December 2020 · 4 Min Read
This year’s Christmas ad by Lidl is one you can truly believe in. Why? They’ve done it their way. “The world is hushed and white with snow, lonely hearts meet through the window, could a friendship be ahead? Nope!” Lidl have more important things to worry about like being cheeky, mocking their competition and reinforcing what they’d like to be known for: Kevin the Carrot!
Those of you who spotted that Kevin the Carrot is, in fact, associated with Aldi, not Lidl will see that Aldi have found a way to make themselves stand out too. Does this mean that if you love Kevin, you’ll automatically shop at Aldi? If you thought that Lidl produced an exceptional, light-hearted ad, will you be tied to them for life? Of course not but it does mean that these brands have stood out and that they will stay in your mind for a long time to come.
If you are reading this article for the first time in February, March or April, this section’s title will be even more relevant. “Surely, September is early enough!” we hear you cry. Too early, in fact but this article isn’t really about Christmas or Christmas ads. It’s about brand personality and the point of defining it. You see, to our eyes, Lidl’s brand personality is clear and consistent, at least from an advertising and content perspective. They portray themselves as friendly, playful, cheeky, slightly rebellious yet appealing to the masses. Their ads, their logo, their website, their copy, their colours etc. all adhere to that personality, which show their brand in a clear and consistent manner. Their 2020 Christmas ad is exactly the type of thing you would expect from them but it probably wouldn’t suit John Lewis.
John Lewis didn’t air their 1st TV Christmas ad until 2007 but it wasn’t long before they became “the ad to look out for” in the UK. Christmas now begins for some when John Lewis release their ads and they all have a certain style. We think that the first time they were really pushing for tears was in the 2010 ad with Ellie Goulding covering Elton John’s “Your Song”. They used a mixture of nostalgia and human connection to make you all well up and connect that heart-warming feeling with their brand. It really suited John Lewis’ brand personality and they have continued in that vein ever since. Some ads have been better than others but whatever happens, we always want to see the next one. We should repeat that: it really suits THEIR brand personality and its originality really helped them to stand out.
When everyone shouts “I’m Spartacus”, it serves, only to confuse. The point is that nobody is supposed to stand out. Nobody wants Spartacus to be identified so they all pretend to be the same person. (Watch the clip if you’ve never seen it) Great if you don’t want to stand out but what happens when you do? Great brands are noticed because they are clear, consistent, relevant and DIFFERENT. That’s why we were so confused when year after year, company after company decided to copy the exact same formula that John Lewis had for their Christmas ads. What makes it worse is that for most of those brands, their Christmas ads had no resemblance to anything else they had produced throughout the year. Even if they produced something brilliant (one or two did), we would find it hard to associate it with them and instead, every time we saw one of these copy-cats, we were just reminded of John Lewis.
Where Lidl have got it right is that they did their own thing. They had clearly noticed that everybody else wanted to be John Lewis too. That’s why they used their unique personality to make it clear that they didn’t want to blend in. They took some of the best parts of the John Lewis formula, put them in a blender, added their own unique ingredients and created something that was instantly identifiable as Lidl. A few other brands have recently started to create their own Christmas ad formulas too and they are all the better for it but the key is to stop creating formulas for individual campaigns and to start to create a formula that encapsulates your business. When you have truly defined your brand personality, every ad you make, every blog you create, every podcast you dictate will be uniquely yours. Except, it won’t belong to you, it will belong to your audience who will soon become your customers and your biggest advocates.
If the answer is no, you can probably stop reading now but make sure you bookmark this article for a later date. If the answer is yes, [email protected] and ask about a Defining Your Brand Workshop. We’re ready to make sure your brand stands out, are you?
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