monty the penguin

Golden Content Marketing Means Monty The Penguin Has Already Won Christmas

By now you’ve wiped away the tears, and fallen head over heels in love with Monty The Penguin.

The new John Lewis Christmas TV ad, an unapologetic schmaltz-fest guaranteed to play havoc with the tenderest of human emotions, has hit home hard and is already the most talked about marketing event of the year.

We’ll never look at penguins the same way again.

Christmas is the most important time of the year for retailers and the pressure’s on to grab a share of the £72.7 billion that will be spent in the UK between mid November and the end of December. Competition for the best Christmas campaign is fierce.

And there have been some corking campaigns to encourage Christmas spending down the years.

Last year, for example, Coca Cola used social media in a different way to other brands and created a “Christmas sweater generator” where people could design their own Christmas jumper and enter a competition to win the finished product. To enter the competition you had to post a picture of how your jumper would look to Twitter or Facebook and encourage your friends to vote for your sweater or to enter themselves by creating their own jumper. Easy win and great shareability ensured fame.

Marks & Spencer ad campaign last Christmas was one of our favourites too. The TV ad was based on Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz and featured celebrities Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, David Gandy and Helena Bonham-Carter, making viewers feel as though they were watching a short film rather than an advert.M&S also used social media to encourage user interaction with their brand and drive traffic to their website. Their #petswithsparkle competition encouraged Twitter users to send in festive photos of their pets and received ten thousand entries and their #adventguess competition sent users to their website by tweeting clues about one of their products which viewers had to guess to win.

Costa Coffee is never one to shy away from a good Christmas campaign which utilises social media at its core. In 2012 they ran the ‘Costa Christmas Giveaway’ competition, where fans had the chance to win a number of great prizes with their very own advent calendar. And last Christmas the brand warmed their customers up with a fun photo contest, asking fans to share their moments of festive fun. Simple but hugely effective.

We loved 2013’s Topshop campaign called ‘Dear Topshop’ which was based purely on Pinterest. The brand asked fans to create a moodboard on Pinterest dedicated to the perfect Christmas day. The board could include decorations, your dream dress, tree of choice and any other pins that took your fancy. The best boards were judged to win shopping sprees worth up to £500. Crucially, it put Topshop at the heart of everyone’s Christmas shopping plans.

A Christmas staple in households worldwide, each year Hasbro’s classic MONOPOLY boardgame gets a reinvention for the festive period. In 2009 they launched MONOPOLY City Streets a game board with added benefits of construction and sabotage. To coincide with the launch in 2009 Hasbro launched a Massive Multi-player Online Game which enabled players to buy real streets anywhere in the world. The game was overlaid onto GoogleMaps and was an instant hit, attracting more than 5m players. Other layers included a ‘design a building app’, a launch stunt which saw London’s Shell Tower turned into MONOPOLY HQ for the evening and media drops. The result? The best selling board game for Christmas 2009.

We’re yet to see how this year’s much-vaunted M&S Christmas ad pans out – the signs are good. They’ve ditched the celebs this time around in favour of a sparkly Christmas ad and social media tag #FollowTheFairies.

The new ad features two fairies – Magic & Sparkle – trying to spread festive kindness. It launches on social media today and during X Factor tomorrow night over a soundtrack of Julie London’s ‘Fly Me to the Moon’ with a @TheTwoFairies dedicated Twitter account. The Fairies have already been out and about and even made it snow at one lucky UK primary school this week.

But John Lewis has already won Christmas 2014.

Essentially, the John Lewis 2014 Christmas advertising campaign evokes the magic of make-believe at Christmas through the eyes of a little boy called Sam.

But, underpinning the mushy sentimentality is a mammoth marketing campaign that seriously raises the bar of what is achievable when good content lies at the core of a marketing campaign exploited through multiple channels.

The advert itself was premiered via the retailer’s social media channels for a start – a whole day ahead of its TV debut tonight, November 7, when it airs during the first advert break in Gogglebox on Channel 4.

The reveal followed a clever teaser campaign which used #MontyThePenguin on digital outdoor advertising sites and via Channel 4, where the broadcaster’s ‘idents’ were transformed to feature Monty.

There’s an in-store space called Monty’s Den. In partnership with Samsung, Monty’s Den uses a series of technology-firsts to harness the power of children’s imagination.

There’s ‘Monty’s Magical Toy Machine’ which enables children to bring their favourite toys to life through Microsoft technology and ‘Monty’s Goggles’, which use Google Cardboard to allow children to enter a 360 degree virtual world and interact with Sam and Monty are front and centre in the post-ad strands.

There’s also Sam & Monty’s 360° Panoramic World, a placewhere kids are invited tovirtuallyexplore Sam and Monty’s amazing adventures via their computer, tablet or mobile.

The penguin lovers at the heart of the TV advert, Monty and his love interest Mabel, even have their own Twitter pages where they’ve already been fielding questions from fans. Plus there’s a dedicated section on John Lewis’ unique Monty The Penguin website which links directly to the WWF’s Adopt a penguin campaign – encouraging kids to help Monty’s friends in Antarctica by adopting an Adélie penguin.

There is, of course, merchandise inspired by Monty and Mabel. There’s the cuddly toys of the characters, at £95 a pop – they’ll only need to sell 1,700 in every John Lewis store to claw back their £7m campaign investment – plus a children’s book called ‘Monty’s Christmas’ of which a proportion of the proceeds will go to Barnardo’s, John Lewis’s 150th anniversary charity.

There’s also an audio app version of the book narrated by Dermot O’Leary will also be available on iTunes from today, along with the Real Love single by Tom Odell which is featured as the soundtrack to the TV advert.

There are already a raft of parodies of the iconic advert online and even dating sites jumped on the penguin love story within hours of it hitting the web yesterday – a sure-fire signpost to its soon-to-be-legendary status.

The ad can be seen here:

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