With Christmas less than two weeks away, it’s the busiest time of the year for brands and retailers. For adland, it’s a time to see the fruits of a long hard slog – and figure out what has worked and what hasn’t. LBB caught up with four agencies to find out which trends have been firing up the festive season. (Clockwise from top Sharon Napier, John Coleman, Peter Hempel, Tom Denari)
John Coleman, CEO, The VIA Agency
"The biggest trend that I've noticed coming out of this holiday season is the end of ‘Cyber Monday’ as we know it. Now marketers think 'Cyber December’ and e-commerce deals continue until just before Christmas (with overnight shipping, naturally). This time of year used to be a chance to take kids to the mall to meet Santa, check out beautiful store windows and displays, and enjoy the general merriment of the season. Now door buster deals have made holiday shopping a competitive sport that has forced the less intense shoppers to turn their attention online. If retailers continue to ignore the importance of making holiday shopping a fun experience, I expect to see the importance of Cyber December grow over the next few years."
Peter Hempel, President and CEO, DDB New York
"In addition to a robust cross channel marketing effort, mobile and tablet advertising are paramount this holiday season. Tablet, smartphone and mobile Internet users are increasing exponentially. Shoppers mainly use smartphones as ‘shopper assistants’ to aid their shopping experience via directions and store locator tools, and they tend to use tablets to make actual purchases. The chances are that your consumer has used internet, your store, their iPhone and iPad before they conclude their holiday gift shopping, and marketers need to have a plan that considers consumers who are very comfortable working cross-channel."
Tom Denari, President, Young & Laramore
"Most holiday ads appear to ignore the fact that every other ad within a commercial pod will also have a holiday theme, which results in a cacophony of Black Friday clichés, Cyber Monday jokes, rewritten lyrics of every familiar Christmas carol, and scene after scene of children and adults opening gifts under the tree. What marketers should understand is that at this time of year, ads that don't use a holiday theme are actually the ones that stick out. The holiday theme is generally used as a crutch for a product or a brand that doesn't have anything more interesting to say. If an ad is unique and connects on a human level, it will break through the clutter of Christmas carols and under-the-tree scenes."
Sharon Napier, CEO of Partners + Napier, A Project:WorldWide Agency
“Some people think shopper marketing is a simple science: stock things at eye level, throw a big ‘SALE’ sign up, and wait for the cash registers to ring, right? But, in reality, the purchase decision is a complicated and mysterious process. Almost all shopper purchase decisions are made subconsciously. Shoppers can't articulate why they bought something, so it can be challenging for brands to communicate with consumers at the point of purchase. We've found that the key, especially during the cluttered holiday shopping season, is stories.
“If we can get people to tell stories about their experiences with brands, we can usually determine what their emotional connection is to those brands, and what their triggers are - the emotions that drive them to add to their shopping cart. The holidays are a particularly interesting time because these emotional triggers become much stronger. People are buying for their loved ones with great purpose - not only because they care deeply about the person they're shopping for, but because the eventual purchase reflects back on them. A gift says something about the giver. So brands that tell stories using relevant emotional triggers will be more successful during the holiday shopping season.”