The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge – Are global spots better?

Discussion
Dec 04, 2015

Some of the best retail storytelling anywhere comes from outside the U.S. If we hadn’t known this already, we would have learned from the requests we’ve received to review commercials from other countries sent our way by members of the RetailWire community. To that end, today we will begin a separate commercial challenge for spots produced by foreign retailers for the holiday season 2015.

The first faceoff includes distinctly different commercials from three UK chains including:

"Your Rules" from House of Fraser;

"Man on the Moon" from John Lewis; and

"Mog’s Christmas Calamity" from Sainsbury’s.

Which of these is best? You decide.

[Image: House of Fraser]
Your Rules – House of Fraser/YouTube

[Image: John Lewis Christmas Advert 2015]
#ManOnTheMoon – John Lewis/YouTube

[Image: Sainsbury's Christmas Advert 2015]
Mog’s Christmas Calamity – Sainsbury’s/YouTube

What is your critique of the three commercials from House of Fraser, John Lewis and Sainsbury’s? Which is your favorite and why? Would something similar work in the U.S. market?

Braintrust
"Sainsbury’s is my favorite and I can see it being successful across a wide variety of markets, both online and on TV. It is both funny and heartwarming, and despite the slightly unnerving CGI cat it is totally charming."
"The thing that strikes me first is that U.K. consumers have MUCH longer attention spans than those in the U.S., even if these ads only ran on the internet."
"This is certainly the season for mini-movies. I’m not the right generation to relate strongly to the House of Fraser music video, but both the Man on the Moon and Mog the cat managed to tug at my emotions a bit."

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14 Comments on "The RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge – Are global spots better?"

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Bob Phibbs
Guest
2 years 8 days ago

John Lewis hands down. I never looked at the time, I never knew where it was headed but enjoyed the journey of discovery. In some ways it’s just the way I would want to feel in their stores.

Steve Montgomery
Guest
2 years 8 days ago

John Lewis is my pick. While it didn’t try to sell me anything specific (a drawback) it did hold my attention throughout. Like Bob I knew where it was going but remained interested in how it would get there.

The House of Fraser ad seemed seem frantic to me but I did enjoy the song and the napkin folding trick. That this is what I remember from the commercial is telling. The Sainsbury commercial reminded me of the “Home Alone” movies with the cat playing both the villain and the hero.

Zel Bianco
Guest
2 years 8 days ago
The House of Fraser looks like what H&M was going for but with a more effective display of some of their products. It’s still too long and I don’t personally enjoy the tone (I prefer something a little more cheery) but I am certainly not their target audience. The John Lewis ad, while beautifully done, is very long and quiet and it’s hard to imagine it catching anyone’s attention on TV — however, I would expect it to be successful as an online viral campaign. Sainsbury’s is my favorite and I can see it being successful across a wide variety of… Read more »
Al McClain
Guest
Al McClain
2 years 8 days ago

The thing that strikes me first is that U.K. consumers have MUCH longer attention spans than those in the U.S., even if these ads only ran on the internet. The shortest is 90 seconds! The House of Frazer ad hardly seems Christmasy to me, with all the posing, grabbing and sexual suggestion, or maybe I’ve just gotten old. John Lewis and Sainsbury’s are both very creative and “in the spirit.” They are both winners, although neither will probably sell anything which is the only criteria we value in the U.S., and my vote is for Sainsbury by a hair.

Gajendra Ratnavel
Guest
2 years 8 days ago

For me, Mog’s Christmas Calamity and Man on the Moon fail to make a brand/product connection. Man on the Moon makes an emotional connection but it is too generic. Your Rules is great, has a good audience target, great brand relevance/connection and has a good emotional connection although maybe not enough holiday theme.

Yes, something like Your Rules will certainly work.

James Tenser
Guest
2 years 8 days ago
This is certainly the season for mini-movies. I’m not the right generation to relate strongly to the House of Fraser music video, but both the Man on the Moon and Mog the cat managed to tug at my emotions a bit. The former is a highly creative story concept, but lunar isolation is too bleak for my American sensibilities. Perhaps in the land of Dickens this plays a bit better. Mog’s harrowing misadventures were resolved happily through communal consumption. Great message for a food retailer. I thought this was the most effective of the three, although I concur strongly with… Read more »
Richard J. George, Ph.D.
Guest
2 years 8 days ago

All three commercials as shown on YouTube are terrific. The House of Fraser spot highlights the cutting edge fashion that is its targeted position. The 3:30 minute Sainsbury spot is an entertaining story that is used to develop an emotional attachment with Sainsbury. However, my personal favorite is the John Lewis spot, which like the Sainsbury ad tugs on the heart strings. This two minute commercial has it all: children, seniors, dreaming and a fairy tale ending.

All three would work in the U.S. for selected retailers depending on their primary target markets.

J. Peter Deeb
Guest
2 years 8 days ago

For any of these ads to work in the DVR, fast-forward world that is the U.S. viewing market they would have to be considerably shorter and quicker to the point! It is hard to pick a favorite because they seem to be aimed at different demographics. The “Your Rules” ad appears to be aimed at Millennials, while the other two are more traditional, family oriented ads. To break through holiday clutter I thing the House of Fraser ad would work best.

Tom Redd
Guest
2 years 8 days ago
House of Fraser is a bit wild for Christmas, but maps into their target markets I am sure. Mog’s: Get rid of the cat! Good commercial and brings forward the spirit of the holidays. Great work. Still, get rid of the cat. I like dogs better. They do not do dumb stuff like cats do. Man on the Moon is the winner. Just a great holiday add and gets across “give vs. receive” even better. I tried out for Man on the Moon and House of Fraser … no call backs. I mean I can dance or sit on a… Read more »
Naomi K. Shapiro
Guest
Naomi K. Shapiro
2 years 8 days ago
House of Fraser: Creative, never know what will happen next, some unusual things — really reinforces individuality. John Lewis: Boring, uncompelling, sappy. I couldn’t pay attention more than the first few seconds and gave up. Sainsbury’s: Felt more like a movie than a commercial (and as a children’s book editor told me, you don’t want children (or a cat) playing with or near a fire, showing other household accidents and feeling sorry for the poor cat). Message at the very end was effective, but not the stuff leading up to it. Would something similar work in the U.S. market? Definitely, with… Read more »
Li McClelland
Guest
Li McClelland
2 years 8 days ago
Fraser was schizophrenic. I did not “get” it. Here we had a wonderful Leslie Gore song from the 1960s about freedom, juxtaposed against 2015’s off-putting selfish excess, presented by a store that many of us have visited on trips because it has roots and tradition in British style. Whew! That dining table scene was pretty amazing, though! The moon did not really grab me even though the film production was well done. Maybe the theme of sad and lonely old people has been done enough already? Cat lovers around the world rejoice! For once it was a “moggie” not a… Read more »
Lee Kent
Guest
2 years 8 days ago

Now we’re talking! All 3 ads were great. John Lewis drew the best emotion, but House of Fraser sold the brand.

For my 2 cents.

Kai Clarke
Guest
2 years 4 days ago

Sainsbury’s is different, memorable and clearly has a higher impact. These are key ingredients to a successful advertising campaign, and Sainsbury’s has made a winner here. It is important that we only see a limited selection of foreign commercials, and they are often the best of the best….

Shilpa Rao
Guest
2 years 1 day ago

“Man On the Moon” is definitely tear jerking and very emotional commercial, but does not capture John Lewis’s essence. This could be a commercial by any retailer. The commercial itself is excellent, but for brand recall it gets lower points. Same is the case with the Sainsbury’s advertisement, however ,Mog would get people talking. I would rate your rules as Number 1 for reaching the target audience with peppy lingering music which would stick in your head for days and clever shots displaying the products.

All the three would work well for US audiences.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Sainsbury’s is my favorite and I can see it being successful across a wide variety of markets, both online and on TV. It is both funny and heartwarming, and despite the slightly unnerving CGI cat it is totally charming."
"The thing that strikes me first is that U.K. consumers have MUCH longer attention spans than those in the U.S., even if these ads only ran on the internet."
"This is certainly the season for mini-movies. I’m not the right generation to relate strongly to the House of Fraser music video, but both the Man on the Moon and Mog the cat managed to tug at my emotions a bit."

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