John Lewis recently released its Disney-inspired Christmas ad. At the very beginning, the ad tells audiences “there once was an animal who had never seen Christmas”. The animal is a bear that always sleeps over the winter. His friend, a hare, wants him to see the beautiful Christmas tree and celebrate the big day with all his friends. The hare bought the bear an alarm clock as the Christmas gift. The bear was woken up by the alarm clock. He was just in time for the big celebration of Christmas. At last, the ad says, “give someone a Christmas they’ ll never forget”. (To view the ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqWig2WARb0)
Creativity makes a difference. In the fierce competition, only the ones with creative ideas can make consumers remember them. This time, John Lewis thinks outside the box. Its competitors, Marks & Spencer and Debenhams John, show the products that can make decent gifts in their ads, which are quire straightforward and predictable. John Lewis chose a different path. In the ad of bear and hare, John Lewis only shows one product, an alarm clock. John Lewis is not showcasing its products in the ad but conveying the message: the Christmas gifts from John Lewis gives the one you send the gift to a splendid memory. The positive association is constructed in consumers’ minds.
John Lewis’s marketing director Craig Inglis notes, “we are trying to do things differently and always trying to raise the bar.” John Lewis wants to add some playful elements to its ad. This time, it succeeded. The ad has created huge storm of intrigue on Twitter. The discussion of hare and bear puts a spotlight on John Lewis. Also, John Lewis has spent £6m on TV airtime and £1m on press, online media, cinema and events. John Lewis is making use of multimedia channels to make the bear and hare enter the public psyche.
The ad of bear and hare has attracted much attention. Inglis said that John Lewis intended to use the animation to say more about their products. He thought the story-telling approach was effective in making emotional connections between consumers and John Lewis. Indeed, the lovely story and delicately created animation caught consumers’ attention and created buzz. John Lewis successfully differentiated itself from its rivals, Marks & Spencer and Debenhams John.
However, the ad encountered critiques. Some people point out that the ad is not straightforward enough. The implicit information conveyed in this ad may not be fully understood by consumers. Therefore, the communication effects may not be as good as what John Lewis expected. Also, the cost of £7m is relatively high. People doubt that the money was not spent wisely.
Here I have three questions for you to discuss. First, do you like the ad? Second, do you think it has conveyed the information effectively? Third, is creativity always a good thing? Why or why not?
Butler, S. (2013). John Lewis pins Christmas hopes on £7m hare and bear advert. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/nov/08/department-stores-christmas-advertising-campaigns
Hawkes, S. (2013). John Lewis launches nationwide contest to find new voice for its Christmas ad. Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/10460348/bear-and-hare-best-Christmas-ads-Lily-Allen-John-Lewis-Christmas-adverts-Xmas-ads-Steve-Hawkes.html