0 comments on “Battle of the Christmas ads: Why John Lewis won our hearts”

Battle of the Christmas ads: Why John Lewis won our hearts

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You know it’s nearly Christmas when all the major retailers try to win hearts and minds by unveiling their much-anticipated festive ad and PR campaigns! Retailers are well aware of the immense power of utilising emotion as a persuasion technique, and that often, emotion triumphs over logic. So how do retailers and their PR and Advertising companies use an emotional pull to persuade us to invest in them and purchase their products?

Emotion Wins

The phrases, ‘go with your gut’ or ‘follow your heart’ are often quoted flippantly but there is now substantial evidence to support the role that emotion plays in decision making. Antonio Damasio’s clinical studies of brain lesions demonstrated that patients were unable to make decisions when the area responsible for emotion was impaired. Often, seemingly logical decisions will have an emotional influence.

This concept is reflected in the 2016 ad campaigns, which tug on the emotional heart strings to provide an uplifting message, with many ads using ordinary people, as opposed to celebrity endorsements and real-life situations to be more relatable to consumers.

We have collated and dissected the top, most influential 2016 Christmas ad campaigns and looked at how they have used emotion to win us over!

The Power of PR & Social Media

Boots – Gift of Christmas

Although Christmas is a time for family, the Boots ad exposes the sheer number of women, nearly half a million, who work hard in numerous roles throughout the Christmas period, from retail to the emergency services. The ad draws on the emotional roots of the ‘forgotten’ workers, many of whom work throughout the night to ensure trains & emergency services run smoothly over the festive season, and, thus, deserve to be pampered. Offering ‘the gift of beauty’ workers are transformed from their everyday uniforms to looking beautiful in Boots products. A big change from last year’s product emphasis, 2016’s ad campaign focuses on the concept of celebrating workers who give so much of themselves to the community and ‘sacrifice Christmas day’, which no doubt will resonate with many.

Marks&Spencer – Mrs Claus

The second most talked about Christmas ad campaign features Mrs Claus, showcasing her story and her dedication to sourcing presents to individuals loved ones. Unlike Santa, Mrs Claus listens to children who need presents for other people, such as Jake who, despite their love hate relationship, wants to provide his sister with a thoughtful present to show his appreciation. Instead of a sleigh, Mrs Claus travels in style delivering presents in a helicopter. Capitalising on the magic of Santa and his wife, this advert successfully appeals to kids, and also to parents who understand the stress and importance of having a smooth-running Christmas. In addition to the advert, M&S are utilising PR to spread the word of #LoveMrsClaus, with ‘Mrs Claus’ taking over M&S’s twitter account and, stated in Marketing Week, an army of ‘Mrs Claus’ will be in stores offering free presents as random acts of kindness.

John Lewis – #BusterTheBoxer

In my opinion, this ad campaign has won the battle of the Christmas ads, especially considering the overwhelming use of the #BusterTheBoxer hashtag on all forms of social media and 15 million plus views on YouTube alone. This year John Lewis’ heart-warming ad featuring the adorable Buster dog communicated a great sense of happiness. This was a refreshing change from last years tear-jerker ‘Man on the Moon’ advert in collaboration with Age UK, which sought to raise awareness of how lonely the elderly can be at Christmas. Despite a chaotic 2016 with Brexit, this funny, light-hearted advert showing Buster and the rest of the animals’ joy in trying the trampoline helped uplift the nations spirits. Witnessing the excitement on the young girls face on the eve of Christmas and on first sight of her present, brings back nostalgic moments of the real magic of Christmas, successfully associating it with John Lewis.

 

So there you have it, the lowdown on how emotion impacts adverts, sales and business in every sense, highlighting the importance of being personable and resonating with your target audience.

As a specialist agency, we understand how vital these concepts are when instigating effective PR and marketing campaigns.

At brookscomm we have over 20 years of PR & marketing expertise and a proven track record of success. We can aid you and your business, call us on 01483 537 890 or, alternatively, email us hello@brookscomm.com

Follow: Twitter@PRexpertsUK  Linkedin:brookscomm Website:www.brookscomm.com

1 comment on “Advertising is what you pay for but publicity is what you pray for!”

Advertising is what you pay for but publicity is what you pray for!

Getting positive media brand coverage was recently rated as a priority business objective by tech PR & Marketing professionals in our survey.

This comes as no surprise as tech businesses can achieve rapid growth when their target customers are made aware of the benefits of their products and services. New consumer technology is desired by trend setters and new technology in the business sector can provide customers with substantial cost and time savings.

So, how does a business go about promoting itself to the media and potential clients? With this and other questions I decided to ask Mandy Brooks, our strategy director, and Alison Scarrot, Media Relations Account Manager at brookscomm:

What’s the difference in practice between PR and advertising? Which do you think is more effective?

Mandy says: ”Advertising is what you pay for, publicity is what you pray for.”

img_1264_lr-minThere are many articles and opinions on this but put simply, Advertising is paid media, public relations is earned media.

There are of course many opinions on which is best and in what measure but I like the thinking of Steve Cody of Inc. magazine , also quoted in Forbes, who notes: “Countless studies report that, next to word-of-mouth advice from friends and family, editorial commentary (usually generated by your friendly, behind-the-scenes PR practitioner) carries far more weight than advertising.”

“It’s not difficult to understand why,” Cody says. “Advertising continues to embrace an antiquated, top-down, inside-out way of communicating. It reflects senior management’s view on what a consumer or business-to-business buyer should think is important. PR, on the other hand, depends upon listening to the conversation and understanding the who, what, when, where, why and how of engaging in the discussion. Public relations executives excel in storytelling and, typically, present a perceived problem (i.e. childhood obesity) and their client’s unique solution (i.e. a new type of fitness equipment designed by, and for, pre-teens).”

Alison adds: “In practical terms, PR is content in the form of a story or news article that a media editor deems timely, relevant and newsworthy to the audience. When printed or posted, it is perceived as a trusted third-party endorsement of a brand. Whereas advertising is the method of paying the publication to ensure a brands messaging will be included. Through advertising, brands can control the exact wording and image of their brand and it’s guaranteed exposure.

However, advertising is always perceived as a company endorsing itself and therefore has less credibility than PR.  In our experience a combination of both is very effective and maximises the reach and credibility of the brand but if I had to choose, I would say that PR is more effective as its more sincere and relevant to the reader. And also because people are accustomed to glancing over advertising.

How can the results of media relations be measured?

There are different ways to measure the impact of media relations.

Mandy notes: “We always provide details of the circulation and readership figures for publications plus the demographics of the reader where this information is available. Although we can’t be sure that everyone who looks at a newspaper or website reads in detail, this gives us a good guide to how many people have had your story put in front of them. We work closely on the right messaging with our clients, ensuring that we include information that resonates with the target audiences. We measure how often these messages are included in PR coverage.”

Alison adds: “A good specific example highlighting how our tech PR campaigns measurably and successfully bring in leads is that we work with some specialist tech businesses whose products are featured in trade publications. In the articles we have published there are reference codes for interested parties to quote if they enquire about the products. Our customers have been very happy with the sales from these enquiries. We provide all of our clients with monthly reports on media inclusion, from these they can see a correlation between media coverage and traffic to their websites. We encourage all our clients to ask where leads heard about them. It’s always nice to hear during review meetings that a client has converted a lead that PR coverage has generated for them!

If I was to consider hiring a Tech PR agency how can I tell if it is good?

alisonAlison says: “Domain expertise is vital when it comes to appraising agencies. If the agency doesn’t understand the product or the industry it may struggle. Likewise, if the agency doesn’t have media contacts with relevant publications, it might not be able to get the brand noticed effectively by the publications and the target audiences and potential customers the client is looking to engage.

Clients should look and ask for testimonials and examples of work to gauge the suitability of an agency. Other factors to consider include how long the agency has been in business and its size.

The most important factor to consider is the strength of the relationship with the account manager you’ll be working with. With some larger agencies, it’s possible that the senior person you meet with won’t be working on your account, this can cause misunderstandings and quality issues.”

What changes in trends have you noticed in Media Relations during your career?

Alison says: “When I started my career the Internet didn’t exist! We relied on print and post for correspondence with journalists and clients which although slow, certainly made life simpler in some ways! The advent of digital technologies has vastly widened the range of media publications and the potential reach of our clients’ brand and messages. The old forms of media (print, radio, TV) have diversified which has provided us with further possibilities with digital publications and the opportunity to harness the power of blogging and online reviews to promote products and services.

The variety of media formats available now is amazing and provides so many more opportunities, although with so many options, it can sometimes be a challenge to determine which publications to target. This is where knowing the publications in detail and understanding your client’s products and objectives comes into play.

Digitisation has also had a significant impact when it comes to influencing journalists. An editor recently told me he receives over 2000 PR requests each day. This means we need to produce articles for clients which are clear, concise relevant, attention-grabbing and newsworthy. When you are writing about complex technology this is even more important.

Mandy adds: “I’ve also seen client’s expectations change, especially during the last 5 or so years. Clients need a more strategic service which aligns with their business objectives and provides measurable results.  They like it that we’re able to integrate media relations, PR and digital marketing services. For us this has made the role more strategic and entrepreneurial, more measurable and more enjoyable.

More than ever, we feel that we are a vital part of our clients team, very much focused on achieving business outcomes for each  individual client by utilising a specifically tailored integration of PR, marketing and lead generation services to achieve the best results.”

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1 comment on “Social Media & Digital Marketing Glossary”

Social Media & Digital Marketing Glossary

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Clueless on SEO, unsure of whether you should #FF or scratching your head at the prospect of writing a meta description? Fear not, as we have compiled the ultimate jargon free Social Media and Digital Marketing glossary, ensuring you have a better understanding of these rather technical terms! With Social Media & Digital Marketing becoming more useful and influential, it’s worth keeping up-to-date on these concepts!

Breadcrumbs – A navigation trail for somebody who visits your website, giving direction of how to return to the homepage from any given page, e.g. Homepage>About Us>Careers.

Direct Message (DM’s) – A method of contacting privately other Twitter users, often only achieved if there’s a mutual follow, yet, depending on privacy settings this isn’t always the case.

Embedding – incorporating an external web link into your digital platform which displays content from a different location. i.e. a video from YouTube, slides from SlideShare video or photo which is hosted outside of your publishing platform.

Engagement rate –  a metric which shows the number of interactions with your digital content, i.e. visiting a webpage, clicking on a link, expanding a photo, likes, retweets, commenting: interacting in general. The higher the metric, the better the content!

Geotag – Twitter & Instagram allow people to ‘tag’ or pinpoint a location e.g. London, which involves the directional coordinates to be attached to content like a picture.

GIF – aka Graphics Interchange Format, a series of pictures or animation/clips from movies used to illustrate an emotion or even in response to a live event.

HTML – ‘Hypertext mark-up language’, programming language used to build and edit a website.

Impressions – the number of times content is viewed without it necessarily being searched or even clicked on.

Live streaming & live tweeting – delivering content over the internet in real-time, i.e. Periscope (Twitter) & Facebook Live. Tweeting, in real-time, live updates or events.

Meta description – description of your website or page which appears in the search results.

Ow.ly & bit.ly – tools that shorten the original URL of a webpage to considerably less characters. Highly beneficial to Twitter , where a maximum of 140 characters can be used in any post, which also includes analytics to determine click-through.

Promoted/sponsored content – content that is promoted and paid to appear by advertisers, in targeted publications or as the primary result from a search engine query. Often used to quickly raise the profile of a brand or product in association with a topic, keyword or service.

PPC – ‘Pay per click’, a fee is paid every time someone clicks on the advert.

Page rank – in a Google search ,it is where your page appears in relation to a relevant search query. Ranking is determined by Google’s algorithm which includes factors such as: relevance to search term, frequency of clicks, freshness of content, how long visitors spend on the page & HTML structure. Ideally, it’s best to ensure you appear on the first page of results, as 80% of searchers won’t click past the first page Page (reference?)

SEO – ‘Search engine optimisation’ is the practice of affecting the visibility of a website within search engines. Broadly speaking, methods to improve SEO can be categorised into two areas:

On-page SEO – Relevant, fresh, concise content which visitors spend time reading, and hopefully sharing, tells search engines that your page is valuable and your website is current. Seamlessly weaving keywords into well written content that loads quickly, is easy to navigate on any format, whether on a computer or mobile, helps with on-page SEO.

Search engines constantly crawl and index websites. Displaying quality content in a structured format that search engines recognise, improves ranking. So make sure page attributes such as meta descriptions, alt tags and sector titles are all present.

Off-page SEO – Simply put, this is the process of having links to your website from credible web sources. Search engines rank websites in terms of authority and relevance. This is where reviews, professional affiliations,  PR, social media and customer endorsement online can be used to help boost your ranking.  I.E. If you are a member of a trade organisation, have a link to and from their website.

Scheduling – using a social media platforms advanced functionality to schedule the publishing of content in advance, often used to target individuals in different time zones.

Trending topic – a list of the topics that are currently generating the most interest on social media. Clicking on the topic link reveals the most popular associated content.

We hope these explanations are helpful, if you are interested in other definitions do let us know!

At brookscomm we have over 20 years’ of PR expertise and a proven track record of success. We can aid you and your business, call us on 01483 537 890 or, alternatively, email us hello@brookscomm.com

Follow: Twitter@PRexpertsUK  Linkedin:brookscomm Website:www.brookscomm.com