A large supermarket retailer in the UK released its latest holiday ad offering this week to much fanfare. The one key difference for this campaign is that they released it ENTIRELY via digital media.
In the first week of the Sainsbury’s online video being available its racked up over 1m views alone on You Tube and over 1m views on Facebook. Its lo fi “non ad” production quality and cultural nods to the popularity of dubstep in the UK are helping to make it a viral success and gain traction during a busy and noisy ad period.
The trend for retailers to create elaborate holiday campaigns isn’t a new one nor is it showing any signs of slowing down but what’s interesting is the shift from creating heartfelt TV ads with a social effort on the side to full scale digital focused marketing campaigns where TV is only a part of the story.
The fact is that digital ad spending is on the rise whilst TV ad spending slows down. According to the Wall Street Journal and Magna Global “Mobile and social media were the primary drivers behind digital media’s 17% growth in ad dollars this year” The firm expects global digital revenues to reach 30% of total ad revenues in 2015, and to catch up with television in 2019.” These figures have a massive impact for brands and agencies who are not focusing their creative attention and ad budgets on the digital space and creating immersive brand experiences.
Ads have to work harder than ever nowadays to have impact, be more viral and likeable in order to deliver returns to marketers. This time of year in particular makes standing out hard. The more brands invest in sharing emotional stories that can resonate with an audience on a multitude of levels and platforms the more success will be found. We already know from research that emotional and positive stories are shared more frequently than negative ones – its one of the major factors in getting content to go viral.
Take John lewis for example and their recently debuted “Monty the Penguin” Holiday Ad. This tearjerker of a campaign was akin to that of a movie production with a budget of over $7m, teaser trailers, a hit soundtrack featuring a young up and coming artist, a primetime TV spot (and ensuing feature on a hit tv show) and a supportive outdoor campaign. However the agency chose to debut the concept via twitter, which had the #montythepenguin trending and captured peoples attention before the ad had even aired and as a result drove increased interest in the brand, the penguin’s profile on twitter now has over 32k followers actively engaging with the brand character.
This digital juggernaut of a campaign barely mentions the brand and isn’t promotional at all, yet it has a reach that is currently sitting at over 19m views on You Tube, 150k likes and 159k shares on Facebook. Many stores have sold out of the accompanying merchandise (another play taken from the movie studios) because really, who doesn’t want a cute fluffy toy penguin for Christmas? The proof is in the pudding – sales for the retailer are up YOY by 5.1% and 17% online giving it a great start to the holiday trading season.
Now there’s no doubt John Lewis has seen such huge success because it fully invested all its marketing and $ resources into this campaign. They didn’t just make a cute ad, post it online and hope it would go viral for their brand – they created a full 360 digital marketing campaign that supported and promoted the brand message at every possible turn – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Social advertising, You Tube, outdoor, PR, TV, charity partnerships, and in-store merchandise too. This was a carefully thought out and well executed campaign.
In summary the delivery of great content and sharing it online is only the beginning of a successful digital campaign, brands need to think about, and have answers too, the bigger questions. Why would a consumer care about this content? Why would they want to share and engage with it? How can I make this a seamless and enjoyable experience for them? Investing in creating a full 360 marketing & advertising strategy that not only answers these questions but supports the content with marketing spend and sales promotion is the key to making an even bigger impact – no matter the time of year but especially during the holiday’s.