Christmas Advertising: A Spotter's Guide, Part One

  • 12/02/2008 11:28:00 pm
  • By Mark Gibbings-Jones

CrediCrunch™ or not, this is the biggest advertising spell of the year, (unless it's a World Cup year and England have sneaked through), with the clamouring creatives desperate to tell us what we need to buy for everyone this festive period. Well, as long as it's from their clients. This leads to increased advertising spend, leading to extra-especially exciting programming on the commercial channels at this time of y... oh. Our point stands. A lot of the adverts can be very expensive, and need to do something wonderfully creative in order to stand out from the crowd, whilst simultaneously enthralling the viewing millions and enfostering a feeling of warmth toward the faceless corporations that fund each commercial.

At least in theory. In actuality, they can broadly be rounded up into several categories, and here are some of them.

THE CELEBGASM APPROACH: "Have a cracking Christmas... at Wool-worths"

The preferred choice of the big hitters, the plan is to cram in as many stars as possible into their allotted minute of airtime, as if to say "look how much we can afford to spend on an advert! We don't even need your custom!"

Then: 67% of the Goodies at Woolies. Fucking brilliant, frankly. If they'd stuck with this sort of thing instead of putting all their cash on a couple of mammals constructed from felt and fake fur, just maybe things would be going better for them now. What wouldn't be to love about "Mitchell And Webb's Festive Cavalcade"?

Now: The current M&S adverts are currently all over the place, making the assumption that seeing Twiggy, Gary Barlow and Myleene Klass looking really pleased with themselves is going to make us want to buy a bland pullover for Uncle Alan. Now, if it were Harry Hill's Hamper Of Hilarity, with Stuffer the Cat pointing at iPod Nanos, we'd be sold.

Merry Christmas from M&S

We can't let M&S off that lightly, either. They once tried to exploit the 'celebrity' of Piers Morgan in order to shift their food. Seriously, how have they not gone into receivership after that?

THE SPECIFICS APPROACH: "Liquorsave at Kwik Save!"

Some companies prefer to just fling a load of present ideas in your face, preferably with their corporate logo flashing up between each brand-blip, in the hope that one of them will stick. "Mum, I neeeeeeed one of them!" "Tsk. But where on earth could I buy one of those? Ah, yes. Dixons."

Then: Currys, replete with an exploding Christmas bauble with the Currys logo on it between each product shot. The number of teens frozen with delight at receiving a tenner's worth of Matsui personal stereo as a result of this clip sadly have not been recorded.

Now: Currys again, this time leaving the branding until the end of the advert, and using an even more modest backdrop in order to highlight the product by an extra 7%. The principle is still the same, with the only differences being each gift getting slammed into a CGI parcel at the end of each money shot, and Voiceover Man mentioning Currys every ten seconds to make up for the lack of branded tree decoration.

The Right iPods at Christmas from Currys

Of course, Woolies cleverly incorporated this approach as well in their old commercials, splendidly encouraging the bussed-in talent to indulge in bits of business around each product. Seriously, Philip Glenister, in character as Gene Hunt, looking perplexed as his vinyl copy of Lee Hazlewood's "Love and Other Crimes" won't fit into a Blu-ray player? Do we have to do everything for you, The Entire Advertising Industry?

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