Christmas shopping

What does the John Lewis Christmas campaign tell us about ad measurement?

What does the John Lewis Christmas campaign tell us about ad measurement?

How can brands cut through on air at Christmas time? It’s the time of year when the media landscape is even more challenging than normal to stand out, and every brand worth their salt is trying to think of a new and original way to get onto the consumer radar and to tap into the festive wallet.

John Lewis thought they had the solution, in fact for a number of years now they have been airing TV ads that really pull on our heart strings. The ads may appear at first to be very different – the little boy, the snowman, the bear and the hare - but they actually follow a very similar theme, with each demonstrating the same three components: strong sound track, an emotional hook and the feeling of nostalgia. 

This recipe has certainly bought the brand its share of media hype, as reported in the Telegraph, the launch of a new John Lewis festive ad is “an event that is now greeted with as many leaks, wild rumours and anticipation as the publication of a new J K Rowling novel or a James Bond release” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/topics/christmas/10433111/John-Lewis-advert-2013-The-two-minutes-that-launch-Christmas.html ). The campaign is also designed to encourage shoppers into store where they can interact with and purchase the bear and hare characters. Despite a reported spend of £7million, 42% of our poll said they had not yet seen the ad – of which there is a slight skew towards men, but on the whole, fairly evenly balanced.

The hype surrounding the advert sent the social media feeds in a frenzy “John Lewis Christmas ad trounces rivals for online buzz” (http://www.marketingweek.co.uk/sectors/retail/john-lewis-christmas-ad-trounces-rivals-for-online-buzz/4008524.article ), but what does this really translate to in terms of a call to action? Lord Sugar’s tweet during Saturday’s X Factor may have just summed this up “when I say the John Lewis ad was the best thing in X- Factor I mean more entertaining. But have not got a clue what they are trying to sell.” This reflects the findings from an RbD poll, suggesting that popularity does not necessarily activate store visits.

When asked if the ad would prompt a trip into their local store, those who had seen the ad had polarised opinions. Around the same number of consumers said they would now visit compared with those who were ambivalent.  In fact, looking at the extremes, only 13% said that they would be very likely to visit John Lewis as a result of seeing the festive interactions of the bear and the hare, compared with 20% who admitted they would be very unlikely to go.  

Further analysis suggests an even more complex picture for marketers. There were few differences in these results when split by gender, but younger consumers (18-34) were much more likely to be tempted into store, whereas the older consumers (35-54 and even more so 55+) were much more likely to claim the ad would not encourage them to visit.

So where does this net out for the brands behind the advertising? It is important for brands to be tracking consideration levels as well as advertising/communications awareness, no matter what size the brand is. It seems a beautifully shot and emotional piece of film will not necessarily translate into more shoppers or more visits. 

This entry was posted in Retail, tagged Retail & leisure, Retail, Consumer, Shopping and posted on April 7, 2015


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