The battle for the best Christmas Campaign for 2014 has kicked off,
with a number of UK retailers launching their advertorial holiday
campaigns in the hopes of winning over consumers in time for the
holiday rush. FashionUnited brings together the top Christmas
Campaigns for 2014 to see which retailers are most likely to have
tapped into their customers hearts and purses.

First there is House of Fraser, who has entered into Christmas
television advertising game for the first time in over a decade this
year, with the launch of its campaign ‘Be you, no matter who, this
Christmas.’ Rather than creating a fictional storyline for its viewers
to follow and engage in like other retailers have this season, the
department store group decided to take a more realistic approach with
its campaign. In its Christmas advertisements, created by 18 Feet &
Rising, models are featured speaking directly into the camera as if
there were at a casting session.

House of Fraser encourages consumer to be themselves this Christmas

Shot by Jennifer Vendetti, a renowned US casting director and
documentary filmmaker who is best known for her ‘street scouting’ real
people for her adverts, the short, documentary style films depicts the
models discussing their experience of Christmas gifting. They answer
questions pulled from a bowler hat and share who it is they find most
difficult to shop for during the holiday season and what they are
looking forward to the most during the festive period. Towards the end
of the film, the models nominate one special person they would like to
give a gift to, who then promptly arrives on the casting set and is
surprised with the perfect gift, personalizing the act of
gift-giving.

The 2014 holiday campaign is part of the department store’s first
national launch of its renewed positioning, with House of Fraser’s new
tagline ‘Be you no matter who.’ The Christmas campaign, which includes
20, 40 and 60 second adverts with different models, was first aired
last weekend during X Factor on ITV, and is also supported online via
House of Fraser’s social media channels. “It’s great to see House of
Fraser back out there in such a strong and authentic way,” commented
Jonathan Trimble, CEO at 18 Feet & Rising, on the campaign.

“We’re so excited to present a fresh and original multichannel
campaign that will resonate with customers as they shop for the
perfect present this Christmas,” added Tony Holdway, director of brand
at House of Fraser. “By showing real loved ones sharing gifts we’re
positioning House of Fraser as the destination for fashionable gifting
no matter who you’re shopping for.”

Next comes department store chain Debenhams, who has chosen to make a
“sensible investment” in its Christmas campaign this year, after
issuing a post-Christmas profit warning last season. Rather than
focusing on their fashion offering in their Christmas campaign, as the
group has done in the past, this year’s advert, named ‘Found it,’ taps
into consumers sentimental side and focuses on the pleasure found in
gifting. The television ad also happened to cost the department store
group one third of what its advert last year cost.

Debenhams hopes they are able to find it this Christmas

“It’s about delivering a really engaging campaign – including an
improved online gift finder and better Christmas atmosphere in our
stores,” commented Richard Cristofoli, marketing director at
Debenhams. The advert, which features another classic song, Paul
McCartney’s Frog Chorus ‘We All Stand Together’ as its soundtrack,
depicts a group of thirty or so children searching through a empty
Debenhams store for their right gift.

The children, who are all in their pajamas creep out from numerous
hiding places in the advert to run through Debenhams many departments
after hours, opening shoe boxes and trying on shoes, putting on
scarves and hats and looking at the beauty assortment. Throughout the
ad, the camera returns to one girl in a red dressing gown who seems to
be searching for something she can’t find. As child after child seem
to find their perfect gift, wrapped in a red box, the girl seems to
become more frustrated. However, just when when she is about to give
up, she spots her perfect gift under a bed and rushed to unwrap it and
proceeds to hug her stuffed reindeer.

The 2014 Christmas campaign was first launched online on YouTube on
November 1, prior to its televised launch during ITV’s X Factor on
November 8 and is backed by an online campaign which encourages
customers to share their “found it” moment with the hashtag #foundit
for a chance to win 1,000 pounds worth of gift-cards. Debenhams will
also be backing its Christmas campaign in-stores, with unique window
displays, creating in-store ‘hotspots’ and offering gift cards with
more than 120 gift messages.

“The ‘Found it’ campaign is about so much more than a TV ad,” adds
Cristofoli. “A multi-channel world requires a multimedia campaign so
it’s as much about the outdoor, print, online and social media
activity as it is about TV. As a multi-channel retailer our campaign
seeks to engage with consumers with a multi-channel approach. It is a
broad campaign which can play out across all media – paid and
owned.”

Both department store groups seem to have taken a more realistic
approach to their Christmas campaigns for 2014, rather than tapping
into the fantastical or magical side of the festive season, as seen in
other adverts this season. Both have chosen to focus on the act of
gifting, rather than advertising the products themselves and both
depict the struggle of finding the perfect gift, although in vastly
different ways. However, which of these two campaigns has really
managed to connect to their consumers wishes this Christmas and will
ultimately lead to them opening up their wallets for their holiday
shopping?

When it comes to Christmas marketing, this year around customer seems
to be prizing creativity, originality as well as the adverts power to
make an emotional connection to the viewer. For example, John Lewis’s
#MontyThePenguin Christmas campaign received over 16 million views
online within the first week of the ads debut and Sainsbury’s touching
WW1 commemorative Christmas advert racked up close to 10 million views
on YouTube within five days, underlining the importance of sentimental
value found in Christmas adverts.

Since launching online on YouTube, Debenhams Christmas ad has just
over 700,000 views and House of Fraser Christmas advert has just under
9,000 views. Although Debenhams did launch it campaign ahead of House
of Fraser, when divided down into daily views, the former is still far
ahead of the latter. If the number of views can be linked to sales, as
seen in the past with other department stores such as John Lewis whose
winning Christmas campaigns ultimately led to record breaking
Christmas sales, then it can be argued that of Debenhams seems to be
the stronger of the two.

Consumers have also reacted more positively to Debenhams Christmas ad
online, with one user commenting: “A beautiful advert that has
captured the magical feeling of joy and excitement that Christmas
brings. Well done Debenhams!” Another viewer added: “My very very
favourite Christmas song from my childhood, when the magic of
Christmas was as it should be.” In comparison comments for House of
Fraser’s comeback holiday campaign were a little less positive.
“Clever marketing or simply appalling?” asked one user online, with
others being more outspoken in formulating their opinion: “Such a crap
irrelevant advert it’s like it’s only aimed at models, absolute
rubbish.”

So if the consumer consensus online holds to be true in real life,
then it seems to be that Debenhams has managed to sneak into their
customers hearts by recalling memories of Christmases long since past,
which will hopefully in turn for the department store group, led to
shoppers sneaking around their stores in search of the perfect gift
this holiday season.

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Mittie B Brack News

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