Christmas advertising is an excellent way to grab a share of the seasonal advertising market. It’s a time when there is increased competition on both the high street and online; a time in which big brands seem to dominate the media agenda. But if you apply the right Christmas advertising strategy, the festive season offers major benefits to smaller businesses who use outdoor advertising to boost their profile and extend their consumer reach.
When to start Christmas advertising
In case you haven’t noticed, it seems it’s never too early to start your Christmas advertising, as evidenced by Selfridges who kicked off their Xmas advertising campaign by opening a Christmas shop 137 days before Santa’s arrival.
— Nance (@NanceHarrington) September 3, 2017
Before you start blaming advertisers for forcing Christmas into people’s lives way too early, research has shown that 40% of mobile shoppers do their Christmas shopping in November. Data from eBay showed a 70% increase of Christmas related searches in August compared to the previous month. Shopping activity continues to ramp up from the first week of November onwards.
On the bricks-and-mortar front, data from Exterion shows that 15% of urban shoppers begin their Christmas shopping in October and 27% have begun by November.
However, it’s important to time your Christmas advertising according to your customer base. For example, The Cambridge Satchel Company begins its festive advertising campaign in October in order to sell to Chinese tourists visiting during their Golden Week holiday season. Selfridges’ early opening had a similar methodology; targeting summer holiday-goers looking for Christmas gifts to buy as souvenirs. Cath Kidston first contacts its consumer based with a direct mail campaign on 26 September.
Originating as a day of discounted shopping after America’s Thanksgiving celebrations, Black Friday has since been imported to the UK, falling on 24 November.
Consumers have come to see this as a diary date when they can pick up gifts at special discounted rates before Christmas. It’s worth timing your Christmas advertising to feed in to this key shopping date.
Christmas billboard rental
Out-of-home advertising and billboard rental in particular cuts through the clutter of online Christmas marketing activity and is a more effective solution than the piles of junk mail that steadily accumulates in the run up to Christmas.
A billboard or street poster gives you a cost-effective opportunity to compete with bigger brands during the festive season.
Timing is not just crucial to appeal to your target market, it’s also important to factor in renting billboards and other OOH ad sites. If you want to advertise your business on a billboard at Christmas, you need to book now as this is a very competitive time for ad bookings.
Don’t underestimate the high street
Over 60% of people did their Christmas shopping on the high street in 2015, according to Exterion Media, and 50% of urban consumers seek gift inspiration whilst out and about. This drives home the importance of OOH advertising for both local businesses and national brands. Christmas shopping continues apace into December, which sees a 25% boost in footfall compared to the rest of the year and London’s West End experiences a 30% increase from its 500,000 daily average.
People are constantly on the look-out for gift inspiration, so a chance encounter with your poster or billboard can make all the difference to your sales.
Examples of OOH advertising at Christmas
Advertising is so often about emotional pull. We tend to think of the big set piece TV ads from the likes of John Lewis et al. But OOH can also be used to tug at the heart strings. Jack Daniels have always been masters at using traditional OOH posters to give a corporate brand the human touch that allows them to embody boutique and even artisanal characteristics despite their multi-million sales figures. They have knocked Scotch off the top spot and are now the UK’s most popular Whiskey brand.
Their iconic “Christmas barrel” campaign tells the story of a sleepy township that eschews the hectic Christmas rush in favour of more slow-paced and communal values. That hasn’t stopped J.D storming the UK spirits’ market with impressive results.
Embrace the physicality of Outdoor
US lingerie giant Hunkemöller launched a Christmas campaign encouraging passersby to tear wrapping paper off large ad panels revealing a special offer accessible via a QR code.
This shows OOH’s potential to attract attention and take advantage of the physicality of the Outdoor environment.
Royal Mail similarly tapped in to the experiential possibilities of OOH advertising in 2013, launching a Christmas Stamp Shop in Covent Garden which aimed to make “Christmas easier and that little bit more fun” by offering a range of personalised Christmas stamps featuring photos of consumers snapped in a “Christmas Wishing Forest”.
But you don’t need to indulge in such glitz and glamour to make an impact on the high street this Christmas.
The Post Office also make use of mall ad panels to capture audience attention – and we can all appreciate how busy the post office is in the lead up to Christmas!
Give the gift of humour with your Christmas Advertising
You can also use humour as an angle for your Christmas billboard campaign, like this example from Fullers Brewery who used a 96-sheet in sardonic reference to a large chimney stack on their premises.
Building and maintaining your brand profile at Christmas
Out-of-home advertising is a very powerful way to not only build but also maintain your brand’s profile. This is important even for well-established brands like Coca-Cola who have taken to touring the UK with their “Christmas truck” each season.
Bus stop advertising at Christmas
Billions of individual bus journeys are made all over the UK every year. That’s time spent not just embarking on Christmas shopping trips, but also pondering what gifts to buy for friends and relatives.
Outdoor advertising is a very effective ways to get your brand’s message to consumers in the run up to Christmas. Remember, when renting billboard space for your brand at Christmas, you need to be prepared and book your ad sites well in advance to get the exact sites you want. But even if you’re looking for a last minute push, it always pays to check availability on Bubble’s platform. Just in case.