As I’m sure we are all aware the new John Lewis Xmas advert has been released recently, causing a flurry of positive Xmas sentiment that will no doubt consume our social media timelines for the next week or so.
So what’s so good about it? How do they manage to be such a huge success year after year? The £7 million budget might well be a large contributing factor but from a content marketing point of view there’s something more to it all.
Firstly John Lewis have a crystal clear definition of who they are trying to target with such a campaign. Not only do they know who they are, they also understand the emotions of that persona and have researched thoroughly what makes them tick. Then you look at platform promotion, yes it’s primarily a TV ad but we all know that’ TV isn’t the ceiling for a campaign such as this. During the first 8 hours their Facebook post alone drew 62,638 shares and the Youtube version of the ad saw over 800,000 views in the same small space of time. The publicity they achieve year after year from sites such as Huffington post, Guardian and the Telegraph are all highly relevant links when it comes to their target market.
The stats are clear and they’ll be talked about to death by marketers over the next month or so but then there’s the intangible metrics, brand affinity et al. This is where John Lewis really hit the nail on the head year after year, so much so that their promotion across digital platforms probably takes care of itself. The John Lewis advertisement isn’t really an advertisement, not in the traditional sense anyway, it’s advertising an experience by telling a story and it’s a seductive formula. After 60 years of advertising people have grown immune to it and the yearly John Lewis story comes as a welcomed break from the usual dross that’s thrown at us throughout the year – we want more of an experience.
It also follows another Content marketing principle and that’s longevity, after 8 years it’s almost become a Christmas institution, it gets more buzz than some movie releases! It’s a continuous campaign that drives an almost insane amount of brand awareness without even mentioning a John Lewis product. Here’s a look at how other campaigns are performing in terms of their virality vs approach.
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A more cynical marketer might just say that the adverts perform well simply because they have an animal or a child alongside a rehash of a popular song. 5 minutes on Facebook will tell you that people love to share things to do with animals and children….