It’s that time of year again and we’ve already heard Michael Buble’s ‘White Christmas’ over the last few weeks more times than we would like to in multiple lifetimes. For the creative industry, it’s booming and it now covers a whopping one-sixth of our entire calendar. It’s a hustle and bustle of marketing, promotion and “who has the most heart-wrenching television ad”.
“Brands will be spending a record £6bn on Christmas advertising in 2017, according to an industry body forecast.” – BBC NEWS
The influence that the creative industry has had on Christmas can be observed by looking at the infamous Coca-Cola advert alone. A yearly tradition where many mark ‘the first day’ of the festive season by the moment in which they see the advert air. Even more so, nostalgia toward the campaign (first created in 1935 with images by Haddon Sundblom) may have well and truly solidified St. Nick’s jacket as being red with a black belt and white trim despite all the historical depictions portraying him clad in a variety of red, green or tan coloured suits.
So, in the spirit of the festive season, let’s have a look at some of the Christmas ads, fads and creative campaigns that came out of 2017.
Firstly, let’s look at John Lewis and their £7 million advert this year. They birthed the storytelling approach to Christmas television advertising and each year their production is highly anticipated. This year, their introduction of the loveable, cuddlable monster called ‘Moz’ has been dubbed as the “best Christmas advert of 2017” by some, but others are frustrated that this year’s story wasn’t an utter tear-jerker. Some mum’s are even going to Twitter in outrage that their children will be scared by the idea of a monster under the bed. So, what’s going on in the advert and why are we so affected by it?
As in most cases, the storyline will focus on something that is relatable to us as humans. Across the board from other retailers this year alone, we’ve had stories of sisterly bonds from Sainsburys (we may not all have sisters, but most of us have had a similar bond with another family member, friend or partner), a unique take of Santa’s workshop from Argos (we all once believed he was real at some point, don’t forget), Paddington bear from M&S (a loveable British classic whom many have a nostalgia with) and then ‘Moz’ the imaginary monster under the bed by John Lewis (perhaps a more controversial approach this year).
At first, we sense fear of the monster, something most of us can relate to rom being a child, but also a sense of wonderment similar to that which made Toy Story and Monsters Inc. both huge successes. But perhaps this is also a reflection on modern day fears such as debt, uncertainty of the future and other things that keep us awake at night. The story develops swiftly in it’s short 2 minutes, as we quickly realise Moz is a charming, endearing and caring monster, whose bond with the child has us feeling comforted within ourselves that ‘everything works out OK’. And we see, ironically, that the boy is given a night light by the monster, breaking somewhat of a traditional idea. Perhaps most importantly of all, during the last scene, we hear the boy turn off his night light and thus we hear Moz’s loveable growl – this seems like JL is making a point out of having a choice. Perhaps a reminder that as much as we all need to grow up and stop believing in monsters under the bed, that every once in awhile we have the ability to choose to believe, to turn off the night light and remember what it’s like to be carefree and to be in a magical world of playfulness, discovery and wonder.
To end the John Lewis spiel on a much lighter note, check out this comical yet charming spin-off by the company MyVoucherCodes, spending only £700 for the budget and taking only 7 hours to produce. Watch them both below:
It seems like John Lewis aren’t the only ones taking a controversial approach this year; multi-award winning and creative digital of year 2016 (AWWWARDS) Resn released a rather unique approach to their company Christmas card and it’s already picked up a ‘Site of the day’ by the Favourite Website Awards and I’m sure a few more are on the way. Check it out
Yes, you did just see what you think you saw. Rens’s approach to this interactive card is so bonkers that you can’t not shout about it. It begins with an animated 3D cabin scene, beautifully crafted with attention to detail on the interaction. Plus, it has a narrated Christmas tale to boot. So far, it’s something that we would expect from Resn’s high standards. Upon entering the cabin, we find ‘Resn’s little helper’ is a twisted Elf who’s dancing around high on mushrooms playing the flute (terribly). Despite this, Resn show off some of their development techniques as they allow the user to look around the trippy 3D space.
“Doing a fun company Christmas card was really really cool about 10 years ago. That’s why we’re doing one now.” Resn
Vienna Christmas Market
Another award-winning site this year has been for the Vienna Christmas Market, a digital calendar-based competition. The success of this website is created by the simplicity of the interactivity for the user – it’s not hard to take part but the experience is enjoyable and of course there’s the possibility you may win something! We’ve seen positive results for similar websites in the past with the individual being able to leave their own mark – but what gives this website the edge I think is the exciting Calendar aspect, that there is something new to be won each day which would keep users engaged for longer, thus making it more memorable There’s just one catch – you must register your email to take part which is a great data-capture technique for Vienna Christmas Market to expand their mailing list.
Jess’ Favourite Christmas Cards
As a finish note, I know I said this was about digital campaigns but one thing I love about Christmas is seeing what cards and gift wrap fill the shops each year. We’ve seen a huge rise in alternative and illustrative cards in recent years, supporting artists and illustrators around the world. We are spoilt for choice! So here are a few of my favourites this year to ‘wrap’ up this Christmas feature.