November 15, 2014 Robert Woodford

Free Advertising This Christmas

Whether you love them or hate them the Christmas TV advert has become a fixture of our festive season. John Lewis, Waitrose, M&S, Sainsbury’s and even Aldi produce saccharine coated mini blockbusters for us.

But the greatest success of these adverts is the amount of free publicity they gain. Column inches have been dedicated to these adverts, from new journalists through to art critics – they all have something to say, and they all mention the brand name many times.

A page of advertising in The Guardian newspaper would set you back about £18,000 multiply that by 10 national newspapers and 3 days and you have over half a million pounds worth of advertising. Which is exactly what Sainsbury’s have achieved with their British Legion, First World War inspired advert. I’ve not even scratched the surface of online editions, local newspapers and social media – in fact it runs into millions of pounds in free advertising.

It’s not for me to say whether it is crass, insensitive and opportunistic or delightful, heart-warming and inspired. But for the people behind the advert they must be delighted, because for all of the positives and negatives, the reality is that I can’t remember the Tesco, Asda or Morrison’s adverts – can you?