Greenpeace spoofs Coca-Cola’s Christmas ad – The Marketing Week Christmas blog 2017

Welcome to the Marketing Week Christmas blog! A chance for the MW team to cram all the latest festive advertising news into one place.

17 November – Greenpeace spoofs Coca-Cola’s Christmas ad

Coca-Cola’s Christmas campaign is mainly known for its red truck, spreading festive joy wherever it goes. But Greenpeace is hoping to steal away its limelight by highlighting “an unfortunate side effect” of bottled fizzy drinks – plastic bottles ending up in landfill, on beaches and in the ocean.

The video shows a montage of happy family Christmases, with lots of subtle signs that all is not quite as it should be. Just out of shot, a red-lit truck passes by. The final scene shows the lorry, a large dump truck laden with plastic waste, driving across a beach and into the surf, where the Santa-suited driver tips his load into the sea, and throws the Coke bottle he is drinking after it.

“The world is waking up to the plastic crisis in our oceans. We produced more plastic in the last ten years than during the entire twentieth century, less than 10% of it gets recycled, and it lasts for centuries, for the sake of products we only used for seconds,” Elena Polisano, oceans campaigner for Greenpeace UK, says.

“Coca Cola is the world’s biggest soft drinks producer and the source of over a hundred billion disposable plastic bottles every year. They have the power to change how drinks are packaged, and how that packaging is managed. This Christmas, we’re asking Coke to show some goodwill to our oceans and shrink their enormous plastic footprint.” LR

15 November – M&S launches festive food campaign

Marks & Spencer is following up its Paddington-themed Christmas brand campaign with a separate campaign for its food. Launching online at 5pm this afternoon, with a TV debut to follow this evening, the first ad features food for hosting, while a second will highlight food for gifting.

Hero products including a hot seafood medley, bone marrow pie and steak and chips party food. Created by creative agency Grey, it is set to a festive re-working of Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape of You’ and also features the first on-screen kiss by Percy and Penny pig. The TV ad will be accompanied by social, digital, press, radio and in-store activity.

Zoe Hayward, head of food brand and marketing at M&S, says: “The campaign is about making this Christmas extraordinary for our customers. We know our customers love the magic of Christmas and we want to make every moment they spend with family and friends special, especially when it comes to hosting and gifting.  

“Customers want to be inspired, excited and for their lives to be made more fun, festive and even easier when it comes to these moments. As a result, we have focused our campaign on hosting and gifting, helping them spend it well this Christmas.” SV

13 November – Greggs launches its first ever advent calendar

Those who love a sausage roll, rejoice! Greggs is releasing a limited-edition advent calendar, which it describes as “the ultimate Christmas gift for every Greggs fan”.

Each door reveals a tear-off token that can be taken into Greggs’ shops and exchanged for a different treat every day from its Christmas and wider menu, including the Festive Bake, flavoured lattes, sweet mince pie and a sausage roll (naturally).

On Christmas Eve, a £5 gift card sits behind door 24 – but some lucky customers will find a surprise £25 gift card. The campaign was created by creative communications agency Taylor Herring.

A limited number of the calendars will go on sale in selected Greggs’ shops across the UK from Monday 20 November until stocks last, priced at £24.

A Greggs spokesperson said: “Novelty advent calendars have been around for years, so we thought it was time to take the concept up a notch. Fans won’t be disappointed by what’s behind the doors – there’s a delicious Greggs gift to enjoy every day of the December advent season, from sausage rolls to Christmas sandwiches and of course our infamous Festive Bake.” LR

13 November – My 1st Years launches first TV ad for Christmas

Children’s retailer My 1st Years, known for its cute, personalised baby gifts, is launching its first TV ad in time for Christmas.

The #MakeXmasMagical campaign launched yesterday (12 November) and will run for two weeks featuring a selection of the brands top sellers, including the dressing gown worn by Prince George when he met Barack Obama. LT

10 November – TK Maxx promises to deliver a white Christmas

Are you dreaming of a white Christmas, but feeling pessimistic about your chances? Don’t worry, retailer TK Maxx is looking to deliver it to your door this year – as long as you keep your eyes peeled for a special snow globe.

A limited number of two-foot ‘White Christmas’ snow globes will be hidden in stores across Europe from 17 November. TK Maxx and Wieden+Kennedy London are working with snow experts from film industry specialists Snow Business to bring an actual white Christmas to homes – or another location of their choice.

Deborah Dolce, group brand and marketing director at TK Maxx said: “Our aim was to do something much more exciting than just the traditional Christmas TV ad. We wanted to create a real and magical experience for our shoppers which is great fun and one in which everyone has a chance to participate. A snowy version of a golden ticket! We know that lots of people dream of a white Christmas and it’s a special and very fun way to bring friends and family together.” LR

10 November – Lego returns to TV for the first time since 2013

Danish toy brand Lego is returning to mainstream TV in the build up to Christmas for the first time since 2013. The ad will be aired tomorrow (11 November) around The X Factor.

The ‘Give the Gift of Imagination’ campaign features young children who have received a wrapped gift box, and on giving it a quick shake immediately know it’s Lego. Much excitement and fist-pumping follow as they start talking about their ideas and what they think they will build when they can finally open the gift.

In addition to The X Factor it will feature in ad breaks of other prime time TV shows including I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, Emmerdale, Coronation Street and Ninja Warriors. To connect with digital audiences, the ad will be run on platforms including You Tube, Facebook, Snapchat and Amazon.

“With this year’s Lego Christmas campaign ‘Give the gift of Imagination’ we celebrate the imagination and creativity of children,” says Marius Lang, head of UK marketing. LR

9 November – John Lewis accidentally puts star of its ad on sale early

john lewis christmas

John Lewis is always keen to keep its Christmas ad under wraps until its launch but it seems it has let the cat out of the bag early this year. A £20 toy that looks a lot like the monster that has been teased on social media with the hashtag #underthebed appeared in its Canary Wharf store.

A city worker spotted the toys, telling The Sun “it had to be the character from the adverts”. The John Lewis Christmas ad is expected to launch imminently.

8 November – Fortnum & Mason unveils its Christmas windows

Luxury department store Fortnum & Mason, famous for its extravagant festive window displays, is urging people to come together this Christmas with the launch of its ‘Together We’re Merrier’ campaign.

Working with design agency Otherway, the brand has created a tapestry-style installation, which will adorn the windows at its flagship store in London, each highlighting a festive moment that brings family and friends together, such as dressing the tree and enjoying a Christmas feast.

A 50-metre-long version will also feature at the Fortnum’s Arcade, part of the ice skating experience on offer at Somerset House over the next two months.

Fortnum & Mason customer experience director, Zia Zareem-Slade says: “Like last year, the sentiment of ‘Together We’re Merrier’ remains so very relevant. We live in extraordinary times, so to focus on the amazing things that can happen when we all pull together, and the joy that comes from sharing exceptional food, drink and gifts with friends and family feels important.” LT

7 November – Coca-Cola reveals further details of its Christmas celebrations

While Coca-Cola had previously revealed that it was bringing back its ‘Holidays are coming’ campaign as well as the Christmas truck tour, new details have emerged of what else we can expect from the soft drinks giant.

This year, the campaign also extends to packaging with limited edition packs featuring the image of Father Christmas enjoying a bottle of Coca-Cola. The marketing campaign is the biggest ever, with the company set to spend over £7m during the Christmas period.

The media investment extends to experiential, radio, cinema, OOH – with a bespoke bus format that adds a twinkle to the ads – and digital. Coca-Cola has also partnered with Snapchat and will offer a variety of filters and lenses throughout the Christmas season in the UK and Ireland. A new #holidaysarecoming Twitter emoji will also return due to last year’s popularity. LR

7 November – Is this a teaser for the John Lewis Christmas ad?

john lewis christmas

Speculation is mounting that a short video clip doing the rounds on social media is a teaser for this year’s John Lewis Christmas campaign. The four-second video shows a pair of eyes and uses the hashtag #UnderTheBed. It was tweeted from a Twitter account set up back in October that doesn’t follow any other accounts.

The John Lewis Christmas ad is expected to be unveiled this week. SV

6 November – Amazon spreads some Christmas cheer with its singing boxes

Amazon is hoping to spread some Christmas cheer with a festive campaign that shows its boxes having a sing-a-long to ‘Give a Little Bit’ by Supertramp as they head off on a “magical journey” from the warehouse conveyor belt around the world via planes, boats and trucks. The story is held together by the story of a female commuter buying a fit for a little girl.

Created by Lucky Generals, the campaign looks to bring some personality to the retailer’s iconic boxes as Christmas shopping ramps up. Amazon is also prepping for Black Friday, with plans to offer deals for 10 days from 16 to 26 November, as well as a pop-up experience in London. SV

6 November – Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot looks set to return

It looks like Aldi is bringing back Kevin the Carrot for 2017 after releasing a teaser about the Christmas character, who first hit screens last year.

It has apparently been a “life-changing” 12 months for the carrot, and he is now “looking for someone special to share his amazing life with”, suggesting there will be a Mrs (or Mr) Carrot in this year’s ad.

His dating profile describes him as an “adventurous carrot top” who is “looking for love in time for Christmas”. LT

6 November – M&S unveils Christmas ad teaser

Marks & Spencer is getting consumers in the Christmas mood with a ‘breaking news’ teaser for its festive ad launching tomorrow.

Newsreader Angela Rippon tells viewers that Santa has been caught on video wandering the streets (and rooftops) of London, “not with an elf but with a bear”.

The bear in question is of course Paddington Bear, who the retailer has teamed up with for its festive campaign this year, ahead of the Paddington 2 movie hitting the big screen on Friday (10 November). LT

6 November – takes inspiration from Frozen for second ‘Get more out of giving’ Christmas ad has taken inspiration from Disney’s Frozen for its animated Christmas ad this year, which follows a little girl called Anna as she tries to spread festive joy by giving gifts to all her loved ones.

She embarks on a treacherous adventure with her toy wolf Ulfie, to cross the final recipient off her list – Santa.

For the first time, has launched a collection of merchandise inspired by the ad, including an Ulfie toy wolf, as well as pyjamas, slippers and Anna’s duffel coat.

The online department store resurrected its ‘Get more out of giving’ strapline, after its research showed 74% of Brits prefer to give gifts rather than receive them.

Alongside the TV ad, is also launching a social campaign featuring a series of films fronted by Heart FM presenter Emma Bunton. The #lovegiving campaign sees Bunton ask kids to choose between receiving their most coveted gift or giving a present to their parents. LT

2 November – Caffè Nero looks to mobile Christmas crackers for a customer engagement boost

Caffè Nero’s Christmas activity has kicked off with a promotional partnership with mobile payment and loyalty marketing platform Yoyo, aiming to “surprise and delight” customers with digital Christmas Crackers every time they buy their usual hot drinks over he festive period. The crackers appear on the Yoyo-powered Caffè Nero app, which customers then ‘shake’ or ‘pull’ open to find out if they’ve won a prize.

There will be around 200,000 prizes on offer, including gift cards, unlimited free coffee and a trip to Milan.

The data collected from the app by Yoyo is also being used by Caffè Nero on follow-up marketing campaigns, like an ‘Instant Win Christmas Cracker’. These promotions will be adapted and personalised in real time to the consumer’s behaviour.

According to Marcus Denison-Smith, head of marketing at Caffè Nero, the activity is intended to provide customers with “opportunities to create more rewarding experiences linked to their every day transactions”. The brand has been using the app since April 2017. MB

1 November – Holidays (and the Coca-Cola truck) are coming

Coca-Cola’s ‘Holidays are coming’ ad is now a landmark of the festive season in the UK, despite the ostensible Americanness of the 22-year-old creative. The brand has announced dates when UK consumers can expect the famous truck to visit their town in 2017.

It will visit 42 locations starting in Glasgow on 11 November, with a dedicated microsite publishing all the dates and stops on the roadshow. Coca-Cola promises visitors can “project your festive selfies across the side of the truck as it lights up”, and enjoy a Winter Wonderland setting. MB

1 November – Vodafone tells the story of a festive romance

Vodafone has brought back actor Martin Freeman to star in a series of short films that will appear across TV, digital and social that take a “fresh” look at a festive romance.

‘A Christmas Love Story’, created by WPP Team Red, sees Freeman meeting a mysterious woman on the train and bonding over their love of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’. A series of problems, such as a lack of pay-as-you-go credit, threaten to put paid to the romance but there is a happy ending, unsurprisingly made possible by some of the products and services Vodafone offers.

The campaign continues Vodafone’s strategy of highlighting various aspects of its offering. This time round, it focuses on the company’s new pay-as-you-go contracts and Vodafone Passes, which allow pay monthly customers to gain unlimited access to their favourite apps without using up their data.

The campaign launches tonight (1 November) with a Channel 4 “roadblock”, with the ad airing across Channel 4, E4 and More 4 at 9.30pm. The ads will also be available on YouTube, with all the components phased across channels to ensure consumers can follow the story across devices.

Bilge Ciftci, Vodafone UK’s brand director, says: “We’re so proud of our latest campaign with Martin Freeman. It brings to life just how much our customers can rely on our products and services to stay in touch with loved ones and enjoy the content they love, wherever they may be.

“Using smart media planning, viewers will be guided through a series of TV and social films which sees Martin fall in love and maintain a long distance relationship – despite a few setbacks.  Through Martin’s creativity and humour, we believe our festive love story will warm hearts this Christmas.” SV

1 November – Charity wraps famous London statues

hands on london

Charity Hands On London is wrapping three of London’s most iconic statutes in bright red coats as it looks to raise awareness of its annual coat collection. Experiential agency Sense London is adorning the Sherlock Holmes statue at Baker Street station, Amy Winehouse at Camden Market and Kinder Transport at Liverpool Street station in the red coats, and asking people to donate their old coats, which go to those in need including the homeless, elderly and refugees.

The wrapping up will take place on Sunday (5 November) and will remain in place for three weeks.

“A person’s spare coat and your time cannot only help keep a person warm, it can also save their life,” says Jon Meech, CEO of Hands on London. “Sense has created something groundbreaking for us, and we could not be more pleased with how they’ve helped us spread that message.”

Last year, almost 23,000 coats were donated to the appeal. The charity is particularly in need of men’s jackets this year, although any donations are welcome, for more details head to SV

1 November – Cineworld introduces new mascot Gus as it aims to showcase ‘the wonder of cinema’ this Christmas

Cineworld is hoping to convince consumers to buy their loved ones the gift of cinema this Christmas with a new campaign that introduces animated creature Gus.

Created by agency Douglass/Day and animation studio Blue Zoo, the animated Gus is shown reacting with awe and glee to the trailers of forthcoming movie releases. Running across cinema and social, it aims to promote the Cineworld gift card, Unlimited card and Christmas gift box.

Casey Cohen, head of marketing at Cineworld, says: “We wanted to try something a little different this festive season to promote our gifting offering and cut through the busy consumer space to engage with our customers.” SV

31 October – DFS focuses on delivery for festive spot

DFS is bringing back the Aardman characters featured in its most recent campaign for a festive push that puts the focus on its delivery service. Created by krow, DFS will push the message that its autumn and winter collection sofas are currently up to half price, with many guaranteed to arrive before Christmas.

The spot, which breaks today, will run across TV, press, digital and social for five weeks. The 30-second hero film, ‘Joy of Home’, follows real employees Dom and Will as they deliver sofas “and joy”, according to the brand, at customers’ homes.

Nick Ashworth, head of marketing at DFS, says: “We are exceptionally proud of our delivery teams and wanted to use the skills and charm of Aardman Animations to shine a light on them and their dedication and commitment during the teams’ busiest time of year – the run up to Christmas. The result is a heart-warming Christmas ad showing the importance of delivering comfort to our customers.” SV

28 October – Virgin Atlantic offers opportunity to crowdfund flights for Christmas

Virgin Atlantic is offering customers the change to crowdfund flights to somewhere they really want to go for Christmas, instead of receiving unwanted gifts.

For the campaign agency adam&eve/DDB has created a website,, where people can choose a destination, create a profile and then get friends and families to donate towards the cost of a flight there. Department store Liberty is also selling gift cards that can be used towards the cost of a flight.

Virgin Atlantic is promoting the site through digital, social and outdoor ads. There is also a film that shows the contrast between receiving unwanted gifts and enjoying a much-wanted trip.

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