COVID Christmas Communications

No Naughty List, Tesco UK

It’s that time of year again where Christmas starts suddenly appearing everywhere. Brands release campaigns consisting of months of blood, sweat and $$$. This year brings an interesting talking point – the relevance of COVID in ‘festive season’ comms.

In the UK, locals are heading back into their second lockdown, the US is still preoccupied with counting election votes and Australia is starting to open up. Internationally, we are all just hoping for a Christmas spent away from Zoom… Let’s take a look at how brands across the globe are talking Christmas in 2020.

Give your kitchen a break

This spot for Metro sums up the challenges we have all faced in lockdown and encourages consumers to ‘give your kitchen a break’ this Christmas and support the hard impacted hospitality industry. Metro built the campaign, which is live internationally in 18 countries, based upon the insight that 73% of Germans believe COVID regulations will have a lasting negative impact on the hospitality industry in Germany.

Make this year bigger than Christmas

This 1:40 spot is a perfect example of a brand acknowledging the 2020 year in an honest, respectable, and fun way – it’s refreshingly unique. Geoff Ikon, MYER CCO, “For a year that’s been like no other, this campaign has never been more culturally relevant, and is something we will all be able to relate to. We hope it provides joy and inspiration for Australians to really celebrate this Christmas and, for that matter, all the other occasions that have been missed this year.”

No Naughty List

Tesco is winning over audiences with their light-hearted, cheeky spot set to Brittany Spears iconic hit, ‘Oops!…I did it again’. The spot features people confessing their 2020 sins such as hoarding toilet paper and forgetting to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ when washing their hands; now worried about landing on Santa’s naughty list. But after this year, Tesco says there is no naughty list.

You can’t keep a good thing down

Virgin’s latest campaign features 12-year-old Melbourne schoolgirl, Annie Jones (2020 America’s Got Talent finalist) dancing through an empty airport, unable to contain her happiness at returning to the skies! Whilst not overly referencing lockdown or the lack of air travel throughout 2020, the spot speaks to the ‘fighting spirit’ of beating COVID, lockdown and 2020 in Australia.

2020 has been a (hopefully) one-off year, and personally, as a consumer, I prefer the ads which have referenced the year that we’ve all just faced, in a positive way. It feels slightly too safe and cliché, looking at the ads which have stuck to the ‘traditional’ way of talking Christmas. However, according to the AFR, majority of Australians alternatively say that this year, they are hoping for more inspirational and ‘traditional’ Christmas ads. Read AFR article

According to a survey by media agency Zenith, audiences do not want COVID-19 references in Christmas comms. The survey (carried out 25th October) notes only 13% of respondents want to see references to the pandemic, however (similar to myself) 37% of respondents want ‘fun/entertaining’ content. Read Zennith study.

With most brands normally wrapping up their Christmas campaigns in September, no one could have possibly predicted consumer moods today. It’s interesting to see the brands which have stuck to the traditional way of Christmas comms; but I personally think, with all the uncertainty and variety in messaging and tone; it’s more interesting and insightful to see how consumers are responding to brands who have been more reflective of the year 2020 in their comms.