Littlewoods brings back Santa in Xmas ads

Littlewoods has opted to bring back Santa in its Christmas ad campaign this year, after a negative backlash when last year’s ad attracted hundreds of complaints that it implied that Santa wasn’t real.

Santa’s back in Littlewoods’ Christmas ads.

Myleene Klass fronts the ad as Santa’s helper transforming products such as tablet devices and toys into magically wrapped gifts.

Littlewoods hopes to demonstrate that it can provide the perfect gift, from toys, health and beauty to high-end technology, and also offers an affordable payment option that can help families spread the cost of Christmas.

The ad highlights the “Littlewoods touch” strapline, which was introduced last month in the retailer’s autumn winter campaign, and will go on to become more central to the brand’s marketing strategy.

Gary Kibble, brand director at Littlewoods, told Marketing Week combining an affordability message with an emotional message was key to its Christmas marketing strategy.

He adds that although last year’s ad achieved the retailer’s strongest ever ROI, it had to be mindful about the negative feedback and wanted to include Santa in some way to avoid similar criticism.

“The negativity was a small but vocal group of people, I wasn’t a groundswell of negativity, but we needed to be thoughtful of it and felt that Santa should be in this year’s ad,” he says.

“If I’m being candid about our advertising, which I can be because I’ve led it for a few years now, is that in the past we’ve been a bit schizophrenic in our advertising. We’ve talked about affordability and product message but we’ve sort of jumped around. We needed to create a brand truth that is as true today as it will be in five years.”

Littlewoods is to increase its marketing spend by 44 per cent over the autumn and Christmas season, including a £4.2m investment in Christmas activity.

The ad, created by St Luke’s, launches online tomorrow (31 October) and breaks on TV 1 November. It will run for seven weeks.

Nearer Christmas Littlewoods will shift focus of its advertising to highlight its next day delivery option to reassure last minute shoppers that they can still take advantage of its range and payment options.

The online retailer is one of the first to break its Christmas advertising campaigns this year. Others are expected to follow suit this week and next.

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