Europe’s best digital ad campaigns this Christmas

Aldo AgostinelliIt’s the most wonderful time of year. And the most lucrative: Europeans are expected to spend over £5.8bn / €6.9 billion online this Christmas. High-budget festive TV spots have become a Christmas institution in many countries. The ever-increasing online spend figures show why it’s essential to use digital channels to amplify above-the-line campaigns. With this in mind, I’ve rounded up the best of Europe’s 2016 Christmas ads.
Read in Italian.

Italy

In my native Italy, Christmas ad campaigns aren’t as highly anticipated as they are in other markets and none have made the top tens in international trade titles this year. However, an advert that has created a lot of noise inside Italy is by Motta, who are known for producing panettone, the traditional Italian Christmas cake. In their Christmas spot they suggested they could have used ‘hipster’ healthy foods such as tofu to make their panettone… but instead they chose to follow the traditional recipe they’ve been using since 1919.

Whilst it was not a digital campaign it managed to generate significant online conversation: it led to online backlash from vegans, which meant significant earned media. It shows that the root of social is sharing an opinion and gives a lesson to every digital campaign: choose creative that will make people talk.

United Kingdom

Aldo AgostinelliThe UK offers a number of exciting Christmas spots. In number one place is John Lewis. Their Christmas TV ad has become increasingly hyped in the past five years, with beautiful and sentimental work delivered by adam&eve year after year. This year’s Buster the Boxer was no different. However, the stand-out element of the campaign is its digital execution. The ad premiered on Facebook and was supported by a Snapchat filter (available in all stores), Twitter stickers and an in-store and online virtual reality experience that let customers bounce along with the trampoline-loving star of the campaign. The department store has given a masterclass in how digital, particularly new hybrid AR experiences, can drive customers into store.

I also like Sainsbury’s effort. They supported their animated ad with an app to create your own animation. A sing-along social competition is another example of how supermarket have made digital integral to the campaign.

France

Across the channel, Orange’s ‘Big Noel’ campaign was complemented by France’s first Twitter chatbot: ‘Chris Mas’. In fact, the French have really embraced chatbots. Disney’s ‘Christmas genie’ finds the perfect Disney Christmas present, and Sephora and Decathlon have also launched bots to match e-shoppers with a personalised gift selection.

Chatbots will play an increasingly important role in ecommerce in 2017 because they allow personalisation at scale, meaning they can drive purchases and speed up customer service. It’s great to see retailers capitalising on them during this crucial retail period.

Poland

A heartwarming spot from Poland went viral, showing that you can’t script virality. No matter how carefully you plan your digital campaign, sometimes pure human relatability wins.

Spain

Spain’s Christmas lottery advert is, as always, one of the nation’s favourites but, unlike last year’s charming spot, hasn’t created international buzz.

I’ve seen campaigns that embrace digital in the sense that they have a hashtag, but nothing revolutionary. Spanish marketers – I’d love you to prove me wrong. Please share your favourite campaigns for Christmas 2016 in the comments.

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