Farmer Christmas Is Effective And Efficient For Morrisons


Farmer Christmas


When we talk about Christmas ads, we tend to focus on the big, full-length, big-budget work that sits at the centre of a campaign. But of course there’s far more to a successful Christmas ad than that.

The classic 60 second hero ad is only half the story. It’s supported by a host of other work – “trading ads” (shorter edits from the main ad); static ads; in-store work and the huge range of digital executions. This stuff – the nuts and bolts of a Christmas campaign – is as if not more important than the main ad, even if that’s what gets more press and public attention, because it’s usually where the bulk of the media spend goes.

So it’s great to be able to celebrate Morrison’s “Farmer Christmas” campaign with Publicis Poke, an idea explicitly built to work across shorter formats and multiple versions. Like any advertiser in a time of inflation – and like all Morrison’s customers! – the brand is having to do more with less: make budgets stretch further as costs rise. A flexible campaign that fits well into multiple lengths and formats is a great way to achieve efficiency without compromising on effectiveness, and that’s what “Farmer Christmas” has achieved.

A lot of multi-format campaigns suffer, though, because that central work isn’t strong enough to spark much of an emotional response. Morrisons had to get the hero ad right for the rest to work. Fortunately, they did. Their Farmer Christmas character debuted last year in one of 2021’s best Christmas ads – a magical spot which served as an introduction to a simple and neat concept. Just as Father Christmas is in charge of presents, so Farmer Christmas is responsible for Christmas food.

The character makes sense for Morrisons, which promotes its partnerships with British farmers and leans strongly on food provenance as a differentiator. This year’s ad puts Farmer Christmas firmly at the centre, with a to-camera narrative as he rides around on his Christmas tractor and spotlights some of Morrisons’ festive food range. With only the Farmer as a linking device, it’s tailor made for editing and for shorter versions which manage to preserve the emotional effect of the character – something ads which rely for impact on storytelling can struggle with.

This flexibility was borne out in our results. The full-length “Farmer Christmas 2022” ad matched Morrison’s 2021 performance with a strong 4.7-Star Rating. But the shorter “trading” ad version went even higher to 4.9-Stars, and it was in fact the best performing of any of the shortened trading ad versions we tested. Since the trading ads attract so much investment, this is a major achievement by Morrison’s. Farmer Christmas is a character which unlocks both effectiveness and efficiency for the brand.

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