The Virality of Christmas Adverts

We are now in the official countdown to Christmas and like it or not it’s that time when we start to see Christmas adverts, images and promotions. Don’t be fooled, each brand has one aim in mind… to make you spend your money with them. So far this year we have seen cute penguins from John Lewis, lights on at Tesco, gingerbread at Waitrose and the heartfelt trenches advert from Sainsburys.

This annual battle to win the hearts (AKA wallets) of British shoppers will see UK brands spending more than £1.5bn on advertising campaigns…. that’s huge! Of course the main outlet for this expenditure is television with the big bucks going to slots surrounding popular shows like the XFactor and Downton Abbey.

I am very interested in viral advertising and the ingredients that make it happen. For me when it comes to viral videos (including adverts) the ingredients must include one or all of the following characteristics:

• Humour
• Heart Warming
• Shocking

The other element of a great viral video is the brands ability to keep the buzz going after the video has been watched. This could include a specific Twitter hashtag such as #MontyThePenguin (John Lewis) or #ChristmasIsForSharing (Sainsburys). The advantage of incorporating a hashtag is that your brand can enjoy virality on Twitter, Facebook, G+ and a whole host of other online networks. This will bring your advert and message to hoards of people who in turn will spread the word.

Another trick to attaining virality through video advertising is to be very subtle about your level of product promotion. Forcing your sales message will not endear you to your viewers and certainly they will not be inclined to spread your message. Instead take a look at the advert from Sainsburys which is 3 minutes 40 second-long and briefly features just one item… a vintage chocolate bar. The supermarket has partnered with the Royal British Legion to sell it in stores therefore subtly tying a beautiful advert into a product sale.

I’m crazy about Christmas adverts especially ones which have so brilliantly tapped into the mood of the viewers to achieve a brilliant virality. Which is your favourite Christmas advert so far? Tweet me @charli_says and let me know.

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