I’ve read quite a few funny articles about the Christmas barrage coming at us from all directions. The most common grump is the start time of the advertising; it began in earnest during November. I understand retailers who sell goods with long lead times such as beds and sofa’s but less so the grocery retailers given w/c 23rd December will be the mad rush to stock-up just in case we get snowed in until the new year.
Being an observational sort of person I do pick up on the detail and often, sadly, wonder whether the authors of the end lines we are confronted with really think about them.
I’ve seen the Tesco TV advertising a few times and it’s fine as far as it goes but it has that flaw which provokes a reaction. The theme of the advertising is “There’s nothing better than Christmas”. Well who says?
It’s an assertion, in my book a mistake. It isn’t an accurate statement for a lot of people. Also by comparison John Lewis lead with “Give someone a Christmas they’ll never forget” which is a good thought as it could mean giving food to people who don’t have any, as well as giving someone a gift they will be thrilled with.
So Tesco are suggesting there’s nothing better than Christmas and they contribute to that. I was walking out of my local Tesco a few days ago, it was a dark, cold and wet evening, and saw the store merchandising with that line on it and thought to myself “I don’t agree with that”. If I had the option, two weeks in Barbados would better, or skiing in France, or getting a new car or (write in your own answer); all material thoughts which got me thinking further.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-Christmas at all, just the reverse during the 24th/25th/26th but before and after those dates I’m in to other things in my life. I think I get the Bah Humbug reaction when I’m told what to think. It’s the same with M&S and “Magic & Sparkle” – no M&S you do not add magic and sparkle to my life on any level.
Getting the brief for the Christmas campaign must be greeted with a deep sigh, what do you do to differentiate your campaign from all the others? The universal ingredients will be snow, twinkling lights, holly, kids having fun in snow, family groups sitting around an overflowing table with silly hats on, people opening presents. In our heads we all know these images as they come around every year without fail. So the art director has his/her work cut out but what about the writer, he/she has a stinker of a job. The challenge is how to link Christmas with a point of differentiation for their client?
In most markets the point of differentiation is quite hard to accomplish but Christmas, what do you say? Shop at our place and your Christmas will be a) happier, b) cheaper, c) faster, d) healthier, e) convenient, I could go on but none of the foregoing are up for grabs. They are not claims any of the advertisers can imply so they are forced to go for generic assertions about the Christmas spirit.
However with Tesco and “There’s nothing better than Christmas” they are in fact turning the thought in to reality to help hungry families at Christmas. Last year Tesco shoppers and Tesco donated 5.9 million meals. The Neighbourhood Food Collection has taken place at every Tesco store in the country and will help to provide much needed food for the 400 foodbanks in The Trussell Trust foodbank network.
I admire Tesco for both being a key partner in this project and also for not turning it in to a piece of promotion for their business. I’m tempted to suggest they could make more of it but then again maybe they are better to get on with it and make Christmas better for thousands of families in the UK.