KFC sends good luck message to Christmas cooks in cheeky ad: The Marketing Week Christmas blog 2019

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

18 November: KFC sends good luck message to Christmas cooks in cheeky ad

KFC is wishing Christmas cooks good luck as it tells turkey horror stories this Christmas.

The Christmas campaign centres on a series of five 10 second cartoon TV ads that tell hyperbolic stories of turkey disasters including one woman who resorts to dynamite to cut her hard turkey.

The brand promise that KFC will be consumers savior this turkey season with a product shot wishing all Christmas cooks “good luck”.

Kate Wall, head of advertising and retail at KFC UK & Ireland says: “Burnt, overdone, chewy, dry… we’ve all got a turkey horror story. And they’re usually enough to keep any family’s designated chef up all Christmas Eve.

“This year we wanted our Christmas campaign to take an irreverent, cheeky look at the ritual that has become ‘Christmas Turkey’. Wishing everyone good luck with the turkey on 25th December. ‘Cos until then we’ve got you.”

The ad is supported by outdoor and social.

18 November: Boden celebrates hospital staff as ‘real stars’ of Christmas


Boden is launching a Christmas video which celebrates NHS workers as  “the real stars of Christmas”.

The video shows Boden host a surprise party for healthcare workers, including nurses, doctors and hospital support staff, to thank them for the incredible work they do.

Johnnie Boden, founder of Boden says; “For most of us Christmas day is all turkey, tinsel and too many festive tipples. But for those on the healthcare frontline this festive season, the reality is very different. That’s why this year our ‘Wear The Joy, Share The Joy’ campaign is about celebrating and giving something back to the real stars of Christmas.”

14 November: WWF launches ad to highlight global challenges facing wildlife this Christmas

The WWF is launching a campaign this Christmas that aims to bring to life the challenges facing wildlife as a result of deforestation.

The ad, created by agency Uncommon, uses stop-motion animation to highlight the plight of the jaguar. It shows a young girl trying to rally a crowd to protect the threatened jaguar as it flees deforestation. The ad concludes in the girl’s bedroom, where there is a charcoal drawing of a jaguar that has been created using charcoal from trees destroyed in a rainforest fire.

WWF director of campaigns Fanny Calder says: “We often feel that, as individuals, we are helpless to stop the destruction of nature. But when we think of ourselves as a collective, we have real power.

“In order to end deforestation – one of the biggest threats currently facing the future of our planet – it is essential that people and nature work with one another, not against. An area of forest the size of South America has already been cleared to grow the world’s crops, and this destruction is putting treasured wildlife species such as the jaguar in extreme danger.”

In the first nine months of the year, almost 60,000 square kilometres of land was burnt in the Amazon, up 96% compared to a year previously. SV

14 November: Burberry launches festive campaign ‘What Is Love?’

Burberry chief creative officer Riccardo Tisci is marking his first Christmas in charge of the fashion house with a campaign that assembles a cast of talent to celebrate togetherness.

The campaign centres around an ad of the cast – which includes Carla Bruni, Wu Tsang and Ruben Loftus-Cheek – dancing to What Is Love? by Deee-Lite.

“I am connected to the idea of unity, togetherness and challenging the perception of what love is today. This for me is the real spirit of the season. It’s one of my favourite times of the year – when I can stop, reflect and reconnect with those who make me feel happy and at home, no matter where I am in the world.

“I loved the idea of bringing together a group of people that
have been so supportive of me since I joined Burberry to celebrate my first holiday campaign for the house,” says Tisci. SV

13 November: Is John Lewis behind this Christmas ad teaser?

A short video doing the rounds on Twitter appears to be teasing this year’s John Lewis ad.

The 10-second video was tweeted on a new Twitter account from Excitable Edgar. It shows someone knocking on a door, which has a dragon-face door knock, and the door opening slightly to reveal what looks like a fire.

It ends with the line ‘Meet Edgar 14.11.19′ and the hashtag #ExcitableEdgar.

The film has already been watched more than 2.1 million times, with comments suggesting people think it is a teaser for the John Lewis ad.

Another film, tweeted by both John Lewis and Waitrose’s Twitter accounts, shows the two retailers’ “favourite festive moments”. The tweet also starts with the line “Christmas is all about coming together”, suggesting this year’s campaign could be for both retailers for the first time. SV

11 November: Debenhams puts focus on thoughtful gifting

Debenhams has enlisted the help of former X Factor contestant Fleur East for its Christmas campaign focused on thoughtful gifting.

In the campaign, created in-house, East is seen acting as a festive fairy godmother, taking the stress out of shopping for hard-to-buy-for family members with a wave of her magic wand. In a second ad, Debenhams showcases its range of advent calendars.

Debenhams creative director Mark Stevens says: “When it comes to buying gifts, being thoughtful can often result in more stress, added expense and visits to multiple shops. However, Debenhams is here to put the fun back into the festivities.”

The TV ads are supported by outdoor, social media, digital and print activity, and will be brought to life in shop windows and in-store. SV

8 November: Retailers urged to make Christmas ads accessible for people with sight loss

The Royal National Institute of Blind People is urging retailers to make their Christmas ads accessible for people with sight loss.

Despite more than 2 million suffering from sight loss, the majority of ads are not produced with audio description, making the content inaccessible to this audience. Audio description is additional commentary that explains what’s happening on screen to people with sight loss.

RNIB CEO Matt Stringer says: “There is absolutely no reason why retailers can’t audio describe their adverts so that blind and partially sighted people are included at Christmas. It’s easy to produce at a tiny fraction of the budget that big brands spend on their adverting campaigns. They are also missing out on marketing their products and services to up to two million people which makes no sense at all.

“Christmas TV adverts are fast becoming an essential part of the UK’s festive culture and we believe that everyone should be able to take part in the conversation around them, no matter how they see.”

Brands including Asda and Marks & Spencer have already committed to adding audio description to their festive campaigns. SV

6 November: And on the seventh day of Christmas retail Aldi Australia gave to us…

The Miracle Ham. EH.

5 November: Barbour celebrates 125 years of wax jackets in animated Christmas film

It’s 1894 and Father Christmas has just been gifted a new wax jacket from his beloved wife, Mrs C. Barbour, of course, which goes on to help him overcome the god-forsaken challenges that come with having to scale millions of chimneys each year to make sure children all over the world never suspect it is their parents filling the stockings at the end of their bed.

Inspired by Raymond Briggs’s children’s book, Father Christmas, the animated tale follows Father Christmas through 125 years of Christmas Eve present drops. The message is simple: yes, his iconic waxed Barbour has picked up some scruffs and scrapes along the way, but it has always kept him warm and dry.

“For our 125th anniversary year, we wanted to do something special for our Christmas campaign,” says Barbour’s global marketing and commercial director, Paul Wilkinson.

“Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas is a much loved children’s book and it has inspired our film, which as well as capturing the spirit of the festive season in a humorous tale, also allows us to demonstrate the sustainability of our iconic wax jackets which, if rewaxed regularly, will last a long long time.”

In case there was any room for ambiguity, it’s Barbour’s 125th birthday this year. They do, of course, do a range of iconic wax jackets for dogs too. EH

Who’s a warm and dry pooch, then? Is it you? Yes, yes it is.

5 November: Gap gets sentimental in festive campaign

Gap is celebrating thoughtful relationships and gifting this Christmas with the launch of its ‘Gift the Thought’ platform, which has curated a wide range of thoughtful gifts to really celebrate those thoughtful relationships.

For example:
When you gift pajamas: ‘Because sleeping is your favorite sport’.
When you gift the new Upcycled Puffer that puts 40 discarded plastic bottles to good use: ‘Because you can rock any color and still be green’.
When you gift outerwear: ‘Because you’re cool under all those layers’.
When you gift denim to someone you lovingly watch grow up: ‘Because you grow up so fast’.

But it is its hoodie that is the star of this year’s Christmas ad, which tells the story of a young boy and his mother’s relationship over the years. And guess what has been there all along?

The film ends with the mother giving her now fully-grown son the iconic Gap Logo Hoodie as a gift with a gift tag featuring a ‘Gift the Thought’ note, ‘Because you’ve been there all along.’

God bless those thoughtful gifts that have been there all along. EH

5 November: TK Maxx unleashes daredevil skier to put adventure back into gifting

2019 is about turning off the gifting autopilot and gifting more adventurously, says TK Maxx, which is looking to bring to life a new “gifting ethos” in this year’s Christmas campaign.

The campaign, created by Wieden+Kennedy, features a daredevil gifter, known  as “TK”, who is on a very specific mission: to gift like he’s never gifted before.

Sick and tired of the same old gifts from the same old shops, the festive hero skis off-piste on an alpine adventure in Gift Different, the latest iteration of TK Maxx’s Ridiculous Possibilities platform.

TK, helped along by Ravel’s Bolero, is determined to find gifts to make friends and family go “Oooooah” and “Ahhhh” and leave them with grins so big they hurt (because nothing says Christmas like a painful grin).

“Our advert taps into something we know a lot of people dread; giving or receiving dull or predictable gifts,” says Deborah Dolce, group brand and marketing director at TK Maxx.

“The ad is a humorous metaphor encouraging people to take a more daring route to finding more exciting Christmas presents. Our TK character puts the fun and adventure back into Christmas shopping, showing that you can find unique and special gifts with us we hope he will raise some smiles along the way too.”

The advert ends on TK’s final mighty jump – skiing into a cosy winter chalet where his family awaits. And because we all know how much marketers love to surprise and delight consumers: a surprising selection of gifts ranging from oversized soft toys to designer handbags to record players, end up in the hands of delighted family members.

Bill Nighy has the final word. EH

4 November: Amazon brings back its singing boxes

Amazon’s singing boxes will start singing again this evening with their rendition of Solomon Burke’s ‘Everybody Needs Somebody to Love’.

The TV spot, created by Lucky Generals, shows families, friends, colleagues and strangers coming together as they sing and dance along with the boxes and, in the spirit of Christmas, leave any concerns about how much tax Amazon has paid and reports of poor warehouse working conditions at the door.

The full 90-second ad will air this evening during ITV’s Coronation Street, with 60-second and 30-second versions running alongside the main spot throughout the festive period.

A further series of ads will also run in parallel to highlight specific festive moments, including a focus on Black Friday, gift giving and preparing for Christmas parties.

“What matters most at Christmas is spending quality time together, with loved ones, family and friends,” says Simon Morris, vice-president of global creative at Amazon.

“This campaign is about those special moments that we all share at this time of year and how Amazon helps to deliver smiles and play a small part in creating these wonderful memories.” EH

4 November: Selfridges goes for ‘coolly stylised, edgy and abstract’

Selfridges has entered the Christmas advertising fray with an “optimistic vision” of the festive season with an ad about the “enduring Christmas message of love through the togetherness of family and friends”.

‘Future Fantasy: A Christmas for Modern Times’ tells in a “coolly stylised, edgy and, in parts, abstract way” the story of two co-hosts – played by Noomi Rapace and Miguel – as they lead an eclectic party of friends through their Christmas celebrations.

The viewer is taken on a slightly enigmatic journey, from a warm-hearted and convivial dinner party to a dreamy 3019-style next-level house party, while an ad-lib spoken word voiceover performed by actor and musician Little Simz tells an alternative Christmas tale.

“Through Future Fantasy, we want to tell a traditional story in a non-traditional, future facing-way,” says Sebastian Manes, Selfridges executive buying & merchandising director.

“We are interested in reaching our customers via extraordinary physical and digital experiences and environments and across different creative mediums. I hope this story of an alternative family coming together at Christmas time engages and entertains both our current, and future, Selfridges customers in an unexpected way.” EH

4 November: Halfords and ‘The Gift That Keeps on Giving’

Halfords is hoping to create some “pure, unadulterated, unfiltered joy” this Christmas with an ad that has exchanged all things tinsel and snow for a single shot of a young girl having a great time on her new bike.

The wholesome work by Karmarama aims to remind parents of the “true gift” of giving a bike at Christmas and portray the “unbridled happiness and sense of freedom only riding a bike can bring”. (Halfords has obviously never experienced the joy and freedom that comes with finally finishing a Sudoku that’s taken weeks to do.)

“As parents set out on their annual searches for the best gifts, we wanted to champion children’s bikes and remind parents of the unadulterated joy and benefits it brings,” says Caroline Waller, group head of marketing.

“We are proud to have worked with Karmarama to create an ad that beautifully captures the real impact of a bike on a child’s happiness, not just on Christmas day but all year round.”

tldr: Bikes are for life, not just for Christmas. EH

1 November: Very tugs at the heartstrings in community cartoon

Very is encouraging consumers to “get more out of giving” for its Christmas campaign, which this year takes the form of a community-focused cartoon.

‘Pass the parcel’ shows the story of a community that comes together to give Sidney, a lonely older man, a good Christmas. The community races to pack a bright pink Very parcel that includes Christmas lights and a jumper, as Sidney walks along their street.

It ends with Sidney receiving the gift and his neighbours celebrating Christmas with him, with the tagline ‘get more out of giving’.

Andrew Roscoe, head of brand at Shop Direct, which owns Very, says: “It has been a real joy bringing together the characters from our previous campaigns as a community who care and support each other.”

The campaign, created by St. Luke’s, features TV, digital, print, outdoor and social media activity. A separate behind the scenes film will run on YouTube and Facebook from 1 November and includes The Social Singing Choir, who recorded the soundtrack, talking about their own emotional life stories and the importance of community.

Roscoe adds: “We believe you get more out of giving, and this powerful message is especially important at this time of year.”

Very will also be launching a separate ad in the run-up to Black Friday from 16 November. MF

1 November: Cineworld’s epic cinema charades

Cineworld is creating its own game of charades this Christmas but with an “epic, cinematic twist” to reflect the struggles consumers face when it comes to guessing what gifts to buy loved ones.

In the ad, it’s Christmas Day and a family game of charades is in motion. But this isn’t any old game of charades, this is charades with an epic, cinematic twist. Hence nine-year-old Lottie transforming herself into characters from upcoming blockbusters including Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Frozen 2, Top Gun: Maverick and Wonder Women: 1984, and taking her family on a cinematic journey through film.

Beyond that, Cineworld will be hosting a nationwide charades tournament in each of its 100 cinemas, inviting customers to battle it out across the UK to win Cineworld gifting products.

Social content will include a Facebook Live competition, which will see Britain’s Got Talent winners, Twist and Pulse, go head-to-head in their own game of Cineworld charades.

Finally, staying true to theme, each cinema has been furnished with campaign point-of-sale, including 7-foot Christmas trees made entirely out of charades cards with a Cineworld star on top.

“Finding the perfect gift for someone isn’t easy… it often feels just like a guessing game. So this year, using the game of Charades and the power of imagination, we’re giving Christmas a twist on the traditional, with a campaign that takes the guesswork out of gifting,” says Cineworld’s head of marketing, Casey Cohen.

“This concept will be adapted across multiple touchpoints, mobilising cinema teams and influencers to bring our campaign to life in our cinema foyers and on social media. Each of our gift boxes will include a branded pack of Cineworld Charades, so families across the country will also be bringing our campaign to life in their own living rooms over the holiday season.” EH

1 November: Christmas ad spend forecast to hit £6.8bn

UK businesses will spend £6.8bn on seasonal advertising during the final quarter of this year, according to figures from the Advertising Association.

This is up 4.7% on 2018’s spend and a record high.

“Christmas is the biggest time of the year for brands and retailers and they recognise the power of advertising to tell a story that will capture the public’s imagination and tempt them into store or online,” says Stephen Woodford, chief executive of the Advertising Association.

“This year looks set to be a ground-breaking year for ad spend and, at £6.8bn, the figure would be an increase on last year’s, which was itself a record. We’re hopefully looking forward to a season of goodwill for British advertising and the national economy as brands and retailers invest in festive adverts like never before”. EH

31 October: Notonthehighstreet tries to inject joy into joyless UK

Notonthehighstreet is hoping to cheer up a politically fatigued nation this Christmas with a campaign channelling happiness.

The retailer says its Give Happy campaign will tap into the moments that “embody” the joy of the festive season, the joy of giving or receiving thoughtful gifts, and the joy of supporting the UK’s best small creative businesses who make or source them.

The campaign includes a TV sponsorship with Channel 4 for the second year running, totalling over 2,000 hours of sponsored programming, as well as the launch of two pop-up shops in London.

For the first time, the campaign is supported by notonthehighstreet’s four celebrity small business supporters – Fearne Cotton, Gok Wan, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Giovanna Fletcher. They have all curated their own gift collections that feature in the Christmas Gift Guide and are shoppable through the site or app.

Notonthehighstreet has also created short films that capture their visit to an entrepreneur to find out the business story and behind-the-scenes work that goes into the creation of a gift.

“Both the creative execution and the channels we’re using allow us to engage with our audience repeatedly in a way that fits in with their lives,” says chief commercial and marketing officer Ella d’Amato.

“We hope to highlight the value of supporting small creative businesses at this time of year, not only because they are creating thoughtful and meaningful gifts but also for the important contribution they make to the way we work and to the UK economy. Our campaign this year will cement notonthehighstreet’s position as a champion of small business and as the joy-spreading, one-stop-shop for thoughtful or mindfully-made gifts.”

Notonthehighstreet is yet to confirm whether the campaign will tap into the joy of an end to Brexit. EH



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