News

Creating a viral Christmas advert

14th December 2023

Follow the link to watch our Christmas advert: https://youtu.be/e7OHFtfZjgQ

Why create a viral Christmas advert?

We LOVE big-budget TV ads like the John Lewis Christmas advert. They’ve really found the winning formula to maximise engagement and go viral.

In fact, we love it so much that we decided to give it a go ourselves. But instead of helping a big department store or supermarket grow its profits, we decided to help a charity grow its reach.

Our friends at Love Squared do amazing work that’s well worth shouting about.

Who is Love Squared?

Love Squared is a Bristol-based charity who support young people and families with social, emotional, and mental health (SEMH) needs.

They noticed a huge lack in services for young people and children who had aspirations but were missing out on reaching their potential because of SEMH needs, so they work to change this and provide the resources and support to those who need it.

With such a great cause, we knew we wanted to support them this year by donating our resources to create them a Christmas advert they can use to raise awareness and donations.

So how do you go about creating a viral Christmas video?

Inspired by the John Lewis Christmas Advert 2022?

So were we. Here’s your guide to making a viral Christmas ad to rival the very best – whether you’re a charity, non-profit or B2B business.

Every year, audiences eagerly await high-production TV Christmas ads from John Lewis, M&S, Sainsbury’s, and a plethora of other consumer businesses. But this year, we’re seeing more and more clients take an interest in Christmas content and other seasonal campaigns – and for good reason.

As we all eagerly await this year’s marketing showdown, many businesses are thinking about their own festive advertising and how they can get a slice of the action.

Emotive and uplifting storytelling

The most popular Christmas ads really tug at the heartstrings. It’s the time of the year when people value togetherness, generosity and kindness the most, but it can also be a tough time for many. So, it’s important to capture the emotions of the festive seasons and make your audience feel seen and understood. Having said that, it should be hopeful and optimistic – after all, it is the most wonderful time of the year.

Our copy team put together a script that captured the emotion behind Love Squared’s amazing cause.

Focusing on issues of loneliness and mental health, we created a story that would speak to the challenges young people face, while reflecting the power of imagination – one of Love Squared’s primary values. We even got our best (only) David Attenborough impersonator in to do the voice-over.

Adorable heroes and creature companions

From John Lewis to Sainsbury’s, all the best viral Christmas adverts embrace the cute-factor. And whether they take the form of animals, humans, dragons or monsters, the bigger the eyes, the more we seem to love them.

Our designers and animators created relatable characters with big eyes and even bigger dreams.

We wanted to introduce an imaginary friend that brings joy to a child’s life, presenting creativity, resilience and fun as an antidote to loneliness and boredom – and so, best friends Rita and Howie were born.

A powerful song choice

Emotive covers of popular songs are a staple of the annual Christmas-ad-off. Possibly the most successful among these are the John Lewis Christmas adverts that feature big stars covering even bigger ballads ­– from Lily Allen’s rendition of Keane’s Somewhere Only We Know to Gabrielle Aplin’s cover of Frankie Goes to Hollywood classic The Power of Love.

Our Love Squared Christmas ad features an acoustic track with an emotional hook: “when we’re together again” – which pairs perfectly with the beautifully animated scenes about loneliness and newfound friendship. Oosh! Right in the feels.

Video and animation magic

The trick to a truly amazing Christmas ad is to fully immerse your audience, perhaps even leaving them thinking: “How did they do it?” Whether that’s through impeccable animation or beautiful videography, or a mix of the two.

There really are no limits to what you can do with video and animation (other than budget, of course).

Our Video and Motion Graphics team did an amazing job of directing, producing and animating an impactful campaign video to support Love Squared.

What’s more, they sprinkled humour in throughout.

Shout out to our A-list actors (A for ‘A member of our studio, marketing, HR and finance teams’) for some pretty impressive skills and even more expressive faces.

A good cause

At P+S, we’re passionate about supporting amazing initiatives and organisations that offer support in our local community. Partnering with Love Squared for this video was a no-brainer.

How do Christmas ads work for B2B brands?

Many B2B marketers mistakenly pour all their energy into lead generation, believing that B2B decision making is a head-over-heart endeavour, where common sense prevails. In reality, buying committees are equally as emotion-led as consumers, but with one key addition – risk.

It’s far more risky to introduce a lesser-known supplier/ partner to your business than it is to buy from an established one, so recognition and reputation are just as important for B2B brands – whose sales representatives are no longer in the room when these buying decision are made.

So, while we may not pour the same level of budget into TV and traditional media advertising, it’s still worth considering how B2B Christmas advertising can set you apart from the competition and make a memorable impression on prospective customers. Ultimately, you want them to remember your brand when they’re in market (just 5% of the time you spend plugging away at lead generation).

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About Proctor + Stevenson

Game-changing strategy, creative and technology that means more impact for your marketing. And more power to your business.

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