Since the Coronavirus pandemic hit Britain back in March, the public has grown used to a constant stream of press conferences, government messaging, and ever-changing advice. A new campaign however, launched by the British Retail Consortium and independent agency Five by Five, sees a new spokesperson take to the lectern - as Santa Claus himself makes an appearance with an urgent early Christmas message.
The tongue-in-cheek campaign draws attention to the new approaches shoppers will have to consider when working through their Christmas lists this year, adding a festive twist to the government slogans and set-ups we’ve all grown familiar with. As Coronavirus remains a major presence in our daily lives, this will be a Christmas period like no other. The usual last-minute rushes and busy shopping centres, combined with social distancing measures, present a novel problem for shop staff, delivery drivers, warehouse workers, and suppliers - with the safety of everyone involved a top priority.
The campaign is led by a striking print ad that sees Santa Claus standing at his lectern, addressing the nation. Surrounded by festive elements including Christmas wreaths, mince pies, and milk, the image is reflective of another set up used to share important information to the public - from the wood-cladded walls right down to the three-pronged slogan.
Five by Five were thus brought on board to pull off a campaign that was both instantly recognisable and clear in its messaging. Whilst taking inspiration from 10 Downing Street’s press conferences, the agency was careful to ensure the familiar location and festive additions didn’t detract from the key message of the campaign.
Ravi Beeharry and Andy Mancuso, Creative Directors at Five by Five, comment: “This was a really interesting brief for us, as it was all about striking the perfect balance between a recognisable, topical reference and serious advice about the upcoming Christmas period. We had loads of ideas and options coming into the project, from different slogans to additional festive elements in Santa’s HQ, but ultimately we wanted to create a clear, simple campaign that avoided both overly comedic or alarmist sentiments - really cutting through to the key message.”
Alongside the print and DOOH, the campaign messaging will be reinforced with a 30-second radio spot. Performed in the style of an urgent government appeal, Santa addresses the nation to say that he and his elves have been working early this year to ensure they maintain all possible safety measures. Reminding the British public of all those in the retail, manufacturing, and delivery sectors that will be affected by shopping habits this year, he ends his message with a call to ‘shop early, start wrapping, and enjoy Christmas’.”
Stephen Bethel, Corporate Affairs Director, at the British Retail Consortium comments: “This is a really unique campaign as it touches on something that, even a year ago, we never thought would be an issue. With everyone used to last-minute shopping trips and crowded stores, we wanted to draw attention to these changing times and the risks we face if we don’t act early, using imagery and messaging we’ve all become familiar with. It’s been a bit of a tough year for the British public, but Santa’s address to the nation shows that we can still enjoy Christmas, even if things are a little different.”
The campaign launched on Sunday 18th October, and also includes online and DOOH executions alongside print and radio.