‘There’s no point launching a Christmas ad in November’ says the Co-op

Having delayed its Christmas ad until the start of December, the Co-op insists it can get more cut-through by avoiding the November rush.

The Co-op will today (1 December) debut its headline Christmas TV ad, which features several community groups – from a pensioner’s choir to beatboxers – singing a cover of Blur’s Tender.

The campaign, created by agency Forever Beta, has no actors and is filled with real-life communities the Co-op brand directly benefits. Running across channels such as TV, video-on-demand, digital video, out-of-home, press and radio, there will also be mini films available online that tell the individual stories of the people featured.

Unlike the rest of the headline Christmas campaigns, the Co-op decided to delay the launch of its festive ad. It has conducted research that shows 50% of Brits believe Christmas doesn’t officially start until 1 December, with three out of five consumers stating Christmas ads currently start far too early.

READ MORE: Blockbuster ads fight product promotions for shrinking Christmas spend

Speaking to Marketing Week, the Co-op’s marketing communications director Amanda Jennings explains: “It’s really hard to stand out when everybody is running a campaign around yours. While it’s tempting to be in the November race [with John Lewis] because of the buzz it generates, it just doesn’t suit our business and isn’t really worth it anymore.

“Perhaps critics will say we’ve got a lot of catching up to do but I disagree with that. For me, it’s like when you’re on the dance floor and waiting for the bass to drop. The DJ holds it and holds it, and then it drops and people really feel it. That’s the approach I wanted for the Co-op’s ad.”

While it’s tempting to be in the November race [with John Lewis] because of the buzz it generates, it just doesn’t suit our business and isn’t really worth it anymore.

Amanda Jennings, Co-op

It’s been a positive year for the Co-op, with Kantar Worldpanel figures showing a consistent rise in monthly sales. For the 26 weeks to 1 July, the Co-op’s food business recorded a 3.5% rise in like-for-like sales, which marked its 14th consecutive quarter of growth. And Jennings says the business is benefitting from a clear brand identity and regularly talking about the difference it makes to communities.

Jennings is confident the Co-op can continue its recent momentum into Christmas. She concludes: “If we can get the nation to shop with us one more time at Christmas that’s worth £18m to the bottom line so that’s my primary motivation as a marketer.

“This campaign has a nice blend of heart strings, narrative and product, and I feel the best 2017 Christmas ads will be the ones that connect all three of these factors. At the moment, people are shopping little but often and I think that mentality will really benefit a convenience retailer this Christmas.”

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