There are few things that say Christmas past like the humble catalogue. Like many families, when we were deciding on our list for Santa Claus, we would reach for the Argos catalogue. It was an annual ritual that signalled the countdown to the arrival of a stocking full of presents.
Pages of toys lay before us as we chose one thing only to replace it by another. We never got bored and would crease the pages to mark the gifts that we finally decided upon.
I hadn’t thought about our Christmas routine for years. Then, out of the blue, I read an article which announced that Argos would be putting the catalogue centre stage. It was to become the focus of their festive advert.
Capturing the magic of Christmas
Thoughts filled my head about how the brand would capture the magic and have us all regressing back to our childhoods. Memories flooded back and I got a warm and fuzzy feeling that made me smile and remember how excited we used to get.
When the advert was posted online, I eagerly clicked and waited for the story to appear before me.
Unfortunately, my excitement was short lived. The advert shows a man looking through the catalogue and finding that his daughter had circled a drum kit. The toy kit comes to life and he is seen playing it before his child joins in.
Missing the mark
The advert isn’t bad per se, but I just feel it has missed the mark. Rather than capturing the feeling that many of us had when we were looking through the catalogue as children, it focuses on the drum kit, and a bear. I’ve since found out the bear is a favourite this year.
The concept for this advert is a stroke of genius and really simple – but the execution just doesn’t do it justice.
Hearing that Amazon has brought out a catalogue makes it clear that Argos has competition. It puts further spotlight on the importance of printed materials. People like to flick through and see pictures. They like to open a humble catalogue and make notes or fold over the corner of pages to mark content of interest.
Owning an experience
Argos has owned this experience for years and could have used this creative as an opportunity to reiterate that it belongs to the brand. Instead it has tried to be all things to all people.
The message should have been simple: the Argos catalogue creates an experience that all children, of all ages can access and enjoy. It’s such a shame that this doesn’t come across in the final piece. Without the narrative, I’m not sure that people would see the significance of the humble catalogue in this advert.
A festive silver lining
While the final piece didn’t blow me away, it has encouraged conversation in the office and perhaps this is all the attention that Argos needs.
I suspect that those that do make the link between the countdown to Christmas and the Argos catalogue will go and pick one up. The truth is that only time will tell if the creative is strong enough to translate into sales.
If you would like to see the advert, then click on the YouTube link below: