Opinion

Who’s cut through the Christmas clutter?

05 December, 2018 Share socially

Standing out at Christmas has always been a challenge. Now, with so many more ways for brands to engage with a busy audience, how do you create stand out and cut through at the most manic time of the year? Our London team have been out and about looking at who’s done it well this year – physically, digitally and through packaging.

1. True Christmas spirit

In a world that’s ever more engaged with sustainability, the future and humanity, this stand-out example seems to capture the true value of Christmas spirit.
Choose Love Store
Who’s cut through the Christmas clutter?

On the Choose Love website it says “Imagine a world where you can shop your heart out, leave with nothing, and feel great about it” – sounds quite liberating really! Instead of buying the latest tech and those mass-produced clothes you probably don’t need, the Choose Love Store is a place where you can buy essential items for refugees. From tents, to nappies and sleeping bags, here you can make a real difference to those most in need. We love how simply powerful and positive this initiative is.

This year, more than ever, people are curbing back their spending on each other and being more generous to strangers and those in need. This really captures the festive spirit in the truest form.
MT Cassidy
Executive Creative Director

2. Creating engaging experiences

How do you create spaces people are drawn into, create spectacles people want to Instagram or blur the boundaries of physical and digital?
Not On The High Street Pop-up, Waterloo Station
Who’s cut through the Christmas clutter?

A great example of clicks investing in bricks. Well, maybe some plywood. This pop-up at busy Waterloo station is a great example of the blur between online and real-world. Here you can interact with the Not On The High Street brand, browse some products and spend the rest of your commute filling your virtual shopping basket online. Nice.

Annabel’s Members Club, Mayfair
Who’s cut through the Christmas clutter?

So, apparently Annabel’s is cool again. The Mayfair hot spot used to be the upmarket hangout of exclusive clientele including the Prince of Wales, US President Richard Nixon and even Frank Sinatra. Now billing itself as an all-day and all-night experience for working, dining and entertaining, it certainly knows how to create a ‘wow’ at Christmas. With a slight Willy Wonka feel about it, the giant Christmas tree with candy cane entrance and gold bow door really does make Annabel’s larger than life.

Bohemian Rhapsody, Carnaby Street
Who’s cut through the Christmas clutter?

Hot on the heels of the recent Queen movie, Carnaby street became Bohemian Rhapsody in neon! We’ve never seen so many people walking down the street belting out the Queen classic – it’s fair to say this display really does engage you - and provokes a response (some more tuneful than others). It’s been a hit on the ‘gram too.

Brands are thinking in a non-traditional sense about what constitutes an experience. Streets become a canvas for play, front doors become a theatrical set piece and stores show up in useful places, putting the shopper first.
Jovan Buac
Senior Client Director

3. Wonderful windows

Windows have always been one of ‘the’ Christmas attractions, with people diverting their walk home just to get a glimpse of the weird and the wonderful on Oxford Street. Nowadays, we don’t have to venture out – as windows are just as much a hit on social media. Here are some that stand out for bucking the clichés.
Miller Harris, London 
Who’s cut through the Christmas clutter?

With not a Santa or snowman in sight, Miller Harris have created displays that are vivid, vibrant and beautifully natural. The simplicity and use of colour really cuts through and the use of inside and outside helps create depth and drama. The use of neon adds some cutting edge cool to what has historically been a bit of a trad brand.

Selfridges Rocking Santa, Oxford Street
Who’s cut through the Christmas clutter?

You can’t talk Christmas windows without mentioning Selfridges. And they’ve done it again this year. With a series of windows that tell a story of a rock star Santa, we get a glimpse into his luxuriously messy and random world. Tapping into the trend of everyday luxury, this theme builds on the idea of play and not treating luxury as a set piece.

Printemps, Paris
Who’s cut through the Christmas clutter?

It’s not all about London. On a recent trip on the Eurostar, we noticed this beautiful display at Printemps on the Boulevard Haussmann. Pretty isn’t usually a word associated with Christmas displays, but that’s exactly what this is. It might feel a bit more Spring than Winter, but it’s the delicate beauty of this installation that really cuts through. We love how the flowers are used to hold the bottles. C'est fantastique!

Whether it's a ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ themed Carnaby Street, the John Lewis advert featuring Elton John, or Selfridges' Rocker Santa, glitter and music represents a strong theme this festive season. It’s celebratory and nostalgic at the same time - perfect for this time of the year.
Daniela Meloni
Design Director

4. Making use of one's assets

The challenge for every brand at this time of year – how to create buzz and excitement, whilst staying true to your roots. Here are some examples you will simply adore.
Tiffany, Believe in Dreams
Who’s cut through the Christmas clutter?

Tiffany is undergoing a transformation. And wow - what a joy it is to behold. Their latest Christmas advert is a delight to the senses. Talk about being brave. When you own a colour like they do then flaunt it. Awash with blue it would be easy for a lesser brand to mess things up. But not Tiffany. We are transported to a vision of Santa’s workshop. With cameo appearances from Naomi Campbell, Maye Musk and Karen Elson and a rousing rendition of Aerosmith's Dream On, every detail has been thought of. Amazing.

Coke Bow Bottle
Who’s cut through the Christmas clutter?

This is cute and brings a smile to our face. There’s been a lot of talk about whether it was ever produced or not – but we don’t care. In a world where the word ‘pilot’ is your best friend, we’re always pushing clients to behave more like this. Produce the prototype, film or photograph it to within an inch of its life and let social media do the rest.

5. Creating objects of desire

Creating stand-out packaging that you simply must have is always a big ask at Christmas. Here are some that make it seem almost effortless.
Diptyque, Christmas Candles
Who’s cut through the Christmas clutter?

Diptique rarely gets it wrong. From their early days of curating amazing curiosities and antiques from a single shop in Paris, to the world-wide brand of today - and this Christmas their fragrant candle trio is no exception. Each candle tells a tale of three travelers, coming together in their quest over snow-covered lands of the North, on the longest night of the year. We love the storytelling, the crafted illustration and that it’s so on brand.

Crabtree & Evelyn, Christmas Collection
Who’s cut through the Christmas clutter?

With a new year looming, new promises and resolutions aren’t far behind. Crabtree & Evelyn have set out their stall with a brave and brightly designed set of gifts. A bold contemporary move for a traditional player in this market. We can only imagine it is signaling the start of a complete (and welcomed) refresh of the brand. We do notice a hint of a resemblance to our Sleek MakeUP Christmas gift range of 2016.

Edinburgh Gin, Christmas Bottle
Who’s cut through the Christmas clutter?

It seems Christmas-inspired gins are here to stay. This year Portabello Gin brings us a witty Parsnip in a Pear Tree. Sacred have produced a rather obvious Christmas Pudding flavoured gin. Lidl’s Hortus is infused with Plum and Cinnamon. And Sipsmith has gone completely Chistmas-tastic with something for everyone: Minced Pie, Ginger Bread, Chocolate Orange. But as a standard bearer for art deco reimagined, Edinburgh Gin’s Christmas stands above the crowd. It has all the detailing and story-telling we’ve come to expect. Not only is this year’s edition exquisitely crafted – but as a homage to the three wise men it is infused with Frankincense and Myrrh. Glorious!

6. Striking the right tone

There are two ad campaigns that caught our attention in terms of tone of voice. One for its inclusivity and the other for its tongue in cheek approach.
Tesco Christmas Campaign, Everyone’s Welcome
Who’s cut through the Christmas clutter?

Tesco’s latest Christmas Campaign: “Everyone is welcome” celebrates the diversity of Christmas. A cheery look at what makes us all different. And they’ve really done their research coming up with factoids that wouldn’t be out of place in most Christmas crackers. Did you know 1 in 10 Brits will have beef for Christmas dinner? Or that you’re 8 times more likely to have cauliflower cheese if you live in Brighton? Fascinating!

Waitrose & Partners
Who’s cut through the Christmas clutter?

Christmas is a time for laughter, and often a little light-hearted teasing at your siblings’ expense. So, it’s nice to see a healthy dose of family banter between Waitrose and John Lewis. This year Waitrose shows a family fast-forwarding through the new John Lewis ad so they can get stuck into some tasty Waitrose cake waiting for them in the kitchen. How does the saying go? He who laughs loudest laughs at himself? Better that, than the likes of Aldi ripping up your Never Knowingly Undersold price promise with their own Christmas spoofs.

Summary 

It’s tough out there - the high street is as fragile as it’s ever been. But despite the gloom, brands from across the globe still bring us beautiful campaigns, amazing experiences and delightful products. Whether it’s the escapism of the Tiffany campaign, the convenience of shopping while commuting or the humour of the Waitrose ad, thank goodness for brands and their ability to make us smile and spread some joy.

So, from all of us here in London to all of our friends, partners and clients across the globe, season’s greetings and a happy 2019.