The Christmas advert debate on BBC Radio Kent


With the Christmas advert dialogue in full swing, Graeme Hall, ifour’s Creative Director, was asked to join Steve Ladner on the Friday evening show at BBC Radio Kent to discuss the emotional debate that these commercials invariably raise.

Big brands such as John Lewis, M&S, and Waitrose etc. use this festive time as a powerful opportunity to build brand awareness through the use of nostalgic storytelling, with the ultimate goal of cementing a strong emotional connection with their target audience.

Of course this is nothing new and we all eagerly anticipate which brand will best tug at our heartstrings year after year, and more often than not John Lewis will grab that most moving top slot.

The key message being portrayed this year was their partnership with Age UK, and to highlight the fact that at Christmas time over 60% of people aged 65 and over would experience loneliness and isolation at a time where many are enjoying happy times with friends and family.

There will always be controversy and discussion around this style of advertising as it is inevitable that these heart-tugging narratives will continue to bring joy, anger, confusion and surprise as a result.

We are also seeing that some brands are giving traditional TV the cold shoulder and looking towards social media as the medium with which to promote their Christmas wares. This year German supermarket chain Lidl debuted their #schoolofchristmas campaign on social media before launching on TV. As people now consume media in such a variety of different ways, brands now need to look across all marketing channels to reach that all-important customer.

Here are just a few of the spoof ads this year on social media:

As Steve mentioned in the radio broadcast we did our very own spoof of the ‘Bear and the Hare’ advert a few years ago. The main message we wanted to portray was that you don’t need to spend million of pounds to develop a story that engages viewers. 

Enjoy our short film and don’t forget to watch the naughty and the nice versions.