Christmas is a massive marketing opportunity for businesses. A well thought through and correctly implemented social media campaign can drive traffic and increase engagement making it more likely for customers to buy from you and to keep coming back. It’s also easy to invest time and money in something that doesn’t resonate enough with your audience and fails to engage and even big companies can get it wrong at Christmas.
Starting with their TV campaign, House of Fraser’s Christmas was kicked off with the slightly sinister “Christmas is coming for you”. This was followed by a series of shorter videos across social media. In a possible attempt to communicate with a younger audience the videos were a cross between a photo shoot and music video and whilst the soundtrack was a hit the campaign itself wasn’t successful. With a supposed focus on the anticipation of Christmas and the excitement in the run-up to the big day the social media campaign was at times bizarre, (a highlight was a floating dining table with dancing guests) and was described as weird and creepy. It was unclear how they were attempting to communicate with their audience particularly as their edgy videos sat alongside much more traditional social media content. According to House of Fraser’s chief executive they “updated Christmas iconography with a creative and subversive twist” but in reality, the campaign failed to really engage with any of their audience effectively.
In a departure from their normal one video campaigns, last year saw Asda feature a series of product orientated features across TV and social media. The short videos featured areas of their business focusing on clothing, food, drinks, and toys. Each advert was aimed at their audience demographic for the particular products to showcase the many different products and ranges it offers. In theory, it should have worked but in practice, the adverts just weren’t memorable enough. Competition at Christmas is particularly high for supermarkets and Asda’s social media campaign didn’t quite make it. One of the biggest mistakes brands make on social media is talking too much about their products and Asda’s Christmas campaign was very product focused. The videos themselves were quite entertaining but their product-centric focus failed to connect with their audience on social media. Almost everyone remembers John Lewis’ bouncing boxer but does anyone remember last year’s Asda campaign?
The first lesson to learn from the mistakes of House of Fraser and Asda is first to know who your audience really is and what they respond to. House of Fraser’s campaign was really mixed. The TV advert and videos were aimed at hip and trendy but their other social media content wasn’t which asks the question who were they trying to communicate with? The second lesson is to avoid the product trap. Content which focuses on the product is an important part of your strategy, particularly for retail, but it shouldn’t be your main focus. Social media is about telling your story and engaging with your customers and a focus on your products is unlikely to do that for you. For a social media campaign to work you have to understand your audience and be creative in how you sell both you and your products to your customer.
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