Even after the year we have all had, there is still something extra sparkly about Christmas. The tingle in your tummy as you think about the brief moments we will spend in our bubbles and how even with restrictions, we can all make the most of some much-deserved time off.
For those working in marketing, it is also an opportunity to watch the Christmas adverts and to look a little more closely at the brand campaigns that are creeping onto the screens of our multiple devices.
Usually the focus remains on TV when it comes to Christmas adverts. Which brands have spent the most money, and what will become ‘the’ advert of the year? There is usually a race to be the first to air and then the debate about the iconic moments that resonate and that we can all share.
For me, there was a very different start to my Christmas brand watch. While reviewing my Twitter feed, I came across a post from Lidl. It was a clear call to action that if you liked the tweet then you would be one of the first to see the advert.
This was a great idea and I’m sure that it took a massive amount of resource and effort on behalf of the PR team at Lidl to respond to all the posts and capture all the data. It was impressive and I wondered how it would work in practice.
A thankless tactic
A few days later, I received an alert to say that I had a direct message from Lidl. True to their promise, awaiting in my inbox was a link to the advert. And this is where Lidl took the fizz right out of my Christmas.
I sat wide-eyed waiting for the creative that would have me welling up and clutching at my heart as little people danced on stage or older people enjoyed time with family and friends. Would it focus on loneliness, good will to all men (and women) or another topic completely?
Well, it goes back to managing expectations. The advert was a blatant promotion of all things Lidl. Not even a veiled attempt, an all out ‘in your face’, ‘have it’ plug for all festive products in store.
Saved by a Christmas jumper
Now, don’t get me wrong, there is a place for this and in some way I commend Lidl for being so forthright but don’t get people’s hopes up when you just want to flog your goods to them.
I was expecting something special, something exciting, something festive. All I got was a reminder of how great Lidl is and what they have instore. Truth be told, it’s only three days since I had been, so I was aware of what was on offer.
As a customer of Lidl, this advert did nothing to build my loyalty to the brand. The Christmas jumper that is now available and another blatant promotion did make me smile though. And perhaps that’s the point. Maybe Lidl have got it right. While brands are spending millions on festive ads that make us all warm and fuzzy inside, all we really need to know is what they have for us to buy.
When a Burger Beats you to the Top Spot
In a world that is full of marketing messages, I quite like the idea that Christmas adverts look more towards themes and feelings that we can all relate to. Instead of pushing a product, I like to stand in the moment and that’s why my top spot for the Christmas advert of 2020 goes to McDonalds.
Great creative, excellent delivery and a message that mums and dads, aunties and uncles can appreciate and that will leave you wiping a tear and raising a smile.
It’s not that Lidl got it completely wrong for me but that the tactics were overplayed. Getting someone excited on social will have them coming back for more. Not delivering on that promise will leave them wanting more. The two are very different.
I do hope that the next time the brand engages on social channels that the outcome of that campaign meets with expectations. I’m afraid this time around, it wasn’t the case for me.