Key Social Media Lessons From The John Lewis Christmas Ad.

A recent breakdown of the ad spend of Britain’s largest retailers in the build up to the holidays, revealed just how little/much money has to do with running a successful campaign.

Take John Lewis and their new ad with the boy and his penguin. Despite costing £1M to shoot, its promotion was primarily via social media. In the first 24 hours online of it being online, it had been viewed over 200,000 times.

Sure, the ad was designed to tug at heartstrings, and it capitalised on the power of social media to spread it farther than the marketing budget.

The views and shares have translated into sales of the penguin plush toy; John Lewis has literally sold out on every penguin related item they have in stock.

A survey by MarketLive showed that social media will influence up to half of holiday shoppers this season. From looking up gift ideas on Pinterest to watching video reviews on YouTube, customers will look for info from people they trust before making a purchase. Knowing this, businesses can attract more sales and make incentive programmes available on these platforms.

All fine and dandy, but which elements made this campaign successful so far?:

  • Today’s flavour of the month is old hat in as little as a week. New platforms are created on a daily basis, and many businesses flounder when it’s time to take advantage of them. Many businesses are spending more, but only a few are reaping the rewards. It boils down to a me-too mentality. A marketer in the B2B forklift industry tries to use tactics espoused by a B2C fashion marketer. It simply won’t work.
  • Staying relevant and active on social media requires a level of agility. Your product probably appeals to more than one demographic and it’s been proven that people hang out in different places online.

If you are to appeal to more than one of these, you must have more than one social media presence. John Lewis shared the ad on Twitter and Facebook; resulting in 156,000 Facebook shares and 47,000 Twitter shares.

  • Channel Fragmentation – I know I just advocated having multiple social presences but this can also lead to fragmentation of your brand and message. Regardless of the social media budget, if your business cannot engage customers on their preferred platforms, you are simply pouring money down the drain.
  • Market fragmentation further can occur if you try to make a channel fit a function, which it isn’t suited for. While most formats can be used on all social media platforms, some just do not blend. The major social platforms have their individual strengths that you should play to viz. Twitter is excellent for real-time live event reporting via tweets, Pinterest is all about picture curation to provide inspiration. Find the intersection between your strategy and a social platform
The right mix of knowing the channel, knowing the customer and where they hang out has allowed the John Lewis campaign to be a rousing success.

With 18M views till date and 200, 000 shares in the first 24 hours, you can appreciate the power of social media marketing. Views may be a vanity metric, but shares show that people are engaging with the content.

Once again, John Lewis has set the bar for Christmas adverts. Sainsbury’s released their Christmas ad a few days after. We’ll be watching keenly to see if it takes off. If you are planning to use social media this holiday season, take a leaf from John Lewis’ book. Search and More can analyse your business and develop a marketing plan that will allow you to make profits this holiday season. Contact us today.

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