Christmas 2020: public favours 'real stories' over big-budget campaigns

Three-quarters don't think brands should create usual style of festive ads.

Christmas ads: what would crop of 2020 look like?
Christmas ads: what would crop of 2020 look like?

Three out of four people think brands should not produce their usual style of Christmas campaigns this year and activity should focus on real people, new research suggests.

A survey of 2,000 adults has found that 63% agree brands should not spend money on big, lavish Christmas ads this year, as big-budget "blockbusters" fall out of favour in the Covid-19 era.

The survey, by OnePoll and production company Truman Films, found that one-third of consumers said they would feel less positive about a brand that spends a lot of money on Christmas TV ads considering the impact of the pandemic.

Asked about the style of advertising they would like to see, respondents signalled a preference for real stories and a move away from scripted, fictional characters. Just 8% of people thought brands should cast actors over people telling their own stories.

The survey also found that 36% of consumers think that most Christmas campaigns are overrated, suggesting there is room for brands to rethink their approach.

Jeremy Ervine, executive producer at Truman films, said: “What we have seen in this survey is a shift towards consumers craving real-life, authentic content. It is clear that people want to be moved through emotion, humour or heart-warming content this Christmas in light of Covid-19.

“With the survey finding that 73% of people think brands should not produce their usual seasonal festive ads this year, marketers may want to steer clear of the Hollywood-style epics that we have come to expect in Christmas advertising."

The study, involving "adults who celebrate Christmas", was conducted on 17 July.

A version of this story first appeared on PRWeek

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