The Top 5 Festive Advertising Campaigns of 2014

Culture The Top 5 Festive Advertising Campaigns of 2014

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January has rolled around again, and as always has seen the nation trying to settle back into a routine of detoxification, exercise and saving money. As we move, however, into the period of ‘New Year – new me’ one thing has dominated our memories of the Christmas period, and that thing is advertising.

Needless to say, Christmas is the biggest time of the year for the majority of goods and services industries, and 2014 saw a variety of big brands taking to TV, radio and digital in order to out-do their competitors and secure our all important custom. Now that the dust is beginning to settle, and the decorations are back up in the loft, we take a more level-headed look back at some of the most striking and effective campaigns of Christmas 2014 that convinced us to part with our all important bonuses.

5. “The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway”
As seems to be a growing trend nowadays, Christmas advertising is concerned less with products and price points, and more about heart-warming narratives and individuals, something mobile network Vodafone tapped into with their Frozen-themed TV ad. The short video followed a variety of individuals who, unfortunately, don’t get to relax and put their feet up at Christmas, but instead who carry on working behind the scenes to provide us with a stress free Christmas day. The video celebrated the inherently festive idea of all coming together at Christmas, regardless of situation and circumstance. The fact that the advert utilised the iconic song from one of the highest grossing Disney films ever probably didn’t damage ratings either.


4. “It’s Real Love”
The John Lewis Christmas advert has become a television event in itself in recent years, combining emotional stories with famous names in music such as Lily Allen and Tom Odell. This year’s offering didn’t disappoint, bringing audiences the poignant story of Monty, the lovable but lonely penguin in search of a companion. Similarly to previous TV adverts, the marketing campaign captured the nation’s heart, with the full advert on YouTube gaining over 22 million views worldwide. Again it seems the point of this marketing strategy wasn’t outwardly promotional, but rather aimed at increasing and maintaining brand awareness. As the figures show, it was evidently very successful, topping last year’s ‘Bear & Hare’ advert in both views and shares within 24 hours of release.


3. “War Is Over”
This year, for a lot of people, saw bold challenger Sainsbury’s take the title of best Christmas ad with their recreation of the Christmas Eve ceasefire in WW1. The heavily romanticised short film followed two young soldiers on both sides of the trenches as they embraced the Christmas spirit and downed arms in favour of gift giving and companionship. The full advert, which is almost four minutes in length, was first aired during the break in an episode of Coronation Street; it made use of prime time television to reach the most relevant audience demographic who would (typically) be in charge of the Christmas food shopping. Like all powerful marketing campaigns, its effectiveness is easily measured in its popularity on social media; the YouTube video (below) now boasts over 16 million views, with hundreds of thousands of Twitter users utilising the hash-tag #sainsburyschristmas to offer their opinions on it.


2. “Christmas Time, Mistletoe & (Non-alcoholic) Wine”
Safer driving awareness organisation Think took the traditional conventions of Christmas advertising campaigns, such as up-beat music and communal singing, and juxtaposed them against their usual graphic and thought-provoking imagery. Their ad this year, which almost looks like a dark response to Vodafone’s ‘Power to the festive’ campaign, depicted a variety of emergency services attending the scene of a car crash, attempting to restore order, put out fires and resuscitate victims all whilst singing the Kool & The Gang classic, ‘Celebrate’. The campaign relies (very effectively) on shock tactics to discourage viewers from indulging in alcohol over the festive period and then attempting to drive.


1. “Feed The World”
The past two years have seen a sharp rise in shoppers avoiding the ‘big four’ supermarkets in favour of budget stores such as Aldi and Lidl, something the Germany-based multinationals are keen to boast about this year. Aldi’s social media channel, which is largely used for giveaways and competitions, went viral last month over a controversially arrogant tweet concerning black Friday sales.

In reality the tweet was actually well received by social media audiences, and gained a lot of interaction because it’s funny to see large brands behave like real people. This is what made their Christmas marketing campaign, and its accompanying slogan “Everyone’s coming to us this Christmas” so successful. The double entendre of the slogan refers of course to the idea of having everyone over for Christmas dinner, and the fact that more shoppers than ever are choosing Aldi over their competitors. The campaign is laced with playful, tongue-in-cheek arrogance that the company would do well to incorporate into their growing global profile.

So there we have it, in the ever growing crush of brands competing for our attention and money, these brands and their festive marketing campaigns stood out because they were shocking, heart warming and even funny, all in good measure. They succeeded in a lot of instances because of the synergy between their traditional and digital marketing channels, and made excellent use of social media to capitalise on the success of their TV advertising.

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