Friday 14 November 2014

Weekly Wrap Up: Christmas has begun

Over the last week the UK has seen the official start to Christmas; John Lewis told us so.

John Lewis started this off in 2009, seeing Coca-Cola’s Santa and raising him, in no particular order, a penguin, some snowmen, and unlikely friendships between woodland creatures. Ever since, companies have rushed to get in on the act, pushing ever greater briefs, backed by ever larger budgets. All in the attempt to attract shoppers through their doors. But is this money well spent? Or have these adverts become so removed from what advertising traditionally stands for that they could potentially damage the high street they’re meant to save?

Simply put, the cost of these adverts is enough to make any company's CFO turn ashen faced. With a budget of £7 million, John Lewis tops the charts, and the sheer scale of Sainsbury’s WW1 extravaganza means it can’t be far behind. But one thing was conspicuously missing from both adverts, and that’s a product.

Whilst you may now be able to buy a Monty penguin for the sum of £95, and Sainsbury’s will sell you vintage chocolate for £1, neither make product a focal point during their two or three minutes of air time. Having been placed in the most expensive slots on British TV, the question has to be asked, ‘is this good advertising?’

On the surface, the answer surely is yes. In terms of outreach, these adverts achieve circulation that could never have been expected even a few years ago. In less than 24 hours, Sainsbury’s saw online viewing figures of nearly one million, whilst being shared on Facebook nearly 42,000 times. This pales into insignificance when compared to John Lewis, who in just a week garnered viewing figures of a scarcely believable 13.5 million, with Facebook shares of 154,000.

With not a single product advertised, the effect these adverts have on sales is incredible. John Lewis announced this week that its like for like sales for the first week of November were up 6%.  The retailer has a proud history of defying the credit crunch, posting positive festive figures every year since 2009.

Whilst these lavishly funded, sentimental adverts may be achievable for large companies with large budgets, smaller companies are having to get more creative. The irony of these messages is that whilst they may cost millions of pounds to produce, their greatest success comes from an (almost) completely free source, social media. Every retweet, share, view, comes at no cost to the retailer. Whilst their slots on television may cost the company, their online presence does not. Therefore, this is how smaller companies can succeed.

Ironically, while online shopping has for a long time been described as the end of the high street, online advertising may be what saves it. One of the greatest adverts to come out of last year’s Super Bowl was not the blockbuster Budweiser advert, but a tweet sent by Oreo. Quick thinking led to a simple quip being shared round the world over 20,000 times, garnered 525 million media impressions, even making Adweek’s top five ‘ads’ of the night. From this, the answer appears simple, use digital, save physical.

This week, Abchaps had a brilliant evening at the Nabarro London Wall launch. The evening kicked of with a fantastic cooking demonstration from Michelin Chef Michel Roux Jnr, along with magical entertainment.

Eversheds  appointed Cathryn Vanderspar, formally of Berwin Leighton Paisner, head of their London tax tea, whilst Mark Brown joined Westhouse Securities as executive chairman. Brown was previously chief executive of Collins Stewart Hawkpoint. Meanwhile, Pinsent Masons announced the appointment of Meriam Alrashid as an international arbitration partner in its global construction practice in London. A fluent Arabic speaker, she joins from Crowell & Moring. Finally, Walker Crips appointed Matt Ennion as Investment Director. He joins from Towry.

"Evangelism Marketing" - a form of word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM), in which companies established a loyal group of customers with strong belief in their products. These customers willingly and actively convince others to buy their products.

Enjoy some ice-skating in the beautiful splendour of Somerset House’s neoclassical courtyard. Then rest those sore legs (and bums) in the Skate Lounge for a well-deserved apr├Ęs-skate, where you can indulge in a cocktail, fondue or tasty treat (or all three)!

If you’re looking for something different, head along to the Hyper Japan Christmas Market at Olympia open this weekend only where you can immerse yourself in Japanese culture and find some interesting Christmas gifts for family and friends. Also at Olympia this weekend is the BBC Good Food Show which promises to be delicious!

The highly anticipated Regent Street Christmas lights switch-on will be taking place on Sunday. It's an evening of Christmas tunes, celebrity talent and fireworks. A London tradition since 1948, when the Regent Street Association first decorated the street with Christmas trees, the lacing of the street with lights marks the official countdown to Christmas day. The show will begin at 4pm with the switch on moment taking place at approximately 4.45pm.

And finally, for all those rugby enthusiasts, the Autumn Internationals continue on Saturday with the headline game, England vs South Africa kicking off at 2.30pm and Wales taking on Fiji at the same time. Scotland face the almighty New Zealand at 5.30pm and finally, Ireland play Georgia on Sunday at 2.30pm.

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