Move Over Black Friday, Cyber Monday is Here

By Kelly Gerrish

Whether you’re looking to check off gifts for those on your Christmas list or score some new technology for yourself at a serious discount, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the retail holidays for you.

Nowadays it’s difficult to tell when Black Friday ends and Cyber Monday begins. But it’s not that important to differentiate among them anyway. Now that practically everything is offered online, is there really a reason to brave the cold and the flying elbows?

It was a black Friday for the UK high street, as the predicted repeat of last year’s in-store chaos failed to materialise. Instead a change in consumer buying behaviour saw shoppers flock online for their shopping. Discounts of up to 60% resulted in the UK’s first £1 billion day online, with Amazon reporting a record 86 sales per second.

The added benefit of Cyber Monday being payday for many leaves them poised to splash the cash now rather than on Friday. Indeed, Cyber Monday sales are expected to bring in another £943m, up 31% from last year.

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For some, Cyber Monday offers the exact same benefits as Black Friday – without the hassle. The increase in mobile devices means price comparison has never been easier, with other retailers just a click away. Surely it’s worth opting for the comfy sofa instead of the crowded shopping centre where you can’t even get a parking space…

Is this Spanish Christmas advert the best ever?

By Kelly Gerrish

So it isn’t just John Lewis who like to make us cry in the run up to Christmas. Tugging at the heartstrings transcends the language barrier in this advert for the Spanish lottery currently taking the internet by storm.

The Pixar Up!-style animation shows a lonely security guard, Justino, whose night shifts mean his human contact is minimal. His only interaction is with the mannequins he pretends to play football with, and even feeds his tea to at one point. He sets up a series of thoughtful surprises for his colleagues to brighten their days when they get into work the next morning, but his lonely night routine means he receives no recognition.

But that all changes when the lottery syndicate he’s set up comes up trumps, and he is welcomed onto his next shift by his colleagues.

While the message of ‘you’ll have plenty of friends once you’ve won the lottery’ is more than a little flawed, the advert manages to give you that warm glow we normally reserve for John Lewis’ festive offering. The message is similar too – giving time to lonely people to ensure they don’t spend Christmas alone.

John Lewis, Spain may have just stolen your crown this year.

John Lewis Puts a Man on the Moon

By Kelly Gerrish

Christmas excitement is no longer characterised by the race to the Christmas Number One. Instead, it’s a British department store’s festive TV offering that kickstarts the countdown to Christmas.

A lonely old man living on the moon is the unlikely focus of this year’s eagerly awaited John Lewis Christmas ad, as the department store puts a charitable spin on its latest multi-million pound campaign.

After two years of successful ads featuring cuddly animals – The Bear and the Hare, and penguins Monty and Mabel – this year the retailer is tugging at the heartstrings. Set to the Oasis track Half the World Away, it tells the story of a young girl, Lily, who spots an old man living on his own on the moon through her telescope. Concerned that he will spend Christmas alone, she finds a way to send him the perfect gift.

The strapline ‘Show someone they’re loved this Christmas’ reinforces Age UK’s message that ‘No one should have no one at Christmas.’

The advert reveal has come to signify the start of the Christmas shopping season for many. This year John Lewis is moving away from promoting its own product range, aiming instead to use the hype to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for Age UK. Profits from three products – a mug, gift tag and card – will go to the charity.

The retailer has spent £7m on its festive campaign, The Man in the Moon. As well as the TV ad, there’s also a smartphone game, merchandise including glow in the dark pyjamas, and 11 stores will feature areas decked out like the surface of the moon.

The launch of the ad has become a major event on the marketing calendar. Each year John Lewis has to meet (and preferably surpass) the expectations of a public obsessed with the ad like no other.

Rachel Swift, Head of Marketing at John Lewis, says that despite the hype increasing year on year, the retailer had stuck to the same strategy for the last five years. “It’s all about thoughtful gifting and going the extra mile for someone you love at Christmas,” she said. “We don’t go into it thinking, ‘This is going to be huge,’ just getting something right for the brand at this time of year and something we hope customers really love.”

13 million views 10 days after launch says that once again, John Lewis has hit the spot.

Creative Review

By Kelly Gerrish

As a creative agency, we’re well versed in the creative review process.

Many companies take a “too many cooks” approach when assessing creative. Everyone has an opinion, and these are often subjective. If you try to accommodate everyone’s individual opinions, you can easily lose sight of what’s really important – why you’re doing it in the first place. The end audience should be at the forefront of every creative review, but it sometimes get drowned out by the noise of differing stakeholder opinions.

Setting the parameters of the creative review are just as important as the creative itself. The most talented design team in the world will deliver mediocre work if you don’t carefully manage the review stage.

Combining a vague creative brief with a large review team can be a recipe for disaster.

This parody video shows the dynamic of having too many creative reviewers in the kitchen.