We Just Don’t Get It

And today I can share the proof!


It’s not yet Thanksgiving, but I’ve been seeing Christmas ads since Halloween.

The problem is, 99% of the Christmas ads produced in America suck, to put it politely.

Like Radio station liners that bang away at how much music they play, and how great their variety is, retailers in America pound us with promotional ads about special sales and discounted prices of select items.

As with Radio liners, consumers aren’t listening, or worse, tune them out.

Now this is important information that you should share with your Sales team for all your local accounts.

And I’ve been preaching this to the Programming (Content, with a capital “C”) side for decades.

A new Ad Age-Harris poll shows “pricing is important, but shoppers just don’t want to hear about it.

So far this holiday season, the majority of ads have gone the promotional route, touting special sales, low prices and discounted must-have items. Kohl’s, Macy’s and Target ran campaigns that promoted their stores as destinations of value and convenience. Walmart even created its own Monday sales events in November in an effort to entice price-conscious shoppers.”

The strategy of veering away from emotional storytelling in anthem holiday spots is not surprising given the difficult economic backdrop and lowered expectations of retail sales growth. However, it may not be what shoppers want.

Just 31% of U.S. adults want to see marketing with messaging about economical themes about price and value, and just 28% want to see messaging about sales and promotional events…”

Most consumers are looking for “seasonally appropriate ads,” the survey found—49% of shoppers want festive ads, 43% want funny, 36% want heartfelt and 34% want nostalgic.” *

This new BMW ad hits both funny and festive:

So, if you service local retailers, help them steer their Christmas spending away from price claims and ‘sales events’ and towards more emotional copy: family, gratitude, service to others.

And if you program radio stations, toss your normal liners this year, at least through Christmas.

Connect your station with the feelings your listeners have at Christmas.

You will both be happy you did.

Oh, and – as usual – I’ll begin sharing Christmas adverts from Europe and around the world in a few days. They seem always to have understood emotion sells this time of the year.



*All quotes from THIS Ad Age article (subscription may be required).