There has already been a growing debate on John Lewis traditional Christmas campaigns, seen as the most expected marketing event of the year. The excitement goes that far that some are already wandering whether we can again expect an emotional campaign from a popular British retailer. The date has already been announced, 11th November is the day when John Lewis will reveal what has their team prepared for this year.
The John Lewis’ emotional campaigning begun in 2010 with their first campaign ‘Always a women’ that showed women growing up from childhood to adulthood. The campaign was criticised for similarities with one Italian campaign but it has generated interest for John Lewis.
Nevertheless, it has set a standard for John Lewis Christmas campaigning and many other retailers followed. It is enough to remember Sainsbury’s WWI campaign in 2014, or the awarded 2015 campaign Mog’s Christmas Calamity, also from Sainsbury’s.
This campaigning style enabled the rise of agency Adam & Eve that has been creating John Lewis Christmas ads in the following years, with marketing successes such as Monty the Penguin in 2014 and Man on the Moon in 2015, with the latter one actually polarizing the public opinion and causing a debate whether it was too sad, etc.
Despite the polarization the Man on the Moon campaign won the IPA Effectiveness Award. However, while the debate on expected John Lewis ad is ongoing and while the excitement is growing, Burberry took us as a surprise and jumped out as a strong candidate for a debate on emotional advertising and its effectiveness by using a slightly different story.
In this new campaign, Burberry is telling us a story of their founder, with which the company turned to tradition and personalisation of the brand by giving us an insight into private life of Burberry’s founder through a cinematic story. In other words, “while the brand is celebrating its authenticity and heritage, the film uses some artistic licence with Burberry’s life story. The film reimagines key events which have shaped the company’s history and values including the invention of gabardine, outfitting the explorer Ernest Shackleton, and sponsoring the record-breaking flight from London to Cape Town by Betty Kirby Green. In the film, Kirby Green is reimagined as the imaginary character Betty Dawson in the film and played by Lily James” (see here). The story is also reminding us how long has Burberry been with us and that it is a traditional British company. The ad, just to re-enforce the message, ends with sign London, England.
I was pleasantly surprised with this campaign, as it has a story that then also promoted the company. Unlikely for John Lewis adverts, which are all centred on promoting sharing and love through different stories and narration, this campaign turns towards cinematic experience. It is yet to be seen whether Burberry’s has set a course for future Christmas campaigning just like John Lewis did with emotional advertising in 2010 but I certainly enjoyed this campaign.
Thank you for reading.