To advertise or not to advertise?

13 November 2020

Coca-Cola advertising on a tram
In the topsy turvy year that has been 2020, the public have been looking for a beacon that is neither political nor health related. And what better, than when our much-loved brands and retailers start jostling for top spot with their Christmas advertising.

We have all been looking for something upbeat and galvanising this year (something which bigger brands are well aware of) but what is the value of advertising, or indeed the brand itself, in such uncertain times?

While many businesses, who have suffered financially this year, have chosen to step back from their usual marketing and advertising activities, others have maintained their brand presence and continued to appeal to our emotional heartstrings.

Of course, the absolute reason of continuing to rock up to this Christmas-ad-beauty-parade is to drive home the last sales of the year and start 2021 fleet of foot.

The role of communities

Perhaps, it’s also a little bit to do with having a standing in the community, being expected to show up and bring some joy to all. Community is hugely important in times like these and offers a genuine opportunity and freedom for brands to showcase their personality and emotionally connect with their audience, demonstrating shared values.

As creatures of habit, the public look to brands to spark the start of the festive season. Christmas trees and decorations have gone up as early as the end of October this year, bringing relief to families in ‘Lockdown II’ and brands are capitalising on this extended window to foster and reinforce relationships and bolster their brand value.

Television plays its part

What’s also telling is that the age-old argument that ‘television is dead’ as an advertising channel, is also obsolete this year. Being more confined to our homes and looking for more home comforts, this medium has been seen by many as a priority and is bending to new norms.

Netflix is leading on breaking convention with their plans to roll out a programmed linear content channel, familiar to TV viewers. Instead of asking viewers what they want to watch, they are now scheduling programmes that take the effort of choice away. Will it be successful? We wait to see.

Insight-driven communications

Of course, without a good brand strategy, clear key messaging, or an impactful ‘big idea’, brands would struggle to resonate with their target market. So the question of whether to advertise is answered, in part, by whether there is a strong, insight-driven communications strategy to support it.

With all the big juggernauts now having revealed their Christmas ads – whether you laugh or cry – the emotion is palpable.

Here’s a selection of our favourites. Whichever you prefer, there seems to be a little bit more lightness, a little more care, and a little more love in the room.

Which is your favourite?

John Lewis: Give a little love

Disney: From our family to yours

Walkers: A Sausage CaRoll

Aldi: Kevin the carrot

Coca-Cola Christmas

TK Maxx: The Lil’ Goat

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