Video to maximise your seasonal sums…

It’s just as traditional as Santa Claus and mince pies. In the six week run up to December 25th, the annual John Lewis Christmas advert is a much-heralded event that dictates the mood for this year’s festivities.

It’s a major occasion in the nation’s calendar, setting social media alight and inspiring articles to be written in such tomes as the Daily Mail to the school newsletter. Last year we had Monty the penguin. The year before, we had the bear and the hare. We had the little boy who couldn’t wait for December 25th so he could give his parents their present.

One side of the resulting argument inevitably hails the ad as a masterpiece of Christmas cheer that captures the mood, while the other insists it will refuse to be manipulated with such smultzy tweeness. But whatever your view, the creative agency, Adam & EveDDB, behind the ad uses both images and unexpected music to give a master class in the medium of video to create emotion, dialogue and untimely, return on investment for John Lewis.

Measuring return on investment is a dark art. However, what we do know is in two weeks, the Monty the Penguin John Lewis ad had 16 million views on YouTube. The whole campaign, with its strategically placed high-profile TV slots and supporting magazine adverts, reportedly cost £7million. That £7m bought a lot of brand awareness for John Lewis, but the key question for the retailer is how much of that brand awareness translated into actual sales.

Any retail analyst will tell you the trading environment for high street shops is extremely difficult. John Lewis has managed to keep its like for like sales consistent over the last few years and had produced record trading figures in the run up to Christmas. Part of that is its success in cutting through all the other noise in that environment and to keep John Lewis at the forefront of the shopper’s mind – and using video in the form of its annual Christmas ad does just that.

The John Lewis Christmas ad is more than just a creative video. It’s a key part of its annual marketing spend, the mechanism that gets John Lewis talked about in the national press and local media. It generates both sales and brand loyalty. It’s also a positioning tool – enhancing the retailer’s reputation as a market leader in both shopping experience and marketing innovation.

So think about the effectiveness of your video. Start by deciding that it’s more than just a beautiful film. What return do you want? Do you want to increase brand awareness? Sales? Or is it just to get your company talked about?

Christmas adverts can be over produced; they can be annoying, and portray the festive season in an unrealistic way – but they still have valuable lessons to teach in using video to do something amazing.

Look out for our full review when the John Lewis video is out!