Marlin PR | Storytelling at Christmas – it’s got pretty good
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Storytelling at Christmas – it’s got pretty good

Buster the Boxer

Storytelling at Christmas – it’s got pretty good

Luke Brazier, Content Director

We love a good Christmas ad at Marlin Towers. Festive cheer, high production values, unabashed emotional manipulation – if you love video content, then November and December are an exciting time of year.

This particularly applies to ‘brand storytelling’. Christmas actually provides some of the most straightforward, most easily appreciable examples of ‘storytelling’. Rather than pushing products, the most popular festive ads have a definite narrative. There’ll be a plotline, characters, and even a condensed, three-act structure. Sure, there’ll be a subtle link back to the brand – or even an overt, in-your-face reference (The Tale of Thomas Burberry springs to mind) – but I’m much happier to watch a story unfold than to sit through another 20 seconds of price comparisons or excruciating crowbarred humour.

H&M’s Christmas ad this year was one of my personal favourites, but that may be because I have a soft spot for Wes Anderson.

Interestingly, the description below H&M’s YouTube video actually refers to the ad as a ‘new film directed by Wes Anderson’. Not an ad, not a promo, not a commercial. A Wes Anderson FILM. And that’s definitely what you get.

But when it comes to conversation around Christmas ads, one brand usually stands out, and this year was no different. Take a bow, John Lewis.

The #BusterTheBoxer ad really split opinions in the office. Some had been hoping for the kind of tear-jerker that we’d previously seen, but others (myself included) were happy to see a different approach. After 2015’s Man on the Moon offering, how could John Lewis go any further down that path without stepping firmly into the realm of the ridiculous? A bit of humour and some endearing animals were just the ticket.

And it seems that the ad did the job, beating the other Christmas videos to the top spot in terms of YouTube views. Whether or not you personally enjoyed it, the reach that it achieved isn’t in question, and many a Christmas conversation included the words “What did you think of the John Lewis ad this year?” Job done, I reckon.