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In the battle of the Christmas ads, Waitrose wins it for me



It’s only early November but the battle amongst the supermarkets for Christmas trade is well and truly on. Surprisingly, it was budget supermarkets Lidl and Aldi who got the ball rolling. There is no subtly or overt attempts at being cute in their marketing strategy, the focus is purely upon the quality of the food and drink that will grace our dining tables over xmas. When it comes to the more mainstream retail stores of John Lewis, Waitrose, Sainsburys and Tesco, the battlefield is somewhat different. The focus here is on creating entertaining talking points that will generate social media activity whilst at the same time delivering an overall message about the brand itself.
Everyone is talking about the penguins. John Lewis always come up with a well produced, heart-rending little vignette that successfully sums up the meaning of Christmas (in it’s most purely commercial sense, of course!). But for me, it is John Lewis’s sister company, Waitrose, who have won the day. Their advert revolves around a shy, slightly different girl, who exists perhaps a little out of her time. There may be some hint that she has certain behavioural issues that make it more difficult for her to join in with and relate to her contemporaries.
But this girl is determined to take part in the Christmas fair. With the help of the assistant at Waitrose, she bakes gingerbread biscuits, carefully forming them into festive shapes. Whilst she is out, the dog destroys her creations and although bitterly disheartened, she begins again, making them even better this time. The girl painstakingly decorates the second batch and sets up her stall at the school. The biscuits are a great success and she actually finds she enjoys the process, slowly coming out of herself.
There is one biscuit left which the girl makes sure that she wraps up and takes into the assistant at Waitrose who helped her out.
I like this advert much better than the penguins, because it has a proper message. It quite clearly sets out Waitrose’s values – slightly old fashioned, good quality ingredients, possibly out of step with their contemporaries but polite, helpful and recognising what is really important in life.
Now, I don’t work for Waitrose and I don’t even shop there very often, but I can still tell that this advert is successful in terms of the way it delivers their ideals on a plate. I also like the message it conveys; it isn’t purely commercial but celebrates perseverance and how communities should strive to include everyone, particularly at Christmas time.
Will it make me buy my food at Waitrose over the festive season? Actually, it might, or perhaps just some of it. But certainly as a piece of art, it is spot on and for me this ad beats the glitter, sparkles and penguins hands down.

Image courtesy of by Jannoon 028

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