The John Lewis advert is out… and that means the Christmas countdown is on

As Christmas fast approaches and with the launch of the new John Lewis Christmas ad, Felicia Tick, Head of Programmes for the MSc International Marketing discusses the positives, negatives and importance of advertising in the festive season.

You know the festive season is near when the shops are decorated in sparkly gold, red and green, you smell the eggnog and mince pies and …. when you see the John Lewis Christmas ad on TV. It is part of the traditions around Christmas and a highly anticipated event which generates plenty of comments from consumers and experts alike.

The Christmas period is a very important time of year for retailers. A friend of mine has a specialist cooking shop and she told me that the majority of her annual revenues are generated in this period. Therefore, stores open extra hours and bring the decorations out to get people in the festive, generous mood. Advertising helps to draw more people into the stores.

Consumers can be forgetful and need reminding that retailers are out there to serve their needs. Especially now, with fierce competition from online retailers such as Amazon, the traditional retailers use marketing communication to maintain brand awareness.

In addition, they hope that the positive and warm feelings towards Christmas will be transferred to their brands. By associating their brand name with the spirit of Christmas, they aim for consumers to like the retailers’ brands more.

Although these are compelling reasons for the John Lewis Christmas ad, there are some downsides too. All brands want to promote their products for Christmas, so cost of advertising is much higher in the run up to the 25th of December. Therefore, John Lewis will have to spend a lot more money on their Christmas campaign compared to running a campaign in the quieter months of January or February.

And then there are the competitors’ Christmas ads, all vying for consumers’ attention. Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s and others want their share of the consumers’ wallet and it is difficult for any retailer to stand out at this time of year.

Christmas is full of traditions. With the world around us ever-changing, it is good to have some anchors. You know the festive season is upon you, when you see John Lewis’ Christmas ad on TV.

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