1 November: Very tugs at the heartstrings in community cartoon

Very is encouraging consumers to “get more out of giving” for its Christmas campaign, which this year takes the form of a community-focused cartoon.

‘Pass the parcel’ shows the story of a community that comes together to give Sidney, a lonely older man, a good Christmas. The community races to pack a bright pink Very parcel that includes Christmas lights and a jumper, as Sidney walks along their street.

It ends with Sidney receiving the gift and his neighbours celebrating Christmas with him, with the tagline ‘get more out of giving’.

Andrew Roscoe, head of brand at Shop Direct, which owns Very, says: “It has been a real joy bringing together the characters from our previous campaigns as a community who care and support each other.”

The campaign, created by St. Luke’s, features TV, digital, print, outdoor and social media activity. A separate behind the scenes film will run on YouTube and Facebook from 1 November and includes The Social Singing Choir, who recorded the soundtrack, talking about their own emotional life stories and the importance of community.

Roscoe adds: “We believe you get more out of giving, and this powerful message is especially important at this time of year.”

Very will also be launching a separate ad in the run-up to Black Friday from 16 November.

1 November: Cineworld’s epic cinema charades

Cineworld is creating its own game of charades this Christmas but with an “epic, cinematic twist” to reflect the struggles consumers face when it comes to guessing what gifts to buy loved ones.

In the ad, it’s Christmas Day and a family game of charades is in motion. But this isn’t any old game of charades, this is charades with an epic, cinematic twist. Hence nine-year-old Lottie transforming herself into characters from upcoming blockbusters including Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Frozen 2, Top Gun: Maverick and Wonder Women: 1984, and taking her family on a cinematic journey through film.

Beyond that, Cineworld will be hosting a nationwide charades tournament in each of its 100 cinemas, inviting customers to battle it out across the UK to win Cineworld gifting products.

Social content will include a Facebook Live competition, which will see Britain’s Got Talent winners, Twist and Pulse, go head-to-head in their own game of Cineworld charades.

Finally, staying true to theme, each cinema has been furnished with campaign point-of-sale, including 7-foot Christmas trees made entirely out of charades cards with a Cineworld star on top.

“Finding the perfect gift for someone isn’t easy… it often feels just like a guessing game. So this year, using the game of Charades and the power of imagination, we’re giving Christmas a twist on the traditional, with a campaign that takes the guesswork out of gifting,” says Cineworld’s head of marketing, Casey Cohen.

“This concept will be adapted across multiple touchpoints, mobilising cinema teams and influencers to bring our campaign to life in our cinema foyers and on social media. Each of our gift boxes will include a branded pack of Cineworld Charades, so families across the country will also be bringing our campaign to life in their own living rooms over the holiday season.” EH

1 November: Christmas ad spend forecast to hit £6.8bn

UK businesses will spend £6.8bn on seasonal advertising during the final quarter of this year, according to figures from the Advertising Association.

This is up 4.7% on 2018’s spend and a record high.

“Christmas is the biggest time of the year for brands and retailers and they recognise the power of advertising to tell a story that will capture the public’s imagination and tempt them into store or online,” says Stephen Woodford, chief executive of the Advertising Association.

“This year looks set to be a ground-breaking year for ad spend and, at £6.8bn, the figure would be an increase on last year’s, which was itself a record. We’re hopefully looking forward to a season of goodwill for British advertising and the national economy as brands and retailers invest in festive adverts like never before”.

31 October: Notonthehighstreet tries to inject joy into joyless UK

Notonthehighstreet is hoping to cheer up a politically fatigued nation this Christmas with a campaign channelling happiness.

The retailer says its Give Happy campaign will tap into the moments that “embody” the joy of the festive season, the joy of giving or receiving thoughtful gifts, and the joy of supporting the UK’s best small creative businesses who make or source them.

The campaign includes a TV sponsorship with Channel 4 for the second year running, totalling over 2,000 hours of sponsored programming, as well as the launch of two pop-up shops in London.

For the first time, the campaign is supported by notonthehighstreet’s four celebrity small business supporters – Fearne Cotton, Gok Wan, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Giovanna Fletcher. They have all curated their own gift collections that feature in the Christmas Gift Guide and are shoppable through the site or app.

Notonthehighstreet has also created short films that capture their visit to an entrepreneur to find out the business story and behind-the-scenes work that goes into the creation of a gift.

“Both the creative execution and the channels we’re using allow us to engage with our audience repeatedly in a way that fits in with their lives,” says chief commercial and marketing officer Ella d’Amato.

“We hope to highlight the value of supporting small creative businesses at this time of year, not only because they are creating thoughtful and meaningful gifts but also for the important contribution they make to the way we work and to the UK economy. Our campaign this year will cement notonthehighstreet’s position as a champion of small business and as the joy-spreading, one-stop-shop for thoughtful or mindfully-made gifts.”

Notonthehighstreet is yet to confirm whether the campaign will tap into the joy of an end to Brexit. EH

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