The clocks have gone back and the nights are drawing in and so the countdown to Christmas begins.
Marks & Spencer, John Lewis, and Debenhams to name a few have all embraced Christmas in stores, and some retailers started stocking Christmas products as far back as August.
Visual merchandisers have been busy adorning window displays with Christmas trees and snow scenes.
Never one to be outdone with its Christmas windows, Selfridges staged a pantomime in the window of its Oxford Street store over the weekend to launch its pantomime themed displays.
The cast of the New Wimbledon Theatre’s production of Aladdin, including Ruby Wax, Pamela Anderson and Paul O’Grady all made an appearance.
A sleigh-load of Christmas advertising campaigns have already hit our screens as retailers seem to be going for early campaigns this year after 2008 saw a dearth of ads.
Debenhams was first off the blocks, returning to screens with a festive TV ad after holding back from TV advertising last year.
This was followed by Argos with its teaser campaign for its Christmas catalogue, giving an entertaining, if a little clichéd image of the traditional Christmas.
Shop Direct Group, the owner of three purely online retailers, Very.co.uk, Littlewoods and Woolworths, is throwing itself into TV this year with campaigns for all three retailers.
Fearne Cotton and Hollie Willoughby do a good job of creating a magical ice-skating scene targeting the fashion conscious teen market in their ad for online department store Very and the clothing line the pair co-designed for it.
While I think it’s a good idea to spread seasonal marketing throughout the period to avoid that last minute push that screams of desperation, retailers need to be wary as too much Christmas messaging too early on is more likely to alienate shoppers.
Making Christmas affordable is a popular message already, and one I think will pervade this year. BrightHouse and Littlewoods are both making their making their pay-weekly positions the centre of their advertising.
The supermarkets too, will be pitting themselves against each other as they compete to provide the biggest and best value Christmas dinner this year. A host of celebrities are expected to get on board the festive campaigns.
Tesco’s non-food ad campaign broke on Sunday (1 November) and will be followed by its Christmas food advert in a few weeks. Tesco has previously employed the Spice Girls and Des O’Conner to front it’s Christmas campaigns and is expected to feature it’s new Tesco family, starring Fay Ripley and Mark Addy this year.
M&S has gone all out with six different star studded festive TV ads this year and Morrisons’ Christmas campaign starring Richard Hammond and Denise van Outen is expected imminently.
M&S might be using the tag line “It’s not really Christmas without…” but if you ask me, it’s not really Christmas until Coca Cola tells me the “Holidays are Coming” and I catch a glimpse of those illuminated trucks in the distance.