Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Christmas ads of old..


Though Stoke haven't lost yet, I thought I should return this blog to something at least vaguely ad orientated. So...Christmas ads, past and present. What makes a good Christmas ad?
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Well, let's look probably a lot of people's favourite Christmas cracker. Coke's 'Lorries':
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And I quote:
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"CHRISTMAS IS COMMING YESSSSS!!! THIS IS CHRISTMAS TO ME" and "im gutted whyd they have to take the only advert on tv that gets me christmassy away.. :( i feel scrooged".
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But why should there be this reaction? Well, let's examine the evidence. Christmas is nirvana for brands. Writ large in the landscape, it's the one time of year that, I believe, the average person wants to be away from the materialism/over the top branding of most stores and places.
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Hence, it makes sense that an ad which doesn't try to ram an all consumptive, all consuming message down people's throats. It also features a handy jingle. If we're looking for evidence of what a meme can do for people's advertising spend, look no further than this ad. Just you try singing 'Holidays are coming' at people. Either they'll think you are a Hari Krishna gone mental, or a fan of the ad.
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I'll not show a MFI/DFS/Harvey's ad (though the latter makes me laugh, if only for the latent misogynony in the execution), but yes, those are also inexorably tied into Christmas, if only for the low low prices.
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Instead, let's look at the new Coke ad:
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Another extension of their very successful 'Coke side of life' tagline. It would seem the strategy is to emphasise that Coke can provide happiness and fulfilment whatever the era. It wears the strategy a little too obviously (let's see, a bildungsroman IN the advert/flickering calendar pages..hmm..), but it's not a bad ad on the whole.
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The biggest criticism is that it's not inherently memorable - yes, it's a big budget Coke ad. But it doesn't grab me like say, the next ad we're going to look at, or indeed the GTA viral or W&K's 'Happiness Factory' for Coke in the same campaign.
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So yes, it's worthy of a minced pie and some mulled wine, but it's no turkey. Neither is the next ad; the herald angels have been singing:
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Boots' 'Tis the Season to be Gorgeous' has been rightly lauded as an example of unique and thought provoking Christmas advertising. Pitting the norm of Christmas preparation (someone, usually mum, getting stuck into the pots, pans, prep and presents) against the glamour pusses of this ad is an interesting move.
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Again, I feel it's successful because it doesn't ram Christmas down your throats. Simply, it's seasonal without being obtrusive, something which I think the vast majority of advertising agencies and advertisers find very difficult to do. It also helps that it's one of the best ads for lighting/art direction/overall execution in the past year, never mind the festive season.
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Finally, we'll get to the real turkey in the bunch:
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(Before you ask, yes, it's 2005's version - I couldn't find '06, but rest assured, it's as bad).
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Woolies should be the place for Christmas. It does pretty much have everything you need in store, including last minute gifts like this one. I would imagine the brief was something along the lines of 'Woolworths - all your Christmas needs instore'.
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So, as you'd expect, product and offer are king in both execution. However, as a result, it falls foul of the cardinal sin of Christmas advertising, or at least what I believe it is; shouting about your 4 P's, product price, promotion and place.
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So how COULD Wooly and Worth save Christmas? Barring some sort of mistletoe led innuendo, I'm finding it difficult to imagine. Why not attempt to understand just what Christmas is like? Make reference to the fact that last minute shopping DOES occur incredibly frequently, and that Woolworths can help solve these problems, both by either helping the customer do it online or by being there instore if it has been left last minute.
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Anyway, these are just a few Christmas ads. Does anyone have any ideas about any others?
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4 comments:

mm said...

Boots pre-95. When those ads were aired you knew it was Christmas. Tried looking on youtube but with the smell of fresh bacon and eggs swirling around...boots will have to wait.

Will said...

Boots pre 95 ads.. hmm, I don't recall them - can anyone shed any light?

For me, the Coke lorries are Christmas ads. I agree with the YouTube comments.

whinfs said...

old boots christmas jingle went....

"Boots, Boots, Boots what a nice suprise; So much to choose in every Boots you won't believe you eyes;

Shopping can be lots of fun, you're certain to agree; la-la-la (can't remember this bit)

See a gift at christmas, and find a gift that suits; the special touch of christmas is the special touch, the special touch of Booots ooh!"

the recent christmas ads are pants compared to this...

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