John Lewis gears up for Christmas ad launch

John Lewis is preparing for the launch of its much-anticipated Christmas ad campaign with a push on social media.

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The retailer is teasing a “Twitter Twinkle” app on its Facebook and Twitter pages. The tool will allow John Lewis to take over the Twitter accounts of those that sign-up, changing their cover picture and sending out a tweet to their followers on Thursday (6 November) evening.

On the sign-up page, John Lewis says: “Help us turn on the Christmas lights. We’ll light up your cover photo and share the Christmas cheer with a tweet from you to all your friends this Thursday night.”

The timing coincides with the event for the Oxford Street Christmas lights turn-on, which John Lewis is hosting this year. Acts including Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, singer Jess Glynne and the cast of West End musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory are all set to perform.

John Lewis is also launching its much-anticipated festive ad campaign on Thursday as it looks to build on the success of last year’s “The bear and the hare”. That campaign was launched with much fanfare, including an art installation on the South Bank in London and the takeover of an entire ad break during the X Factor on ITV.

However Andy Street, John Lewis’ managing director, has promised that this year’s campaign will take a “more modest approach”, according to The Times, having raised concerns that some consumers were put off by the hype around its Christmas ads last year.

The marketing campaign was credited for helping push sales up 6.9% at John Lewis over the Christmas period. That was in contrast to the fortunes of many high street names, which were forced to cut prices to boost sales, with Debenhams issuing a profit warning and Marks & Spencer’s clothing sales disappointing.

Retailers are feeling more confident about Christmas trading this year, with 70% saying they feel optimistic, ahead of the 52% that said they were feeling positive last year, according to a report from Barclays. The majority of those surveyed (72%) also said they expect to see sales growth, with 21% expecting that increase to be in excess of 10%.

Richard Lowe, head of retail and wholesale at Barclays, says: “2014 has been a good year for many retailers thanks to heightened consumer confidence and this is clearly reflected in their brighter outlook for the Christmas season. It’s interesting to see that purchases on tablets have been cited as retailers’ biggest opportunity for growth and social commerce is also one to watch in the future, as ‘buy buttons’ on social networking sites will make online shopping even more accessible.”

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