‘Tis the season to be jolly, isn’t it?

Laura and Rhi are on placement at OMD UK after studying at SCA 2.0. 

Here at OMD UK, Christmas has come early. Laura and I have had more Christmas brainstorms than Father Christmas has had mince pies (well, maybe not quite that many). We’ve been in our element, jamming to Mariah while munching on chocolate and relishing any opportunity to use a Christmas pun.

But our enthusiasm might not be shared by everyone and it’s not really a surprise. 2016 has done little to prepare the UK for the season of good will. From Brexit to Bowie is it any surprise that this year’s celebrations feel a little more muted than usual?

And it would appear that advertising has followed suit. Even super brands like Tesco have forgone the tinsel-toting excitement of Christmas festivities. Tesco, for example, went with a slightly foreboding ‘Bring It On’ route, which openly acknowledges that for a vast number of parents, Christmas, and all that comes with it, has become ever more daunting as a day-long celebration has slowly morphed into a month-long marathon.

House of Fraser too, has turned its back on last year’s ‘Your Rules’ campaign, in favour of ‘Christmas is Coming for You’, a route that might sound more suited to Halloween than Christmas. John Lewis’s ‘Bounce Bounce’ too, felt decidedly less corny this year. It was, after all, the story of a dog ruining a little girl’s Christmas morning. It would appear that adam&eveDDB is responding to a cynicism in their audience and McCann seems to have shared in this dark humour, with Aldi’s ‘Kevin the Christmas Carrot’, who meets a less than merry end.

But the question is, is this a financially profitable route? Can embracing a nationwide pessimism harness spending power by demonstrating authentic customer insight?

Well, only time will tell, but Laura and I think it might be best to take inspiration from last year’s WestJet Christmas campaign, ‘Mini Miracles’. This campaign promised to surprise and delight customers with thousands of little acts of kindness performed by the brand while championing customer’s acts of kindness on social. Instead of creating the illusion of Christmas joy, WestJet set out to create it, with real, tangible Christmas moments that their audience could see in effect. And if that doesn’t get you feeling all merry, I don’t know what will.


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