John Lewis' Chart-Topping Holiday Hits

  • by , Op-Ed Contributor, November 12, 2015
It goes without saying that a successful holiday season is vital for retailers’ sales. With last year’s holiday spending hitting $602 billion, retailers need to be ahead of the game when it comes to marketing and advertising.

One retailer in particular, UK-based department store John Lewis, has been topping the list of online video campaigns year over year. So
it comes as no surprise that we’re already seeing success for its much anticipated 2015 campaign, “#ManOnTheMoon.”

John Lewis through the years:

-- 2012’s “The Journey” holiday campaign featured a snowman traveling far and wide to find his “snow wife” gloves to keep her warm, and garnered 6.3 million views and 481,000 social interactions.

-- 2013’s “The Bear & the Hare” featured a hare that got his bear friend a clock to wake him up for his first Christmas, and generated more than 32 million views and 1.9 million social interactions.



-- 2014’s “Monty the Penguin” showcased a child who got his “pet” penguin Monty a long-wanted companion, and garnered over 36 million views, 1.2 million social interactions, and over 150 user-generated videos.

-- 2015’s “#ManOnTheMoon,” less than a week in, has already garnered over 19.1 million views and 581,000 social interactions. The video follows a little girl, Lily, who sees a lonely old man living on the moon while looking through her telescope. After her unsuccessful attempts to contact him, he sees a gift tied to balloons floating towards him on Christmas morning. The old man opens the gift to find a telescope, looks through it towards earth, and finds Lily smiling and waving back at him.

How does the retailer do it?

Heartwarming content. Creating heartwarming, movie-like short films focused on connecting with and buying meaningful gifts for loved ones during the holiday season has been a winning strategy for John Lewis. The retailer successfully creates holiday campaigns that the audience actually wants to watch, resulting in viewers becoming invested in the story and driving massive viewership and social interactions for the campaigns each year.

Consistent theme. Finding a campaign approach that works and sticking with it year after year results in viewers looking forward to each campaign and seeking out content from the retailer.

Multiple creatives. John Lewis releases  multiple videos throughout the holiday season, increasing both views and social interactions. This year, In addition to the short film, John Lewis is engaging viewers through Facebook videos, asking “What gift would you send The Man on the Moon?” and promising to animate the best gift ideas.

Non-video content. John Lewis also releases interactive non-video content that ties into its campaigns. This year it created an app called “Bring the Moon to Life,” moon surface displays in stores, and “Man on the Moon” merchandise. It released similar content for “Monty the Penguin” last year. Linking its online video campaigns to a larger holiday effort helps extend the campaign’s life.

Charitable connection. John Lewis also ties in a charitable component to its holiday campaigns. Last year it partnered with the WWF, helping preserve the home of the Adélie penguin in Antarctica. This year, it’s soliciting donations to Age UK, which provides services to the elderly. Partnering with a charity relevant to the campaign adds to the heartwarming feelings these ads elicit from viewers, influencing their feelings towards the retailer and further encouraging them to shop at John Lewis stores.

While it’s still early to know for sure, it looks like John Lewis will once again take the lead when it comes to top holiday campaigns — and other retailers should take note.

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