Of BBQs, Basting and Bears: Lessons in the power of multi-channel storytelling from this year’s crop of festive campaigns

this week on the Addington Bugle-sponsored PHDcast we talk the future of retail and Christmas ads. obviously. it being five weeks(ish) out from the big day thoughts turn to Santa’s sack, goodwill amongst people, and GRPs – after all who wouldn’t want a healthy carryover of adstock into the week before Christmas.

and so it came to pass that this was the week that Aussie retailers launched the slings and arrows of their Chrimbo adverts. first up we have Coles and Woolies going head to head with Curtis Stone basting food porn in the red corner, and in the green corner newcomer Jamie Oliver throwing a BBQ for Aussies in London (a deliberate choice of location we’re sure).

meanwhile the department stores give us the art of giving from Myer and, well, I’m not sure what from David Jones (B&T go with ‘a DJ’s branded Christmas cracker exploding to reveal a colourful array of gifts’, which is good enough for me).

of course the daddy of Christmas ads is John Lewis, who (as you’ll already know as the YouTube video is past 6.1m views already) this year unleashed a Lily Allen soundtracked Disney-inspired tale of the Bear who gets woken by a Hare for Christmas.

its amazing. of course. but where John Lewis genuinely stands out is not the creative solution, but the media infrastructure build around their story. the Lily Allen soundtrack (which has the chance of keeping a reality-TV winner off the Chrimbo #1 spot), the interactive eBook narrated by Lauren Laverne, the digital Christmas card maker, and of course activation of the ideas in stores … all add up to a genuinely integrated effort to deploy a story into the pre-Christmas season rather than just an ad.

its a valuable and timely lesson in the power of story; told elegantly, across multiple platforms, both broadcast and demanded, which stretches from awareness and salience all the way through to retail engagement – and all without a hero product shot in sight.

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