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Whatever religion you may (or may not) subscribe to, one cannot but realise that it’s the final countdown to Christmas. The usual signs are here. Halloween is out of the way. Tinsel (however tatty) is roped around local shop shelves. Numerous council houses are doused in fairy lights. Christmas songs drone incessantly over shop speakers. Couldn’t you just kick yourself for not having made an X-Mas jingle which reached number one? The royalties on that alone could see you in Warninks egg-nog for an eternity! And ah yes, the superstore Christmas television advert is here. Enter John Lewis (the ‘King’ of Christmas commercials by which others are measured), Lidl, Aldi, Asda, Boots and Tesco et. al.  Whilst these adverts form a culmination of expensive, early (like…January) PR, Marketing and other strategic brand embellishment, there comes an occasion when one achieves deeper audience reach. Sainsbury’s, one of the UK’s ‘big 4’ supermarkets was a clear leader in connecting (in a kind of ‘Star Wars; The Force Awakens’ toy merchandising way) with audiences with its commercial called ‘Mog’s Christmas Calamity’. This creation was derived from award-winning author Judith Kerr’s family of books about a cat called ‘Mog’. We won’t detail the narrative here you can watch the commercial from the link below, except as we write, the YouTube link has over 25 million views whilst Facebook is over 7 million. Additionally, as Sainsbury’s runs out of merchandising, the ‘Mog’ family of products is selling for silly money on eBay and other online markets.

We want to look at some of the reasons this campaign is successful, to continue well into 2016. We could see how you could explore some areas of your business which could create content which engages audiences and reinvigorates your product/brand.

Relationship Building (CSR)

As consumers we are ever aware of environmental, health, political, social and other issues which affect our lives. We’re looking for products/businesses which are savvy and display their knowledge of these contexts without patronising us. With this in mind, it’s not enough to bash us about the head in selling products. In fact, we tend to shun such advertising (unless it’s done in genre-bending homage like say ‘Cillit-Bang’ or ‘Ronseal’). Some of what Sainsbury’s (or their advertising/marketing agency) has achieved is to reach out to award-winning author, Judith Kerr OBE and Save the Children. The supermarket has linked with this charity to forward its advances in improving literacy in the UK. So you can see why and how this campaign remains relevant and continues long into 2016. Sainsbury’s has also teamed up with award-winning film creatives to help make the advert.


New Products/Merchandising

There’s an initial investment of finding (or making new orders with existing) toy and other manufacturers to make accompanying products/merchandising. In this case, ‘Mog’ cat toys, books, mugs, soft furnishings, et. al. which as we’ve stated before flew off the shelves almost as ‘Mog’ did in her advert. It might be that your business can revamp what it already has as you tell your story. Your existing products might become more visible to your consumers as they perceive a way for your products to coexist in their lives.



Sainsbury’s does not directly flog its products to its audiences rather, they’re featured in the story (al la John Lewis style). What some businesses do when selling their product is to blatantly beg and shout ‘BUY THIS…NOW’ like a 1950 toothpaste advert; what a clear way to shun customers who’ve become far more sophisticated since the earliest decades of advertising – and begging is never a good look. Part of what potential customers want is to buy into a lifestyle. Show them how your product can enhance their lives and often this is done through shared beliefs.

Social Media On-Point

Needless to say, the social media platforms for Sainsbury’s was/is polished and its advert was placed seamlessly about the media-sphere. It gained additional press coverage through its relationship building, its pushing of boundaries of the advert genre and of course the usual clamour by the media at this time of the year for the ‘best’ Christmas advert vox. pop. Understand that your business doesn’t have to be on all the (current) social media platforms. Once you’ve selected what’s appropriate for you, make sure they are managed seamlessly, professionally, with engaging, relevant content.

Branding is a Doing Word!

Brand development is not just about logos and what your company looks like on bill boards (if you can afford that type of advertising), shop fronts or online. These in fact are an extension of what you. Sainsbury’s current strap-line is ‘Live well for less’. Rhetorically then, how does it translate this message through its brand? In the case of its yule-time advert the strapline is; “Christmas is for sharing”. It transmits this message through its brand by saying; no-one should be alone at Christmas; we can all muck-in, be supportive of each other and demonstrate the ‘real’ meaning of the season’s good will. This message helps us the consumer to feel ‘fluffy’ when we enter its shops as we purchase the products featured in the advert, for the season and well into the New Year where it cleverly continues this message through its CSR.

So, Happy…well, whatever you choose to celebrate this time of year. We can’t wait to see you on the other side!

Sainsbury’s Christmas Mog toys sell out as store is accused of ‘letting down children’

‘Mog’s Christmas Calamity’ by Sainsbury’s

TV Viewers Choose the best Christmas Advert for 2015’:

Festive Ads have convinced 12% of Shoppers to Switch’: