EasyJet flies with Santa Claus to surprise customers – 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.

19 December – EasyJet enlists Santa Claus to hand out presents on board

If you’re flying with EasyJet between 19 and 24 December, you might just spot Santa Claus. EasyJet has hired “the world’s most famous pilot” to meet 20,000 passengers in advance of Christmas Day and hand out presents as pat of an in-flight grotto.

The pan-European campaign was created by creative agency VCCP and PR agency Taylor Herring. The airline is launching more than 100 flights across Europe over the festive period, which will see children get a surprise from Father Christmas.

The Captain Claus campaign will run in the week leading up to Christmas and will be promoted with a short film across YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.

Travellers will be able to follow Santa’s journey and even get the chance to share their own experience with EasyJet’s famous Captain by using the hashtag #CaptainClaus. Passengers at Gatwick and Amsterdam airports will also be treated to a festive “I’m flying with Captain Claus” Snapchat geolocation filter to help them get into the Christmas spirit.

To celebrate the launch of the new festive themed flights EasyJet surprised and delighted children and families on board a flight to Europe. It rigged a plane with hidden cameras to capture the reactions of passengers as Captain Claus’ voice came over the tannoy and delivered presents to those on-board. LR

18 December – Tesco launches ‘innovative’ OOH campaign to update customers over Christmas

The UK’s biggest supermarket Tesco has teamed up with DOOH.com’s RUSH delivery platform for an innovative digital OOH Christmas campaign.

The partnership will work by delivering hyper-local store information direct to shoppers in the lead up to Christmas, with OOH screens in close proximity to a Tesco store showing key information such as opening hours and food offers.

“The ongoing digitisation of the OOH landscape is a welcome development for us,” explains Tesco’s head of media and campaign planning Nick Ashley, who says there will be thousands of OOH message variations.

“It enables us to serve our shoppers in a way that is even more relevant and helpful to them – especially in the final few days before Christmas.” TH

18 December – Pizza Express reunites old friends in hidden camera stunt

This Christmas, Pizza Express decided to pull on people’s heartstrings by tracking down friends who hadn’t seen each other since childhood.

For the ad, which was promoted on Facebook and Twitter, the pizza chain brought them together for an emotional surprise that unfolded on hidden cameras.

Eight unsuspecting people visited Pizza Express believing they were competition winners of a pizza-making experience. There, they were met by actors posing as waiters and cameras were hidden within Christmas decorations, ensuring each reunion between four different couples was captured on film.

The video has performed well so far – the brand claims to have seen a 22% increase in followers (versus the previous 28 days).

“Everybody nowadays is connected to thousands of people on social media, but it is a different story in real life. Our research gave us a real insight that we felt would resonate particularly well at Christmas time,” Timothy Love, senior marketing manager at Pizza Express says.

“We know our followers understand the joy of catching up over pizza, and it’s been truly heartening to see so many people watch the video and reach out to friends or family and arranging to meet up over the festive period.”

18 December – Lululemon looks to calm you down during the Christmas period

Whether it’s prepping a Christmas meal for 20 people or wrapping presents late into the night, the festive period can be a stressful time of year.

Athletic apparel company Lululemon decided to help out by extending its ‘Breathe It All In’ campaign into December. So what does it want you to do when things get a bit stressful? Take a deep breath.

They’ve released a series of guided meditations of around three to five minutes long each, specifically designed to provide consumers with a little respite. Created by a number of Lululemon’s global experts, they focus on short breathing exercises, to help transform feelings of stress and anxiety to calm.

14 December – Channel 4 borrows Co-op choir to sing iconic TV theme tunes


Broadcaster Channel 4 has partnered with the Co-op for its Christmas campaign, borrowing community musical groups who appear in the grocer’s Christmas TV ad.

Launching today (14 December), each 20-second ad features the groups from the TV commercial carol-singing the theme tunes of popular Channel 4 programmes such as The Crystal Maze, Gogglebox or Countdown. The ads will be placed in the breaks immediately preceding the shows.

Co-op’s current Christmas advert, which features seven community groups singing the Blur song ‘Tender’, also airs within the same breaks, showing food and music bringing people together this Christmas.

The campaign represents the first time the music for Channel 4’s programmes has been used and licensed in this way.

Chris Braithwaite, agency principal at Channel 4 says: “Partnering with Co-op for the first time for a genuinely new innovation, using our iconic theme tunes, perfectly complements their stand out Christmas TV campaign and our viewers will just love it.” LR

12 December – TK Maxx reacts to heavy snowfall after promising a ‘white Christmas’

Confident that the UK would see no snowfall this year, TK Maxx promised to deliver the white stuff to your door this year (provided you find a special snow globe in one of its stores).

You might have noticed, however, that the nation has since experienced heavy snowfall – thereby ruining the retailer’s plans. Looking to make light of the situation, TK Maxx has quickly put together a reactive campaign, still urging customers to enter its stores to find other bargains.

11 December – Lidl teams up with Brian Blessed for Facebook Camera game

Lidl says it has become the first UK supermarket brand to launch a game that can be played through the Facebook Camera app.

The ‘Emojional Rollercaster’ game is based around facial expressions, with users winning points if they nail a particular face. And English actor Brian Blessed has provided his booming voice to the game’s ‘how to’ guide as well as appearing in four festive filters available on the Facebook Camera app.

Using augmented reality technology, players can transform themselves into Brussels sprouts and Christmas puddings, with the game working for both single player and multiplayer experiences.

“Being brave in all our communications is always a priority for us at Lidl. The fact that we are the first supermarket in the UK to use the Facebook Camera app for the purposes of a game shows the steps we’re taking in innovation,” says Georgina Hall, head of communications and CSR at Lidl UK.

“The Emojional Rollercoaster game alongside the festive filters are new and exciting ways to provide some light-hearted, engaging entertainment for our customers over the Christmas period.” TH

8 December – Absolut partners with Uber to stop drink driving

The festive period is known for excess – whether that’s eating chocolate for breakfast or staying up all night watching Christmas films. Alcohol tends to flow too, and so Absolut Vodka has partnered with Uber to ensure young people don’t get behind the wheel after a night out.

The campaign looks to “celebrate one of the best moments of a night out” – the journey home. The video captures groups of friends and family being picked up and surprised by what they find in an Absolut-branded ‘Uber Karaoke’.

The film will target 18 to 44-year-olds, focusing on under-30s on Facebook and Instagram by cutting through content during crucial decision moments such as planning a night out or leaving the house. Absolut teamed up with BBH to create the campaign. LR

8 December – Huawei gives Santa a reboot in first European Christmas campaign


Chinese smartphone brand Huawei is launching its first European Christmas campaign, created in partnership with charity Save the Children.

Launching today across the UK, Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal and Belgium, the Santa Rebooted campaign shows a streamlined Father Christmas reaching his full festive potential with the help of smart technology. This modern Santa orders presents via mobile, has digitally printed gifts delivered by drone, chills out with a spot of yoga and drinks kale juice.

Huawei is encouraging viewers to share the film to raise awareness of Save the Children, with the company having donated £500,000 as part of the campaign to help the charity fund healthcare, education, protection and food for children worldwide. CR

6 December – Australian Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital launches Christmas ad to ‘match’ UK brands

Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital, which is based in Australia, is on a mission to match British brands when it comes to producing a heartwarming Christmas ad.

To achieve this, it set up a programme entitled Joy 2017 in partnership with Griffith Film School’s in-house studio LiveLab. The initiative gives Griffith Film School students the chance to make their mark by creating a short film that celebrates the spirit of Christmas. At the same time, it looks to bring some cheer to families who are spending the festive season at the hospital.

Earlier in the year, a panel of experts sorted through submissions from Griffith Film School students and selected the one they felt best personified what the Joy 2017 is all about. The panel selected ‘A Gift for the Lonely Heart’, which is about a little girl who sees how lonely an old man is at Christmas, and saves the day by sharing her Christmas gift.

“John Lewis spent over £7m – we made this for about $1,500,” Griffith Film School told Marketing Week.

5 December – Nutella returns to TV with £1m Christmas special

After “tremendous success” in Germany, Nutella is launching a dedicated £1m Christmas campaign in the UK featuring a new TV creative.

With the tagline ‘spread happiness’ the 10 second Christmas creative features after the 20 second all-year-round Nutella ad. After a sprinkling of magic, the frame switches to the scene of a kitchen featuring a festive jar of Nutella on a kitchen counter.

A boy with reindeer ears on pops up and reaches out for a piece of toast, cut into the shape of a Christmas tree, whilst his dad looks on smiling. The ad concludes with the narrator saying: “there has never been a better time to spread happiness with Nutella”.

A spokesperson at Ferrero UK comments: “Our focused Christmas campaign follows tremendous success in other markets, such as Germany, which experienced a 22% uplift in sales. Falling on a Sunday, 2016 was one of the biggest Christmases ever, there was a double peak in sales across the industry across Friday and Saturday and we foresee a similar trend this year with the big day on a Monday.” LR

5 December – First Direct counts down to Christmas with Facebook Live events

First Direct is doing a number of live broadcasts that look to engage customers by offering them the chance to win prizes in the run-up to Christmas.

The Christmas Untangled campaign sees our hero ‘Vince Pie’ sorting out the decorations down in the First Direct basement. He’s starting with the challenging task of untangling the Christmas lights, but needs help to identify the broken bulbs. Viewers will be presented the opportunity to win a number of prizes by correctly guessing the broken bulb numbers in the comments section.

The broadcast times for today (5 December) are:
· 1-2pm
· 4-5pm
· 7-8pm

Joe Gordon, head of First Direct says: “It’s a great time of year to interact with our loyal customers and hopefully bring them some Christmas cheer – if they win a prize or not!”

4 December – Energizer takes on drones in a bid to show it has staying power this Christmas

Mr Energizer


Battery brand Energizer is hoping to convince consumers it has the staying power this Christmas with a new festive campaign pitting Mr Energizer against a swarm of drones.

The TV advert, developed by TBWA\Chiat\Day, shows Mr Energizer outpacing the drones which all soon lose power, underlining the long lasting strength of Energizer batteries. Airing on ITV, Channel 4, Sky 1 and Channel 5 from 4 December, the TV campaign will run alongside video on demand and social activity.

Energizer marketing manager for North West Europe, Richard Podevin, hopes the campaign will position Energizer as a “must-have item on Christmas day” due to the increasing number of children’s toys requiring a high performance battery life. CR

2 December – BBC aims to get people crying with ‘tearjerker’ ad

It’s not just the usual suspects like John Lewis and Sainsbury’s that want to grab your attention this Christmas. BBC One decided to also get in on the action by launching a short animated film.

Entitled The Supporting Act, the video will run throughout the Christmas period on the channel and looks to illustrate “the joy of a shared moment”.

The two-minute film follows a 10 year-old girl who practices day in and day out to give the most important dance performance of her life.

Her dad is always with her but he’s busy, and getting even busier as Christmas approaches. When the girl eventually steps on stage for her performance, she freezes as she thinks he isn’t there to support her.

Just as the girl tears up, her dad steps up from behind his phone to remind her of the the dance moves she’s been practicing.

The clip seems to have gone down well with viewers, with many claiming it left them in tears. LR

1 December – Poundland unveils Christmas ad for ‘10th of the cost’ of John Lewis

A good Christmas campaign doesn’t need animated bears, flying reindeer or CGI monsters, claims Poundland. Instead, the bargain retailer is focusing its festive campaign around the British public and the £1 Christmas products from its shops.

Poundland will tonight (1 December) unveil its 2017 Christmas TV ad that cost just £65,000 to make and a total of £415,000 once the airtime is bought, compared to the £7m spent by John Lewis.

The advert sees two Poundland fans ask shoppers to guess how much the discount retailer’s festive favourites are worth, only to be surprised by the £1 price tag.

Marketing controller Mark Pym said: “We like to keep things really simple. We don’t need to spend millions to give savvy shoppers a break from reality, create extra merchandise or use mumbo jumbo language to explain our ads.”

This year’s TV campaign returns with two 20-second and one 30-second slots on ITV. Brits can view the trailer, extended cuts and behind-the-scenes content on the Poundland Facebook page. LR

Age UK unveils emotional Christmas ad in support of the elderly

Age UK, in partnership with Manning Gottlieb OMD and Drum, has today unveiled its latest ‘No one should have no one’ campaign in time for Christmas.

The ad will go live on Saturday (2 December) and continue through to 26 December, supported across digital OOH, Age UK’s website and social media channels.

The campaign comes in light of research showing that over 1.2 million older people in England are chronically lonely and nearly half of the older people surveyed for the charity – equating to almost 5.7 million people aged 65 and over – feel their days can be repetitive. And almost a quarter of whom (around 1.4 million older people) admitted that Christmas isn’t a special day for them and just passes them by.

The film follows an older man’s unchanging daily routine without human contact across the seasons. The viewer experiences the monotonous reality of loneliness in later life, for which Christmas is just another day.

Throughout the campaign, the charity is urging people to donate to help tackle the isolation that is making nearly a million (928,000) older people feel lonelier at Christmas time, two-fifths of whom have been widowed. LR

27 November – Pepsi takes subtle pop at Coca-Cola with ‘new tradition’ Christmas ad

For many Brits, the festive season doesn’t officially start until the Coca-Cola ad airs on telly. Its biggest rival Pepsi is eager to encourage people to think differently, however.

This Christmas, Pepsi Max is urging consumers “to try a new tradition”. The integrated campaign looks to celebrate those who do things a little differently and shake up traditional Christmas experiences.

The campaign, created by AMV BBDO, is shot in Iceland with professional surfer Heidar Logi. He leads fellow surfers for a night ride, lighting up the waves with LED-fitted boards. They finish off their new holiday tradition with a campfire and Pepsi Max, of course. The ad will run across TV, digital, cinema, OOH and in partnership with Channel 4.

“As a brand that values the bold and unexpected, we are extending this notion into our Christmas campaign by reminding them to break tradition and keep things fresh, by trying something new at a time of year when routine and ritual is often habit,” said Mark Kirkham, head of marketing and innovation, PepsiCo West Europe beverages. LR

27 November – Samsung launches its Christmas campaign promoting togetherness


This year, Samsung has decided to take a global approach for Christmas, by tying different holidays into one campaign.

The ad, created by adam&eveDDB, features a friendly and extremely diligent concierge in an apartment block preparing for the various holidays celebrated by its diverse range of residents.

Sound-tracked by Ella Fitzgerald’s “Give a Little, Get a Little”, the film looks to connect Samsung with the holiday spirit of togetherness.

The media, which is handled by Starcom, has been planned around the four holidays celebrated by the residents in the ad – Diwali, Hanukkah, Christmas and Chinese New Year – and will have bespoke content going live around each event.

Noah Bernard, European creative director at Samsung, says: “The spirit of generosity is something that unites us all, especially during the holiday season. Our integrated campaign celebrates this universal truth and shows no matter where you are from in the world, the act of giving at this time of year is something we can all relate to.” LR

24 November – Thorntons looks to support service men and women with its festive campaign

Chocolate brand Thorntons is eager to demonstrate its charitable side this Christmas by teaming up with SSAFA, the national charity that works with Britain’s service men and women, veterans and their families.

The ‘Pass the Love on’ campaign was developed in conjunction with the charity, and tells the story of a young man arriving home to his loved ones in time for Christmas. On the way, he spots a Thorntons store from his taxi and stops to buy a gift. The advert then reveals that this is not just any reunion, but that of a naval services member – who is home on leave – and is about to meet his fiancé’s family for the first time.

It will go live later today (24 November) ahead of Gogglebox on Channel 4. To further ‘Pass the Love on’, 2% of all sales from the Thorntons Continental boxed product range will be paid in support of SSAFA. LR

24 November – Barnardo’s resurrects ‘Believe In Me’ campaign for Christmas 2017

Barnardo’s has launched the second phase of its ‘Believe in Me’ Christmas campaign, to show what’s important to children over the festive season.

The charity’s research shows that the being loved (88%), listened to (82%) and supported (75%) are the biggest contributors to a happy childhood.

The ‘Believe in Me’ ad will be shown on TV from today (24 November) and will be shared via social channels using the hashtag #BelieveInMe.

Barnardo’s chief executive Javed Khan said: “‘Believe in Me’ focusses on the transformative effect that believing in children has on their lives and we hope people who see the ad will be inspired to donate to Barnardo’s so we can carry out our vital work. We know that when people believe in children, they start to believe in themselves and incredible things can happen.” LT

20 November – KFC turns to step dance for its Christmas campaign


For this year’s Christmas campaign, KFC is celebrating its iconic bucket through a step dance performance.

The campaign, which was created by Mother and has been built around the idea that ‘those who roll together, feast together’, shows six artists perform Sam Cooke’s classic Good Times with a modern twist.

The KFC bucket plays a central role as the only instrument available to play, with the entire performance captured in one take. The artists were chosen from step dance groups across the UK.

Besides launching on TV, the campaign will also run across radio, outdoor, social media, in-restaurant and editorial in the coming weeks. Additionally, KFC has commissioned five artist collectives to design limited-edition buckets that bring the “roll together, feast together” theme to life. The buckets will be available in KFC restaurants across the country, and are a celebration of the different types of modern families that Christmas brings together. LR

20 November – The bears return for Heathrow’s festive ad

Heathrow has brought back Doris and Edward Bair for its second ever Christmas campaign. Set to Petula Clark’s ‘Couldn’t Live Without Your Love’, the ad follows the 50-year love story of two bears who meet on a flight in the 1960s. With each meeting at the airport their story continues, which sees the addition of children and then grandchildren, alongside the strapline ‘Fly to someone, not just somewhere, this Christmas.

The ad was filmed at Heathrow Terminal 1, which closed to passengers in 2016 after more than 50 years. Historical elements such as an original BOAC aircraft and air hostess uniforms were provided by British Airways to help set the scene.

Ross Baker, Heathrow’s commercial director, says: “After an overwhelming response across the globe to Doris and Edward last year, we had to bring these lovable bears back to our screens. We hear from our passengers that there is no greater feeling than being wrapped in the arms of a loved one at Christmas.  We wanted the advert to capture this unique feeling and make people feel even more excited to welcome friends and family this festive season.”

20 November – Kellogg’s visits Mr and Mrs Claus for Christmas


Kellogg’s has thrown its hat into this year’s battle of the Christmas ads, all with a simple 20-second ad asking Mr and Mrs Claus how they eat their Kellogg’s corn flakes.

As part of the #MyPerfectBowl campaign, which asked the UK and Ireland to describe their perfect bowl of Corn Flakes, Kellogg’s has visited Santa and his elves to ask the all-important question.

Turns out Father Christmas likes his with cold milk, a sprinkle of orange zest, and a dash of cinnamon. LR

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 – Very.co.uk takes inspiration from Frozen for second ‘Get more out of giving’ Christmas ad

Very.co.uk 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, Very.co.uk 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, Very.co.uk 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 wrapuplondon.org.uk. 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, whereiwantforchristmas.com, 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.