Our 3 Favourite Christmas Ads of 2016

Here at MintTwist we love a bit of content marketing. December is arguably the king of the calendar when it …

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Here at MintTwist we love a bit of content marketing. December is arguably the king of the calendar when it comes to content marketing. Over the last few years, we’ve all experienced many more brands jumping on the bandwagon and instead of showcasing a product trying to provoke an emotional response. Not all have been successful, remember the Robert Dyers advert from 2015? Although I’m sure that this is an attempt at parody.

Bronze – H&M’s Christmas Ad

This is certainly my favourite advertisement, but I am a sucker for anything that director Wes Anderson puts his hands on. His enchanting set designs and pastel colourways are just as strong in this short 4-minute video as in The Moonrise Kingdom or The Grand Budapest Hotel.

He even brought along Adrien Brody, one of the youngest recipients of the Academy Award for best actor. Anderson rolls out his signature sweeping shots and dollhouse approach to a scene aboard the “H&M express”. We get to see a wide range of personalities on the train (who are all wearing H&M’s winter 2016 range of clothing).

h&m instagram Christmas ad

Unfortunately, the train is heading into bad weather and won’t be making its destination for Christmas. Brody and his chaperone put a few things in place to ensure the unaccompanied minor has an enjoyable Christmas.

It may have been a costly option for H&M but it’s certainly tactical: the style and class of Anderson will inevitably seep into H&M’s brand image and I couldn’t only think of a few better associations for a clothing re-seller.

Anderson’s signature style is now being used to promote brands holiday collection. With the whimsical and cosy train set designs being utilised across the brand’s websites and social media I am sure this will a gift that keeps on giving.

Silver – Sainsbury’s Christmas Ad

Bravo Sainsbury’s, you managed to create a catchy jingle (sung by James Corden), make a cool stop-frame animation and send a valuable lesson. These are the ingredients of a great ad, but what grabs Sainsbury’s bronze is the campaigns focus on cross-channel marketing.

It all stems from Sainsbury’s strap line “Christmas is for Sharing”. Sainsbury’s goes about fulfilling this promise by offering certain products and services that relate to the ad and then donating a considerable percentage of the proceeds towards the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.

A downloadable version of the song, which was written by Flight of The Concords star Bret McKenzie, is available on iTunes for £0.99 with £0.62 going towards Ormond Hospital. The song has also racked up over half a million plays on Spotify.

sainsburys instagram christmas ad

The company also offers The Greatest Gift Film Animation Kits for £5 with £2 going to Ormond Hospital. Sainsbury’s also put out a downloadable Studio App and even offer a behind the scenes look at the shoot.

Don’t forget the singing competition which gives hopefuls the chance to appear on the special fans sing-along video and £1,000 for Christmas shopping. Don’t forget Gingerbread Dave, 50p of each one sold also goes to charity. Customers also have the option to donate in store.

There were 180 people working on the production of the film, it took 16 weeks to build the puppets and sets plus another 420 hours to film and then 8 weeks spent in post-production. But it’s what Sainsbury’s did to promote the #Christmasisforsharing theme that caught my eye.

The campaigns integrated arsenal included: a downloadable app and song, instructional videos, gingerbread men, and a singing competition – all of which feed into a good cause.

Gold – Allegro’s Christmas Ad

Sure, John Lewis has had twice as many views as close competitors, while Sainsbury’s ad capitalised on a gigantic budget and yes Anderson’s style is unmatched, but no Christmas ad encapsulated the spirit of the season quite as well as Allegro, a Polish e-commerce store.

The story-line is simple, a grandfather commits to learning English, he buys an “English for beginners” book, tactically puts labels on all his home-ware (dog included) and even curses at a rubber duck. All for a good cause, though, grandpa travels to the UK to meet his granddaughter for the first time “Hi. I am your Grandfather” he tells her for the first time (nothing can prepare you for this moment…)

allegro christmas ad

What makes this ad so successful — on an international scale — is that we all have a family or friend who lives abroad; everyone has experienced the choices of being reunited. As a foreigner living in London this ad resonates even more —  it is hard to keep tight relationships when abroad — something that Allegro’s core audience are aware of in earnest.

Getting reunited with friends and family during the festive season is at the heart of Christmas, hats off to Allegro for representing that spirit so sweetly. Oh and with a far smaller budget than the runner-ups too, not that should be a deterrent —  grandpa showed that with a bit of guts and planning the payoff can be unquantifiable.

The increasingly globalised world may send us away from families but it also critical to the success of Allegro as an international e-commerce provider. After all, grandpas book ‘English for Beginners’ came from Allegro!

Given that just over 800,000 Poles live in the UK Allegro does a great job at tapping into the group’s core audience.

In Conclusion

Two common threads run amongst our winners, integration and a bit of charm. These campaigns weave in-and-out of digital and offline channels – extending reach, impact and profitability.

Sainsbury’s nailed this approach by offering a diverse range of digital options from audio tracks to physical products, without sacrificing the benevolent feel of the campaign.

H&M, a brand focused on aesthetics, paired with one of the most tasteful directors of the century and is now extending the ground they made with its ad through in store pop-ups and social media promotions. While the beloved Allegro has just cleared the field and stops anyone from getting wound up by a dog on a trampoline… Basically, if we count tears per view as a metric then Allegro is the undoubted winner.

MintTwist are experts at digital transformations, we forge digital pathways with integrated content marketing campaigns




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