Keeping the Focus Human – Morrisons and McDonald’s
Christmas in Britain is a time for giving, and for partying, and family, and who knows – you might even fit a bit of religion in there too. But as far as Britain’s supermarkets are concerned, it’s above all a time for eating.
Festive feasts have always figured in Christmas advertising, of course. But with Christmas ads getting more media spotlight than ever, and with pressure to compete with the “big guns” like John Lewis and M&S, supermarkets and restaurants face a new dilemma. How do you showcase your festive food and also make your advertising emotional?
The fact is, there’s only so much you can do with straightforward food advertising. Aesthetic pleasure can be a big driver of happiness, so lovingly basted turkeys and juicy puds have a part to play in driving emotion at Christmas, but in our experience there’s usually a ceiling food ads hit. To get within reach of 4- or 5-Stars, you have to go a little further, injecting comedy, sentiment or drama into the ad.
This year’s UK Christmas ads have some great examples of brands doing just that. In particular, Morrisons and McDonald’s produced ads that make a point about the brand’s product range while keeping the focus very human.
McDonalds’ “Reindeer Ready” ad showcases a surprising part of the fast food chain’s menu – its bags of carrot sticks. Despite selling the vegetable snacks for decades, they’ve rarely been the focus of its marketing. But this bold choice pays off, with a strong 3-Star ad for McDonalds about a girl clutching her carrot stick because she’s saving it for Santa’s reindeer. It’s a simple story – perhaps too simple to fill its 90 seconds, with some viewers complaining the ad was too long. Far more thought it was cute and Christmassy though, and it comes tantalisingly close to the 4-Star boundary.