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Has Christmas Come Too Soon? What is the ROI on TV Christmas ads?

As a consumer and TV viewer, I can say that although it is barely mid-November I am already heartily sick of the Christmas ads that seem to fill every commercial break on every TV channel. I only watch TV for a few hours each evening and yet already one happy-family-Christmas-scene seems to merge seamlessly with another. Thanks to current technology I can pause &/or fast-forward these ads, now that the novelty of flying fairies and Joules Holland have worn off. Consumer rant over!
However, as a professional marketer I have to challenge the ROI of these expensively-produced & extortionately-aired ads. I have no stats to back up anything I am about to say and I have no direct experience of retail marketing! So if you are hoping to read an ‘academic’ article full of verified stats, you may want to stop reading now! But if you’d like to read the thoughts of a very experienced marketer, on a very topical marketing issue, then read on…..
There are many things in marketing that you simply can’t afford not to do. If all your competitors are visible on a certain platform, you may get overlooked by consumers if you are not present. And I am sure there is a degree of that when it comes to retailers’ Christmas ads on TV. There is also a degree of one-upmanship in these lavish productions. A lot of these ads do touch the heart strings, they are entertaining and they certainly engage emotionally with the viewer/consumer. But do they make financial sense? Do they make us go to a different retailer to buy our Christmas presents? Do they make us do our food shopping at a completely different supermarket to the one we use year-round? Do they actually make us spend more? Or buy more lavish gifts for our friends & family? Do they make us spend a fortune to try and recreate the lavish display of food we see families enjoying on our TV screens? I bet, that like me, you are muttering ‘no’ or ‘I doubt it’ to yourself.
Those with a strong loyalty to any of the brands will no doubt love their Christmas ad. With those brands you feel no connection with, you may still like their Christmas ad, but will you change your shopping habits on the back of it? I doubt it.
Even those price-led booze ads probably just make the competitive retailers reduce their prices in line, so it is a win-win for the consumer, but achieves nothing for the retailers.
I suspect that these ads actually have a very negative & depressing effect on a significant percentage of the UK’s population. They depict huge happy family gatherings, when so many people spend Christmas alone. They show homes that are so plush and lavishly decorated with 20ft Christmas trees, that bear no resemblance to the average UK semi. They show people living a lifestyle that is so beyond the means of the average family.
So, in summary, as a consumer I am already weary of the Christmas ads on TV and as a marketer I challenge whether these costly productions produce an ROI.
All the above views are my own!

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This entry was posted on November 13, 2014 by and tagged , , , .

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