the true meaning of Christmas.


Aldi’s advert sees the return of Kevin the Carrot and comes with a traditional deep-voiced narration and jingling bells. Despite its traditional bent, the advert is going down a storm on social media with many declaring it the advert of Christmas 2017.

Here at PRG we are well aware that consumer facing businesses can be made or broken depending on sales at the festive period. According to the Bank of England the average household spends £2k in a usual month, but this is boosted by £500 during December and last December we spent an unprecedented £77.7bn. The value of online shopping has more than doubled in just the past three years.  It now accounts for £1 in every £8 we spend.

But how do you tap into these extra sales without it seeming to be a me-too cash grab?

Here are PRG’s top tips for creating a successful festive advertising campaign.

  • Build up anticipation: there is a sweet spot when it comes to festive marketing. Too early and you risk alienating customers. Too late and you will miss out. By working with a marketing agency you can have all your plans in place in advance and be ready to press launch when the big guys do – they rarely get it wrong.
  • Be emotive: if there is one thing that all the adverts here do very well its pull on the heartstrings. What Dad will be able to resist that extra present as he panic buys on Xmas Eve?
  • Countdown: advent calendars work for a reason. Make your customer think they will miss out on a timed deal. Brands such as iTunes and Sony both utilise the 12 Days of Christmas exercise to offer timed promotions.
  • Embrace it:  yes, everyone does a Christmas offer of some kind. But consumers and businesses have come to accept it as the norm. You would not want to be the Scrooge of your sector would you?

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