The Mancunion

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Why are Christmas adverts so effective?

Everyone loves Christmas adverts and can’t wait to watch them when they air on TV. Here’s Araddhna Patel on the potential reasons behind their success

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You’ve all seen and know them well; John Lewis’ ‘The Long Wait’, ‘The Journey’, ‘Monty the Penguin’, and ‘The Man on the Moon’, or Sainsbury’s ‘Christmas is for Sharing’ and ‘Mog’s Christmas Calamity’. Even the Cristina Yang’s amongst us can’t help but shed a tear or ten when watching the young boy — who even eats his peas! — finally give presents to his parents after a long and very impatient wait, or when the German soldier finds the chocolate bar in his pocket. But why exactly are these adverts so effective?

Firstly, notice how the adverts make you feel excited for Christmas. They don’t focus on trying to sell their products to their viewers, but more on the emotion and message behind the advert. Certain adverts genuinely remind you of what it feels like to be a little kid at Christmas time, and others just warm the cockles of your heart. The themes of each advert focus on what really matters, especially during Christmas time, such as sharing, family, and spreading joy. By using these techniques, companies like John Lewis are reigniting the hype around Christmas — not literally, though, as we wouldn’t want the snow to melt.

Another reason why Christmas adverts are so successful is the music. I’ll admit, I’d never heard ‘The Power of Love’ by Gabrielle Aplin until John Lewis’ infamous snowman-travels-far-and-wide-to-find-perfect-gift-for-girlfriend advert first aired. The music is used with the hopes that the song will stick in your head, which it always does. I went so far as to look for the song online and download it, finding some interesting facts along the way. How many people know that Gabrielle Aplin only covered this song, and that it was originally performed by Frankie Goes To Hollywood? Or even Ellie Goulding’s Your Song? — It’s a cover version of Elton John’s. In any case, viewers are able to connect with the advert by watching it and listening to it.

Finally, we have to consider how much money is spent on each advert. John Lewis in particular spends an awfully large amount of money and time on their adverts. It took nine months for Monty the penguin to be animated to perfection, and approximately £7 million to do it. In total, The Independent suggested an estimated £5.6 billion would be spent on marketing around Christmas this year, and that figure will probably rise annually. With so much being spent, it’s no wonder these adverts are so successful.

The twists and turns that the emotional journey that is watching a Christmas advert takes you on truly does get you enthusiastic about Christmas. I guess it’s true what they say, even if I do paraphrase a little — ‘Tis the season to sob relentlessly at Christmas adverts on the telly. Fa la la la la, la la la la.