The past number of years has seen a trend emerge each Christmas, amongst the big brands and retailers with lavish, feel-good advertising campaigns.
For many people, it signifies the start of Christmas when these festive ads play on prime-time TV and trend on social media. It’s also a time of year when spending is at an all-time high and competition is rife. As a result, many of these brands try to out-do each other to get their slice of the pie.
These big-budget campaigns can cost hundreds of thousands between production and advertising space. Some can even go into the millions, notably the recent John Lewis advertisement, which was estimated to have had a budget of around £7million. Yet, many people wonder are they worth it?
A spokesperson for John Lewis recently told the BBC, that their “ads always deliver an excellent return on investment at a time of year that is critical for us, generally delivering 20 times the return on our original spend".
Many companies do not have the luxury of such large budgets and shy away from this space. Yet, now and again one brave small player will produce an outstanding advert on a shoe-string budget and reach the million’s others don’t.
One recent campaign includes Haford’s, a small family run hardware shop based in Rhader, Wales, run by Tom Jones with his grandparents Alan and Pauline.
With a budget of £100, Tom embraced the magic formula and produced a Christmas advert, which reached over 2.5million views in the first 2 weeks of its launch at the beginning of December.
The ad begins with his two-year old son Arthur as he climbs out of bed to get ready for work. He goes to the bathroom to brush his teeth, has breakfast and then heads off to open the store. Arthur works through a number of daily tasks such as polishing the counter, sweeping the floor, stocking shelves and serving customers. He even wraps a gift for one.
The film finishes as Arthur locks up the shop at the end of the day. He bends down to pick up a Christmas tree and as he stands up, he changes from a small boy to a man - played by Tom (Arthur’s dad). As he walks away with the tree, a neighbour waves and the slogan “Be a kid this Christmas” comes up.
The £100 budget was very well spent on the music - Alphaville’s song “forever young” sung by American singer-songwriter Andrea Von Kampen, adding a real vibe to the campaign.
So, one may wonder what makes up a great Christmas campaign? According to Kantar, a UK based market research company, a good Christmas campaign should tell a story, have a festive setting and evoke a feel-good emotional response, with the brand playing a subtle but key part in the story.
Tom followed the plan perfectly. With over 8,900 retweets (to date) and sudden world-wide acclaim, Tom’s message is heart-felt and simple. In a recent interview with ITV News, he asked people to “shop at your local independent shop”. He added “…Christmas can be a very expensive time for everyone and they need to save money where they can, but if they can afford to, just try and shop at your small independent shops and support us, it makes a big difference….”.
Perhaps we all need to take a leaf out of Tom’s book when it comes to marketing. And by supporting local businesses when it comes to shopping this Christmas (or even all year round).