Very.co.uk has launched its Christmas campaign celebrating the small moments in the countdown to the holiday.
This is the online retailer’s first festive work by Grey London, which won the business earlier this year. It follows the agency’s debut campaign in October, which was about celebrating life’s little moments of joy and unveiled the new brand tagline, “Life is this Very moment”.
The Christmas ad sends the message that the best thing about 25 December is not just the day itself but all the details in the build-up. It opens with a seemingly perfect celebration before panning out to show the scene is actually a clichéd Christmas TV ad being watched by a sceptical family.
The mum, called Jodie, says to the camera: “You know what Christmas moment I like? Every bloomin’ one of them.”
Set to the track Hot Love by T. Rex, the spot then follows Jodie as she lists all her favourite and imperfect festive moments, including the neighbour’s lights display zapping the National Grid, fitting an oversized tree into the living room, terrible Christmas music and giving presents to everyone from the postwoman to the bin man with the help of Very’s app.
“Christmas is full of amazing moments. Christmas is this Very moment,” the ad concludes.
A 90-second TV ad launched on Sunday night during ITV’s Pride of Britain. It will be supported by out-of-home, print and online activity. A 60-second version and shorter formats focusing on specific festive moments will also run throughout November and December.
The work was created by Matt Moreland, Chris Clarke, Emma Thomas, Ryan Delaney, Angela Harding and Terry O’Neill, and directed by Gary Freedman through Independent Films. Pace, which is part of Vizeum, handled media planning and buying.
As one of the first Christmas campaigns to launch in what has been a troubled year for retail, Very’s strategy might signal some of what is to come from other advertisers this season.
Very’s previous Christmas ads, created by its former agency, St Luke’s, were animated films that told magical and sentimental stories about the holiday.
But this year, which has been marked by a pandemic and economic recession, called for a different approach, Javier Campopiano, Europe chief creative officer and creative chairman at Grey London, said.
“What we’re talking about is reality, real people and real behaviours. It couldn’t be expressed in this surrealistic, magical way that many Christmas campaigns embrace,” he said.
With “so much uncertainty in the air”, Very and Grey questioned their tone, budget and even whether to make a Christmas campaign this year, Raquel Chicourel, chief strategy officer of Grey, said.
In the end, they decided “this may not be the Christmas that we’re used to, but there are some certainties. Christmas is definitely not cancelled and we will all still carry this Christmas spirit,” Chicourel said. “When you look at typical Christmas campaigns they tend to focus on the big day, but we tried to celebrate all the small moments that make Christmas so great.”
Very declined to answer whether it had reduced its Christmas marketing budget this year.
However, as a digital retailer, it will be fighting for customers when shopping habits are increasingly shifting online during the pandemic.
Very’s retail sales increased by 10.5% year on year to £1.2bn in the financial year ending 25 June, driving owner The Very Group’s revenue growth of 2.9% to £2bn.
In June, the group underwent a restructure in the wake of the pandemic, axing 141 roles across its head office and customer care teams and creating 100 new jobs in the technology division.