- Christmas advertising is a bigger deal for UK brands than it is in the U.S. marketplace.
- The yearly competition to “win Christmas” in Britain can be seen as the equivalent to how U.S. brands treat the Super Bowl every winter.
- Devra Pyrwes, marketer for the Unruly Group, pointed out the difference between the U.S. and UK approach to Christmas marketing in terms of the yearly John Lewis ad, "The culture is different. People wait for this ad—they wait for it.”
It seems U.S. marketers have a lot to learn from their compatriots across the pond when it comes to marketing around Christmas. The ads are anticipated and brands work hard to produce commercials that tug at viewers’ emotions, and in turn, prompt social media shares.
Adam&eveDDB executive creative director Richard Brim told Fast Company that John Lewis’ 2011 ad called “The Long Wait” was the real beginning of what he called the “Christmas Bowl.”
Brim explained, "It's a part of popular culture in a way that every brand strives to be. Captivating and effective, without any follow up ads selling turkey crowns or prawn rings (2 for £10.99). Now it’s a yearly race to be the most emotional and meaningful brand of the year. It’s taken on a life of its own."
David Murdico, creative director of LA shop Supercool Creative, told Adweek the difference in the U.S. and UK approach to holiday marketing is based on spending objectives. UK marketers, Murdico said, are willing to spend on high concept Christmas shorts while U.S. marketers are more focused on short-term results.
"In the U.S. marketers are looking for a direct and immediate online video to sales, cause and effect outcome, and are more risk averse and reluctant than many other countries to take chances, go out on a limb or invest in the long play versus the short play, like TV ads and one-off videos with a post-and-pray mentality," Murdico said.
According to a CNN Money report citing the UK Advertising Association, British retailers will have spent about $2.2 billion on TV slots alone when the holiday season comes to a close, and $3.3 billion on online advertising. CNN Money estimates that holiday ad spend in the UK will account for about 70% of all ad spend expected in Q4 in 2015.