The much anticipated 2015 Christmas advert from John Lewis is out. What makes the campaign so talked about? What can we learn from the various elements? Herewith some unsolicited thoughts:
Great story telling: the ad is not just an ad showcasing the brand, but it is great storytelling. The tale of a little girl spotting a lonely old man on the moon is like a modern-day fairy-tale. Suspension of disbelief is at play here as we buy into the touching story of sending a gift via a balloon-powered contraption. It is touching as it taps into a universal desire to see good deeds.
Business integration: Last year’s #MontyThePenguin effort resulted in a 13% uplift in sales for John Lewis, clocking over £100M a week in sales. This year too, the ad and virtually every element of it, ties back to the brand – not just in terms of providing an ‘experience’ but delivering a sale. There are activity packs, telescopes, pyjamas and mugs on sale. Aside from that, there are several activities which drive footfalls into the brick & mortar stores.
Do-good factor: John Lewis has partnered with Age UK for this campaign. Consumers can either make donations or buy merchandise a part of whose proceeds will go to charity. I particularly liked the call for action linking to the plight of old people this season: “to help some of the older people who will go for a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member.”
Multi-device campaign experience: A Man On The Moon App uses augmented reality to bring the moon ‘to life’. By pointing a phone at the Man on the Moon image found on posters, John Lewis shopping bags and other point of sale, or by holding the device up towards the moon itself, users can unlock a 3D interactive moon that releases daily facts and animations in the countdown to Christmas Day’s full moon. The app also features a Man-on-the-Moon themed game.
Aside from a digital experience there is an Activity Pack for sale which includes a paper aeroplane kit, Christmas card and sticker set, “To the Moon” letter and envelope, “Race to the Moon” game and a “Man on the Moon” fold out.
Children’s activity: Tapping a child’s imagination with moon-themed activity cards which help create festive decorations, explore moon facts and fiction and design party invitations. Children are also encouraged to share their stories or memories of an older person who is special to them, through drawings, stories or poems.
Buzz-creation: the ‘John Lewis Christmas advert’ has become a cultural phenomenon every year. Some accuse the brand of following a template with cuteness overload. Fact is, the central idea of expressing love & affection through gifts is a powerful emotional hook. The John Lewis stories make people emotional and they voluntarily express those emotions on social media. Such reactions fuel buzz and create likability for a UK store brand across the globe.
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