On the 29/11/2013 Kevin MacDonald, in association with supermarket retailer Sainsbury’s, will launch the full 50 minute long version of his Christmas advertisement and short-film Christmas In A Day. The film, a festive edition of Kevin MacDonald’s previous films ‘Life In a Day’ and ‘Britain In a Day’, will document the lives of ordinary people as they celebrate the Christmas period. The film has already been aired in paired down advertisement packages, notably into a three-minute version, and a one-minute online trailer, as well as sixty and forty second TV offerings. It has also been separated into smaller packages documenting particular families or events specifically for online consumption . The advertisement has become an online event, with the advertisers trying their best to entice audiences in, to engage and join in the conversation surrounding it. The event-as-advert has been a recent phenomenon, with certain attention being placed upon the Christmas period, susceptible as we may be to heightened emotional responses at this time of year. Perhaps because of this, and with retailers interested in wrenching every penny from our weather-beaten palms, advertisers’ move towards the event-as-advert was inevitable.
The internet of course makes this all possible. Engagement is the new buzzword. By tapping into the society’s need for conversation advertisers can keep the campaign going with only a few nudges here and there. The eventification of the advert is compelling and new, as advertisers draw on the internet’s ability to connect 24 hours, around the clock, with constant streams of analytic data to better process audience reaction.
With cross-channel engagement, i.e., utilising both TV and Internet, the eventification of advertisement enables greater emotional response, further brand engagement and increased emotional tie-ins to the brand. By launching it across multiple channels, and utilising the effectiveness of real-time Twitter, and to a lesser extent, Facebook, debate, companies can see marked improvement in engagement. As an event, the advert takes on some of the associations of events, including that conversational factor that sees people needing to discuss it. The data does indeed represent this.
Before the online event there was Jamie Oliver
If we look back to the time before Twitter, when social media was still in its pre-uterine state, and global and national engagement was found through the cathode ray, Christmas adverts were a humbler entity. They stuck to what they knew, and that was primarily festive cheer. In 2006 Sainsbury’s Christmas adverts consisted of that cheeky cockney Jamie Oliver appearing in a Dickensian winter wonderland, offering up variations on traditional Christmas food and accompanying spices.
Taking a critical eye to the video, the hallmarks of modern Christmas output remain – high-end foods, high production value, high star-quality – but the most important ingredient of the trend toward the event-as-advert is not yet there. We see no attempt at engagement; this is an advert that stands alone, leaning on brand ambassador’s star power, along with the strap-line ‘Try something new today’, to entice customers into their stores.
Advertisers and the online event
In recent years, however, and with retailers attempting to catch up on John Lewis’ game-changing Christmas adverts, engagement has come into focus. 2012’s Sainsbury’s campaign, for example, included a twelve day run up to Christmas, an advertorial imagining of the twelve days of Christmas. This fixation on events and on engagement will no doubt run for many years to come, until perhaps some greater shift in the way audiences consume media occurs and the advertisers catch up – my $0.2 is that, with expenditure on tailored mobile video advertisement increasing, new ways of advertising to that particular channel will follow.
Despite protestations from aging ad-execs, TV is being cauterized, its platform now being shared with internet engagement. If advertisers fail to commit to a more holistic approach, i.e., that advertisements should be responsive and furthering conversation around the brand, then advertisement campaigns will fail. Of course, large-scale TV campaigns can be worthwhile, but without a convincing social side it will not achieve the returns that the increased budgets demand.
YouGov BrandIndex show increased awareness of Sainsbury’s ads among consumers: up 11.4 points to 40.5 points over a week period from when the advertisement was first aired.
Furthermore, YouGov BrandIndex’s Buzz measurement, a score of positive and negative things said concerning the brand, saw Sainsbury’s increase by 10 points, to 21.5. Purchase Intent is also up, moving from 14.5 up 6.6 points to 21.1. This is significant in the face of competition from other supermarket brands.
Tell the stories that are important to you through video. If you want to capitalise on the stories within your business, and create a sense of an event as part of your campaign, then contact Tanglewood today.
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