John Lewis and Marks & Spencer went head to head in this years competition of the Christmas advertisements. Each took on their own unique storyline, but which of the two do you believe came out on top?
Both adverts are highly amusing, with catchy music, an entertaining storyline and full blown holiday pizazz. But the question is not about ‘appearance’ per se but about effectiveness. In other words, which of the adverts appeal more to their defined target market?
John Lewis CEO, Andy Street, defines their customers as “Younger, more urban, more socially aware, they probably travel the world and have more liberal attitudes” The John Lewis target market is the upper, middle class, most likely in their 30s and 40s and they are able to spend on quality clothing, furnishings and technologies for the whole family.
Defining the target market for Marks & Spencer proves to be more of a challenge. Falling sales can be attributed to the company’s confusion on who they are actually selling to. Their food hall is keeping the company afoot, appealing to both old and young who appreciate and can afford good food. It is their clothing section that dwindles. Who is their target market for their infamous knickers and cardigans? British model, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, has collaborated with the brand by introducing a lingerie line. She is certainly young and beautiful, but who is actually buying these glamorous products? Is it the style conscious 20 something year old? Being a twenty something year old, who considers herself somewhat stylish, I am afraid to say that no, it is not those in my age gap that are interested in what Marks & Spencer has to sell lingerie wise.
This confusion of who their target market is announced even further in their Christmas advert. The advert takes on too many themes and squishes them all into a two minute and thirty second segment. The use of celebrity endorsement, the mish mash of childhood fairytales and random, inauthentic product placements, leaves me, the consumer, confused. Yes, at first watch, I was dazed by the beautiful models, but upon a second and more critical watch, I believe less in the ‘Magic and Sparkle’ Marks & Spencer hopes so much to sell.
The John Lewis advert, on the other hand, effectively appeals to its target market; it was a well spent £7 million. We can all relate to that special Christmas story, and John Lewis illuminates this through its advert of the hare giving its best friend, the bear, its first Christmas. The clear story line of the bear and the hare and beautiful vocals of Lily Allen singing ‘Somewhere Only We Know’ tugs at the heart strings of all consumers. It appeals to the mums and dads, as well as the kids, and even to me, the 20 something year old.
Give the adverts a watch, and tell me, where will you be doing your Christmas shopping this holiday season?