What is more festive than the heartwarming jingle of the John Lewis ad, the adventures of Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot and the twinkling Coca-Cola truck driving through your city with Santa himself, dressed in red? But how have these brands come to define our festive season?
The myth prevails that Coca-Cola is the reason Santa is dressed in red however this isn’t the case, older sources already have him dressed in red. Coca-Cola started using the image of jolly Santa dressed in their brand colours in the 1930s to encourage the cold drink to also be bought over the winter months.
Nearly 100 years later, Coca-Cola is seen as synonymous with Father Christmas. For many, seeing the huge red, lit-up drinks truck touring the country and TV marks the start of the festive season.
Coca-Cola’s uplifting Christmas advert this year shows an entire town of Santas, helping each other out when they need it, giving their last bottle of Coke to someone else. The Santas morph into regular people, with the moral we can all be Santas with the spirit of giving and sharing.
Kevin the Carrot: the modern-day Rudolph. Just as the reindeer was a loveably heartwarming character from a department store marketing stunt, so too is Kevin.
In 2016 baby Kevin began in Aldi’s Christmas advert, escaping the perils of the Christmas dinner table, only to be scooped up by a reindeer, narrowly escaping being eaten once again by being caught on its antler. The reindeer pulled the sleigh faster than ever that Christmas Eve as it fruitlessly attempted to nibble Kevin, just out of its reach. The advert is narrated in a rhythmic rhyme, reminiscent of the poem “‘Twas the night before Christmas”.
Each year people wait with festive anticipation for Kevin’s next adventure, waiting to see what entertaining, outlandish story Aldi will bring us next. Previous years have seen ‘Kevin in A Christmas Carrot’ alongside ‘Ebanana Scrooge’.
2023’s ad ‘Kevin and Christmas Factory’ has been named the most effective Christmas ad of the year by market research company System1. Kevin explores a magical land with William Conker, resisting all temptations to be selfish and instead sharing his prize – the true spirit of Christmas.
Carrots seem an obvious mascot choice when you consider they are a famous reindeer snack, as well as a snowman’s nose and a Christmas dinner side (sold in Aldi of course). Naturally, Kevin the Carrot and his friends come with an expansive product range, made exclusive with limited availability.
You can’t think of sitting down to watch a Christmas film without John Lewis’s Christmas ads coming on in between, pulling on your heartstrings and stealing the spotlight for itself.
Each year the department store chooses a new mascot, anything from a plant to a penguin, personifies it and transports its audience on a journey of unusual companionship. Together they overcome the feeling of being an outsider and how to be together at Christmas, no matter the differences. Their emotive tag lines include “For a Christmas as magical as your first” and “show them how much you care”.
What marketing strategy do they all have in common?
They all have a lot in common but fundamentally they tap into their audience’s emotions and transport people with feelings of nostalgia; warm fuzzy feelings of the excitement of Christmas as a child, bringing to life that belief that Santa’s real and anything’s possible.
They do this by telling a story. While they are all magical and fantastical, each campaign overcomes real-world problems and emotions, allowing you to connect with a carrot or a plant with a face. Each makes themselves a cultural icon of Christmas, encouraging you to their store or product, to buy something that gives you a slice of that Christmas spirit.
Read our next blog on: Successful PR campaigns – bClear Communications