Thursday 10th November - put the date in your diary and don't plan to go out that evening. It’s the grand unveiling of the John Lewis Christmas ad and like it or not, John Lewis’ ad signals the Christmas season kick-off. It’s become one of the UK's festive traditions alongside switching on the lights at Oxford Street, that first bite of a mince pie and opening door no. 1 on the Advent calendar.
I typed "Christmas advertising 2016" into Google and John Lewis monopolised the search pages with: ‘when is the John Lewis advert coming out’, 'will there be a soundtrack charting Lewis Christmas ads' as well as ‘looking back to John Lewis’ last 10 years of Christmas ads’.
As a child, the excitement of seeing Harrods or Fortnum and Mason's festive window displays was enough for me alongside simple Argos print and TV advertising showing the latest must have toys.
Now its ambiguous teasers, media student’s viral coursework, and chat forums which create the anticipation. The latest speculation on John Lewis’ ad is a 10 second video of a dog watching a girl on a Space Hopper in a snowy garden sent from a mysterious twitter account.
Campaign is already doing a round up on the first crop of circa 12 Christmas ads. Under pressure to be the best, brands are gearing us up to ride the emotional roll coaster for the next 4 weeks and beyond. Without trying to sound negative, it’s easy to feel numb as we are overloaded by a flurry of brand messaging competing to be front of mind.
Don’t get me wrong, I am happy to celebrate the festive ads of past, present and future; however, when I shop this festive season it’s all about the how the brand makes Christmas live up to my expectations. All I care about is quality, value for money and exciting product ranges.
It’s the same in recruitment, an agency can attempt to demonstrate how much better they are than the competition with fancy middle page spreads in Campaign, industry competitions and sponsorship deals, yet much like our purchasing decisions, the bottom line for candidates and clients is how a recruiter stands out on service, quality and delivery.