Virgin Media and Pringles launch festive ads: The Marketing Week Christmas blog 2020

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

26 November: Virgin Media launches festive giveaway

Virgin Media is rewarding customers with 25 days of giveaways and prizes this Christmas.

The ‘Let’s do Christmas’ digital campaign, created by RAPP UK, is fronted by Big Zuu, grime MC and star of Big Zuu’s Big Eats on Dave.

The panto-themed ad shows the wicked queen hide all the gifts on offer to customers before Big Zuu and her Virgin Media engineer sidekick go on a mission to rescue them.

Prizes on offer include a £3,000 shopping spree at John Lewis, a year’s worth of Virgin Wines, weekend stays in a luxury lodge and on a boat, pampering days and a top-end smartphone. On Christmas Day, one customer will also win a stay in a castle with their friends and family.

Virgin Media has also partnered with The Big Issue to give a daily cash gift of £1,000 to a vendor of the magazine who will be local to the customer prize winner. It is also partnering with Scope to offer disabled children access to Santa via a virtual grotto.

Virgin Media executive director of brand and marketing Cilesta Van Doorn says: “One of the best things to have come out of 2020 is a sense of community and taking care of others who find themselves more vulnerable than ever.

“That’s why I’m thrilled that we have been able to support some of those vendors at the Big Issue who have been hugely affected by the lack of passers-by they’d usually see on streets across the country. And likewise, working with Scope to ensure that some children who may not have done otherwise, will get the opportunity to meet Santa as he too complies with the new rules this year.”

26 November: Pringles urges people to celebrate the little moments this Christmas

Pringles wants to show customers that even the smallest occasion can be transformed into an opportunity to celebrate this Christmas.

The campaign, by Grey London, features a number of short videos highlighting the fun that can be had with Pringles: playing virtual charades, creating a wreath and popping a tube like a bottle of champagne.

Pringles EMEA marketing director Olga Pere says: “Now, more than ever, we want to bring our sense of playfulness to consumers and demonstrate that festive celebrations are not just limited to big events. Even small or virtual gatherings can transform into unexpected fun with the Pringles attitude.”

November 20: KFC rolls out first merchandise collection as it urges fans to ‘let the gravy flow’

KFC is introducing its first merchandise collection helping fried chicken fans share a bit of love this Christmas.

Available online, a portion of the sales of the responsibly sourced beanies, jumpers and T-shirts will go to support young people across the UK via the KFC Foundation’s charity partner, Comic Relief.

The fast-food chain is also unveiling a TV campaign to promote its new Christmas Gravy Burger box meal, including five 10-second adverts created in collaboration with Sky. The ads parody three iconic Christmas films – Love Actually, Die Hard and Terminator.

“We’re really proud of this fun, jam-packed campaign, which we hope will sprinkle some much-needed joy this Christmas,” says KFC UK and Ireland marketing manager, Amy Binns.

“Our gravy is iconic and we know KFC fans nationwide love it, so it felt only right to put it at the heart of our festive offering this year. We’re aiming to bring a smile at the end of a year like no other – whether it’s through getting cosy in one of our hoodies, or feeling the festive vibes early from the new ads.”

20 November: The Body Shop and Channel 4 highlight the growing female homelessness crisis

Boots and Channel 4 Unseen Kingdoms The Body Shop has joined forces with Channel 4 to highlight the growing number of young women becoming homeless across the UK.

The beauty brand and broadcaster have collaborated on ‘Unseen Kingdoms’ – The Body Shop’s first Christmas TV campaign – as well as a two-part social content series sharing the stories of young women through spoken-word poetry.

The TV campaign is a bespoke edit of the social series and highlights The Body Shop’s Christmas charity partnership with End Youth Homelessness, a UK-wide movement of local charities tackling youth homelessness. The ad features spoken-word artist Rasheeda Page-Muir who tells the story of Jamie, a passionate dancer in her mid-twenties who became homeless in her late teens. Now securely housed, Jamie is ready to share her story.

The 60s-second TV ad will debut simultaneously across Channel 4 and E4 tonight (20 November), while the content series developed by 4Studio launches across the broadcaster’s YouTube, Facebook and Instagram accounts from 27 November.

“It has been a tough and turbulent year for many, especially for those without the safety and comfort of a home,” says The Body Shop UK and ROI managing director, Linda Campbell.

“The Body Shop is proud to be working with End Youth Homelessness this Christmas and help raise vital funds to support vulnerable young women find a safe and secure place to call home. Many women who experience or are at risk of being homeless can often find themselves hidden and their voices unheard, so it’s been wonderful working with Channel 4 whose vision and platform has helped bring these tough stories to the fore in a powerful, thought-provoking and uplifting way.”

20 November: Royal Mail urges shoppers to beat the Christmas rush

Royal Mail Xmas Royal Mail is hoping to get in ahead of the festive gifting rush with a campaign designed to remind customers about its click and drop service.

The 30-second ‘Postage That Fits Around You’ TV ad shows a woman walking to post a parcel in one of Royal Mail’s 1,400 parcel postboxes, while a voiceover explains how consumers can use the service online or via the app to print labels at home and pay digitally.

As well as driving awareness of its click and drop and parcel collect services, Royal Mail is urging consumers to start their online Christmas shopping early and send gifts to friends and family as soon as possible. The expectation is that Christmas 2020 will outstrip the festive delivery peaks of previous years, as families spend the Christmas season apart and customers are forced to buy online due to Covid-19 restrictions.

“Responding to consumer and SME demand in parcel delivery is an absolute priority for us, and this has become even more significant given that so many of us are spending more time at home now,” says Royal Mail marketing and digital director, Natalie Thomas.

“We’re delighted to be raising awareness of both the Click & Drop and Parcel Collect services in this way, and we hope it will encourage many more consumers and SMEs to take advantage of these fast, easy-to-use services.”

18 November: Sports Direct makes its Christmas ad debut

Sports Direct has chosen 2020 to make its Christmas advertising debut with a campaign aiming to take the discount chain upmarket.

The retailer’s head of elevation, Michael Murray, describes the ad as the final piece of the company’s “elevation strategy”, saying it is the start of things to come for the “new look Sports Direct.”

The ad follows a young woman deciding what she wants for Christmas by taking a whistlestop tour of all the sports and activities Sports Direct caters for, from basketball and fishing to football and boxing.

Directed by Henry Schofield, the man behind Stormzy’s Vossi Bop music video, and styled by celebrity stylist Toni Blaze, the ad also features a cameo from Liverpool FC captain Jordan Henderson.

Launching on social media and Sky, with more TV spots to follow, Sports Direct is no doubt hoping to steal the limelight from rivals like JD Sports, positioning itself as a Christmas shopping destination.

18 November: SodaStream, Snoop Dogg and ‘The Small Things’

Snoop Dogg clearly loves a bit of ad action, with the US rap star appearing in this festive SodaStream slot, encouraging people to forget the bling for a moment and focus instead on the “the small, meaningful things” this holiday season.

SodaStream’s largest global campaign to date, ‘The Small Things’ sees Snoop sitting down to a pared-down Christmas banquet with his nearest and dearest and proudly showing off his just-baked gingerbread men, before pouring himself a drink and clinking glasses with a turtle, toasting the brand’s green credentials (namely that it can help us all switch from single-use plastic bottles to reusable ones).

“I love my SodaStream, so it was natural for me to partner up with them for this campaign,” Snoop enthuses. “They make a great product and a big difference in the world. I am happy to help spread the love!

17 November: Papa John’s puts focus on ending homelessness and hunger

Pizza company Papa John’s has pledged to donate the money it would have spent on the creative and production costs for a traditional Christmas ad to charity in a bid to end homelessness and hunger.

The deliberately pared-back ‘Giving more this Christmas’ campaign features simple illustrations hand-drawn on pizza boxes by members of the Papa John’s team. Airing on TV from 27 November, the advert is set to Christmas song ‘Deck the Halls’ and features a simplistic creative concept.

The money saved will go to homelessness charity Crisis and the Trussell Trust, which campaigns to end food poverty and provides food banks across the UK. Furthermore, for every Christmas meal deal sold, Papa John’s will donate 50p to its charity partners.

“After what has been an incredibly tough year so far, we wanted to take the opportunity, with our Christmas campaign, to raise awareness and funds for our charity partners,” explains Papa John’s marketing director, Giles Codd.

“After all, there are sometimes more important things than pizza and this is certainly one of those times. We’re incredibly proud to be working with Crisis and Trussell Trust, two causes that aim to eradicate homelessness and hunger, providing vital services to people in the UK.”

16 November: Buzz Bingo encourages people to share their ‘win face’

Buzz Bingo is urging people to share their #WinFace as it launches its Christmas Giveaway campaign.

The bingo operator will be giving away £1m of prizes over the festive period, with its hero ad showing two players practicing their celebration should they win.

The campaign will run across TV, radio and digital for eight weeks, with marketing director Harry Lang describing it as “wonderfully fun and light-hearted”. He adds: “The ad really brings to life the anticipation of winning and excitement of playing.”

13 November: Carex, Tampax and L’Oreal join forces for essential gift guide

L’Oreal, Tampax and others are joining charity In Kind to ensure that people in need get vital essentials this Christmas.

In Kind Direct found that 7 in 10 people’s wellbeing and mental health had
declined during the pandemic, and that new, quality products help people to feel valued and cared for.

Rosanne Gray, CEO of In Kind Direct says: “This pandemic has not been a ‘great leveller’. We might all be in the same storm, but we are not in the same boat. The coming months will bring new challenges and increased demand for essential products as more households manage tighter budgets. Our goal is to make giving and accessing life’s essential products easy, to bring safety, imagination and joy to families this Christmas.”

Ahead of Christmas, In Kind Direct has been proactively working with its corporate partners to ensure that no one goes without. Through planned product donations from brands including Carex, Cif, Always and Tampax, Andrex and L’Oréal in Kind Direct  is ensuring a consistent supply of essentials to keep families, households and individuals safe and able to live their lives with dignity.

Gray concludes “No one is immune to needing a helping hand. There is more for us to do, so we are calling on new and existing corporate partners to join us in making sure no one goes without essential
products this Christmas.”

11 November: Boots address hygiene poverty in festive ad

Boots launched its Christmas ad campaign this morning and, in keeping with a trend set by John Lewis and Marks & Spencer, there’s a feel-good focus on little daily acts of care and kindness and doing your bit for charity.

‘What the World Needs Now’ features a contemporary cover version of the song of the same name and showcases the retailer’s gifting range of toiletry products and invites viewers to donate to the Hygiene Bank (Boots itself is donating £1m worth of products to the charity).

“We know it’s going to be a different Christmas for people on many levels so we wanted to invest in a Christmas campaign that harnessed the true spirit of this year and people’s desire for kindness and care,” explains Boots marketing director Helen Normoyle. “As a business, we want to offer our support to an important cause that’s been accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic.”

In addition to its partnership with The Hygiene Bank, Boots has partnered with Hestia to provide access to safe spaces for victims of domestic abuse, as well as Macmillan Cancer Support, BBC Children in Need and The Prince’s Trust.

10 November: Currys PC World tries out tech at home this Christmas

Currys PC World is launching two festive ads for its Christmas campaign that show its staff testing tech at home with their families over the festive season.

The first ad sees Currys PC World colleague Jake test out Google Nest products, while in the second his equips his home cinema with a new LG TV. These ads will rung alongside product-focused spots that highlight deals the retailer will be running in a campaign created by AMV BBDO.

In the run up to Christmas, Currys PC World will also run a collection of dedicated spot ads highlighting amazing exclusive deals across its full range of products.

Dixons Carphone, which owns Currys PC World, head of brand and advertising Corin Mills says: “There’s no denying that we’re in for a unique Christmas this year and everyone is needing to adapt, including us. However, we are committed to making sure it’s still a special one.

“We’re proud to be able to show that we provide colleague tech expert advice; through running ads showing our colleagues testing the tech at home and encouraging our customers to talk to them directly through our ShopLive service. Our tech experts are already standing by and are ready to help people with their purchases.”

9 November: Morrisons teams up with Dua Lipa for feel-good Christmas campaign

Morrisons has opted for a feel-good festive ad, set to Dua Lipa’s track Levitating, as it looks to “make Christmas special” for customers and colleagues.

In the ad, a delivery driver turns on the radio and starts smiling to the song, before it cuts to families dancing, eating and celebrating Christmas.

As part of the tie-up with Dua Lipa, Morrisons customers will be able to access her online streaming event Studio 2054 using a discount code, which will be promoted via the supermarket’s social channels.

The ad will be shown ahead of the show too, which will see the artist perform songs from her albums Future Nostalgia and Club Future Nostalgia accompanied by musicians, dancers, skaters, acrobats and surprise guests.

Morrisons marketing director Alex Rogerson says: “This is a feel-good campaign with Dua Lipa’s upbeat music providing the backing track to our customers’ Christmas. It’s been a difficult year for customers and colleagues so we want to do our bit to make Christmas special for them.”

9 November: Deliveroo wishes everyone a merry Christmas

Deliveroo is highlighting the range of foods people can order for delivery through its service with its new Christmas campaign.

The ad features customers and delivery drivers recreating the tune We Wish you a Merry Christmas with sounds from door bells, cooking and people receiving their orders. Ending with the line ‘Christmas is on’ it shows restaurants including Pret, KFC and Pizza Express where people can order food for delivery.

This is Deliveroo’s second foray into Christmas advertising following last year’s, which celebrated Deliveroo as the second best delivery service after midwives. It raised £100,000 for the #ForTheMidwives campaign.

9 November: Pizza Hut gives a festive pizza offering

Pizza Hut has launched a campaign to promote its new Christmas pizza, which will be on sale for 55 days in the run-up to the big day.

Created by agency Iris, the ad features Pizza Hut spokesman Parker J Patterson singing a Dickensian-style Christmas carol where he plays the role of every singer in the chorus.

It aims to shift the perception that pizza is not a Christmas food by introducing a Christmas pizza topped with chicken, bacon, sage and onion stuffing, and a red wine and gravy base. Yum…

9 November: Dobbies launches new positioning with festive campaign

Garden centre retailer Dobbies focuses on the way a trip to its stores will make customers feel in its Christmas campaign, ‘The joy of Dobbies’.

The campaign is made up of a series of short videos, featuring a bauble-filled hot tub, a sledging poodle and raining mince pies, which also marks the launch of its new positioning ‘Not your average garden centre’.

The campaign is set to original music from jazz musician Ola Onabulé and is the first from London-based agency ODD.

It will run across TV, video-on-demand, press, radio, social and digital throughout the UK and Northern Ireland.

5 November: Boden unveils first Christmas TV campaign

Boden is set to launch its first festive TV campaign as it looks to showcase its winter collection ahead of the Christmas season.

The ad, which debuts tomorrow (6 November), shows real-life families having fun in the retailer’s colourful clothing, with the tagline ‘See out the year in style with Boden’.

It is launching in the UK on Channel 4, More4, Film4 and Channel 5, and on ROKU in the US.

The brand has also created an animation called ‘It’s an extraordinary life’, which takes inspiration from the Christmas classic ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’.

Created in partnership with London-based animation studio Animade, the film stars founder Johnnie Boden and his dog Spout who causes havoc stealing sausages, ribbons and a guest’s sock before it is revealed he’s turned it all into a Christmas tree (of sorts) for the family.

4 November: Sainsbury’s announces £5m investment to ‘brighten Christmas’

sainsbury'sSainsbury’s is launching a £5m community fund to combat food poverty, as well as a 10% bonus payment for shop floor staff, this Christmas.

As England prepares to enter a second lockdown for at least one month, Sainsbury’s said it would make a second “thank you” payment of 10% of four weeks’ pay to frontline staff and managers. Staff enjoyed a separate and initial bonus payment was made during the first nationwide lockdown earlier this year.

Sainsbury’s is also inviting customers to donate food and other essential products or cash in store and online and will match every donation. The retailer will also donate up to £4m to local charities.

Between 1-14th December, customers are invited to give if they can in store and online by rounding up their bill on manned checkouts or by adding £1, £2, £5 or £10 donations to their basket on self-service checkouts. Plus those shopping for groceries online can donate by adding a donation of £1, £2, £5 or £10 to their online delivery

CEO of Sainsbury’s, Simon Roberts, says: “We invite our customers and colleagues to give what they can and we will match all donations, doubling the value of every customer contribution. We are donating £5m to support thousands of good causes, providing millions of meals as we aim to brighten a million Christmases.”

3 November: Pepsi Max hits out at ‘traditional clichés’

Pepsi Max is hitting back at ‘traditional clichés’ in its Christmas campaign.

‘Christmas Refreshed’, created by Truant, encourages people to refresh their old Christmas traditions and redefine their way of celebrating. At the forefront is a new TV advert that reimagines the traditional sounds of Christmas with two emerging rap artists.

The brand worked with rappers Kamakaze and TrueMendous to put their own spin on the brand’s previous rap advert, creating a remix for the Christmas season.

The ad will be supported by out-of-home artwork and digital content that aims to inspire people to hit refresh this Christmas.

Pepsi beverages UK marketing director, Natalie Redford, says: “2020 has been a year of major changes, with what was once seen as normal being challenged on all fronts, and Christmas is no different. We know Christmas is just too special this year, so we say reimagine and redefine the festive period your way!

“We wanted to give Christmas a complete refresh and flip traditions on their head with our new campaign. Music has always been at the heart of Pepsi Max and this latest collaboration continues our legacy by creating a platform for two of the UK’s rising talents.”

2 November: Amazon pays tribute to human spirit in Christmas campaign

Amazon has launched its Christmas campaign, which this year follows a young ballet dancer whose plans for a performance don’t quite go as planned.

Created by Lucky Generals, the 60-second version of the ad will air this evening ahead of the debut of the full 120-second advert tomorrow during The Great British Bake Off.

This year, Amazon has ditched the singing boxes in favour of the story of a ballet dancer whose lead role has been jeopardised by Covid-19.

When her ballet school is forced to close, she continues to train anyway. But when the performance is cancelled, her sister and the community pull together to give her a stage and audience for her performance.

Amazon’s vice-president of global creative, Simon Morris, says: “Our TV ad is inspired by, and pays tribute to, the unbeatable human spirit and the power of community that we have witnessed so often this year.”

To coincide with the launch of the ad, Amazon has launched its Christmas shop and gift finder tool. Amazon is also offering the opportunity to support one of 30,000 charities when buying on its site.

2 November: Lego celebrates the power of children’s imagination

Lego is celebrating the power of children’s imagination with its Christmas ad.

The campaign showcases families coming together and experiencing the joyful, humorous adventures that children create and explore with Lego.

Set to What A Wonderful World the ad highlights the fun ways that children use Lego products. It journeys through a whimsical adventure created by families building and playing together with one man singing “I see trees of green” and his child adding “sausage trees”.

The ad is part of the company’s Rebuild the World brand campaign with every story, animal and vehicle in the ad  based on existing LEGO products including princess knights, calm dragons, astronauts and dinosaurs.

Lego CMO, Julia Goldin, says: “Our new campaign is a celebration of the creative power and optimism that children possess. We’ve seen so many families building together this year, giving parents a chance to experience and appreciate how children can build, unbuild and rebuild the world around them using LEGO bricks. We want to inspire people of all ages to play and unleash their creativity this Holiday season.”

The global campaign, created by the Lego Group’s internal agency, will run across a variety of channels including TV, digital, Spotify, out of home, e-commerce channels and in LEGO stores.

Consumer’s will also be able to listen to Spotify-curated playlists inspired by some of their favorite hobbies, interests and themes from the campaign including a galaxy-transporting Lego Star Wars playlist.

2 November: Very aims to ditch the clichés in new campaign

Very is hoping to ditch the festive clichés in a new campaign that encourages people to think about the whole Christmas period, not just one day.

Created by Grey London, the ad begins with a scene of an impossibly perfect Christmas day that is soon revealed to not be true. Instead, it is a normal family scoffing at the portrayal of Christmas in an ad, who then go on to list their favourite festive moments including getting the wrong size Christmas tree, terrible music and trashy lights.

It ends with the line: ‘Christmas is full of amazing moments. Christmas is this Very moment’. It follows on from Very’s new tagline, launched in October, ‘Life is this Very moment’.

The Very Group CMO Carly O’Brien says: “It is great to see our new brand platform, ‘Life is this Very moment’, brought to life for Christmas with a truly uplifting campaign that we believe our customers can relate to. It’s honest, raw and captures what’s really special about the whole of the Christmas period, not just the day itself.

“It is a celebration of every single moment in the countdown to 25 December  and it goes beyond the festive celebration, which we know might not be the same this year.”

2 November: TK Maxx launches Lil’ Goat Christmas ad

TK Maxx is taking a humorous route this festive season as it aims to lighten the mood around a Covid Christmas.

‘Lil’ Goat’, created by Wieden+Kennedy London, sees protagonist Lil’ Goat strutting across a snowy farm, decked head-to-toe in a designer outfit. When farmer Susan questions her husband Gary about whether he bought the goat a designer outfit, he tells her: “Yes, she’s had such a hard year. She bloomin’ well deserves it if you ask me.”

It ends with the message: ‘After the year we’ve had, everyone deserves to feel special this Christmas’.

TK Maxx’s group brand and marketing director, Deborah Dolce, says:
“We wanted to recognise the difficult year we’ve all had and at the same time offer a bit of joyful optimism. This charming ad is a playful reminder that the gift of giving is really special and can bring such sweet pleasure to all.”

The ad will air in six European countries and will launch on TV in the UK on 4 November.

2 November: WWF highlights connection between people and nature

The WWF is launching a campaign ahead of its crucial festive fundraising period that aims to highlight the connection between people and nature.

The campaign includes the message: ‘We would all be lost without a home, let’s protect theirs’. Created by Uncommon Creative Studio, it shows a young girl following the trail of an imaginary elephant through her hometown to highlight the issue of habitat destruction.

WWF CEO Tanya Steele says:Every day, there are fewer places left that wildlife can call home. But we have the power to change things for the better. With the help of our supporters, WWF is working hard to protect elephants and their habitats as part of our mission to curb global nature loss.”

“By adopting an elephant, you’re not only protecting this much-loved species, but also helping develop solutions for people to live safely alongside elephants and benefit from conservation efforts. The generous donations we receive enable us to deliver positive environmental change across the globe and create a home where both nature and people can thrive.”

Christmas is the WWF’s most important fundraising period, helping to generate income for its conservation work.

31 October: Waitrose and John Lewis promise ‘Christmas campaign like no other’

Waitrose and John Lewis are delivering “a Christmas campaign like no other” by donating £5m to struggling families.

A major appeal will be launched in November which, as well as financial giving, will also encourage staff and customers to spread kindness in their own communities – everything from volunteering to a thoughtful gesture.

John Lewis executive director, Pippa Wicks, says: “In a year like no other, the world has changed – so we will be delivering a Christmas campaign like no other. During 2020 we’ve seen some inspiring and heartwarming acts of kindness throughout our country and our communities.

“Now we want to build on this spirit to create a legacy that extends well beyond Christmas. Together we can all make a big difference to the families who need our help most.”

The retailers are partnering with two charities that provide food, comfort, emotional support and advice to vulnerable families. FareShare, which helps those facing food poverty, and Home-Start, which works with parents who need support.

Customers will be encouraged to support the campaign by making a donation, which will be matched by the retailer up to £2m, using their loyalty card to trigger a donation, giving a campaign product, showing kindness or helping in their local community.

A further fund of more than £1m has also been created to ensure all of the retailers’ shops will be actively partnering with FareShare and Home-Start and a range of local disadvantaged family charities in the communities they serve.

Waitrose executive director, James Bailey, adds: “This year has created even greater inequality in society with a catastrophic effect on some of the most vulnerable, and we are determined to play our part in addressing this. Everyone has a right to nourishment and a safe, warm home and we believe that as a Partnership, we can be an enduring force for good, which lasts well beyond Christmas.

“We don’t just want to talk about it, we want every customer, community and partner to show their kindness in supporting these causes.”

31 October:  Argos celebrates the tradition of its catalog

For many circling the Argos catalog at Christmas is a childhood tradition. Despite the retailer no longer offering its physical catalogue, it wants to celebrate this time-old activity in its Christmas ad.

The ad shows two sisters spot a simple box of magic tricks; a magical box that is set to take their Christmas to enchanting new heights. As the girls circle their perfect present, they’re magically transported to Christmas evening where they are keen to show off their new present and their marvellous new talents to their family.

Their show starts with a cup and balls trick, but the performance quickly becomes more and more extraordinary as the sisters grow in confidence and their imagination takes over. Not content with making presents magically appear or an illusion trick on the family’s sausage dog, they transform their living room into a West End theatre and even manage to conjure up their extended family to join in on the fun.

Argos’s senior campaign manager, Rob Quartermain, says: “We know this has been a challenging year and many people are searching for certainty through cherished traditions this Christmas. Whilst we discontinued our catalogue earlier in the year, we couldn’t let the Argos Christmas gift guide go as so many of our customers have fond memories of circling their presents in it. We know this is a tradition which children still enjoy today, and it marks the start of Christmas for so many.”

29 October: Hobbycraft launches first on-demand campaign

Hobbycraft is launching its first Christmas ad to only air through video-on-demand across Sky, ITV and Channel 4. The ‘Craft Together this Christmas’ campaign reveals how people have been learning new skills and helping one another this year.

The ad features Hobbycraft staff showing off their skills, as well as customers crafting at home with family or via video calls. It comes after research from the brand found that 95% of people did some form of craft during lockdown, with 56% saying it was good for their wellbeing, 42% that it took their mind off things and 28% that it helped them better use their free time.

Hobbycraft’s head of marketing and brand Joel Pickering says: “We’ve seen an exceptional level of customer demand this year, and with more people turning to craft than ever before it’s the perfect time for us to launch our first VoD brand advert.

“We want to show that Hobbycraft is here to help bring families together with arts and crafts, and we hope our Christmas campaign will resonate with new and existing customers. The nation has turned to craft this year and we can see this continuing into the festive season and beyond.”

26 October: John Lewis predicts the end of the last-minute Christmas shopper

John Lewis is predicting there will be far fewer last-minute Christmas shoppers this year as households become more savvy and prepared, while also determined to indulge.

A survey by the retailer found that almost a third of consumers are planning Christmas earlier than usual, with 74% of them buying gifts earlier and 39% already stocking up on food. Some 60% say they will have their Christmas shopping done by the end of November, while just 8% said they would wait until the week before Christmas and 2% until Christmas Eve.

A desire to spread the cost was cited by 47% of those planning Christmas early. Meanwhile, half they would spend less but more thoughtfully and a third that they would make their own presents.

John Lewis Christmas buyer Dan Cooper says: “It will undoubtedly be a Christmas like never before and one we know will be very challenging for many, but there seems to be a determination to end the year on a positive note and indulge in the festive spirit earlier than ever. People are giving more thought to how they stay in touch with friends and family and how they can make someone’s Christmas that bit more special.

“Shoppers are understandably wanting to capture as much of the traditional experience and celebrations as possible. And for many that includes a trip to the shops so we have put as much effort into ensuring our customers know they can shop easily and safely for everything they need under one roof this Christmas as we have the inspiring gifts they can choose from.”