Digital and Christmas advertising - have we missed a trick?

Sainsbury's: Christmas campaign driven by TV advertising
Sainsbury's: Christmas campaign driven by TV advertising

Christmas remains a TV-themed obsession for marketers, writes Dan Northover, digital design director at Partners Andrews Aldridge.

Every November we’re bombarded by the latest Christmas ads from retailers and brands aiming to instil in us that warm fuzzy feeling in time for the festive period.

And as the nationals and trade press pour over each new ad, what’s apparent is that in an age where digital advertising is supposed to reign supreme, TV advertising at Christmas remains the first priority.

Switch on primetime TV and you’ll be inundated with Christmas messages, but go on-line and you’d be mistaken for thinking that Christmas wasn’t just around the corner. This November there seems to be a complete digital silence when it comes to Christmas display advertising, and for me I think it’s a missed opportunity.

Have retailers and marketers forgotten about the rise in dual screening?

For instance, if I go to MSN or TheGuardian.com at the moment I struggle to find any Christmas themed ads. Is ad re-targeting so good now that I’m destined to only see very un-festive ad’s for things like life insurance?  Or is it simply that Christmas just comes to TV earlier than the internet?

Have retailers and marketers forgotten about the rise in dual screening? Whilst watching the box, consumers will often be texting, tweeting or browsing through content online – so it makes sense for Christmas ads to start online at the same time as we see them on TV.

Try to remember the last great bit of Christmas digital work and you’ll struggle to think of anything that hasn’t been led by TV advertising. Even Sainsbury’s recent #ChristmasInADay online video campaign is driven by television.

I’m sure you’ll be as intrigued as I am to find that you can download a John Lewis Bear & Hare interactive ebook via the online site. Something that isn’t advertised on TV, and we’re yet to see an online ad for.

These are all great digital touches – but in order to find out about their existence, it requires you to have seen the ad on TV and proactively go to the retailer’s website or follow their hashtag on twitter. Wouldn’t it be great if next November that first warm festive feeling was felt when you picked up your phone rather than turning on the telly.

This article was first published on The Wall Blog

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