It may only be early November but last week, most of the big retailers released their Christmas advertising. With much anticipation, John Lewis, Debenhams, Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Argos and co have set free their creative offerings for the judgement of the British public.
Of course, the big front runner has been John Lewis, whose creative team at Adam & Eve DDB have been producing the most popular Christmas ads for years. The hype around the Christmas advert has been building for many months and after a pre-release email to their customers, John Lewis launched their ad on YouTube, 36 hours before any appearances on television screens. The internet went wild, with numerous related hashtags trending on Twitter for days, most media outlets covering it in some shape or form and the two minute long video being shared 433,000 times and viewed over 16 million times in 4 days.
John Lewis have clearly had a well thought out digital marketing and PR strategy, knowing where their audience is and how to engage them, creating hype and warming them up towards the release of the advert. However their engagement strategy is even more interesting – with Monty the penguin having a Twitter account (24.9k followers), alongside his new found love Mabel (3.5k followers) and John Lewis using their main account (179k followers) to interact with their audience as well as sharing additional content, the opportunities for engagement are limitless.
The main website features even more content with videos, streaming Twitter feeds, apps, games as well as options to get yourself a Monty or Mabel toy or related gifts. The toys have proven so popular that they have now sold out and are being sold on eBay, reaching record bids – perhaps also part of the strategy. Monty also has an Instagram account, many hashtags on Vine and a number of fan pages on Facebook meaning engagement on a wide variety of digital channels, the buzz surrounding the retailer’s Christmas advert is hard to avoid.
After such levels of engagement, it will be interesting to see how the store’s Christmas sales will be impacted. Having already sold out of Monty the Penguin toys, I am sure John Lewis will be hoping this popularity will spread to its other products and services similarly to last year where online sales increased 23% and like-for-like sales were up by 6.9% after the success of their Bear and Hare ad. “Our shops and our online channel, bricks and clicks, came together and it’s a story of the two being hand in glove and that giving the customer what they really wanted,” stated John Lewis managing director Andy Street on their previous success, let’s hope that such strong levels of engagement online and offline will work together, translating online buzz and influence into another commercial victory.
Hannah is a Digital Producer at Copper.