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AdLib: Festive ads are gift for firms but campaigns not just for Christmas



Feel-good effect:  Everyone has a favourite Christmas ad, from Spar to the Barry’s Tea ‘Train Set’ radio ad

Feel-good effect: Everyone has a favourite Christmas ad, from Spar to the Barry’s Tea ‘Train Set’ radio ad

Feel-good effect: Everyone has a favourite Christmas ad, from Spar to the Barry’s Tea ‘Train Set’ radio ad

Expensive, feel-good TV ads are part and parcel of the Christmas season. For some people, festivities don't start until the big red Coca-Cola truck rolls out on TV screens. Or, where the man at the home of black stuff reminds friends not to forget to turn the lights off.

Others can't resist tweeting about the latest blockbuster from British department store John Lewis.

Everyone has a favourite, from Spar to the Barry's Tea 'Train Set' radio ad.

But do Christmas ads work? A team at British predictive analytics agency Brightblue measured the effectiveness of marketing spend. By using client data and software, they found out what drives sales, revenue and profit and the value of Yuletide campaigns.

There's the issue of how Christmas ads affect profits. But there's also the wider impact of brand health.

While consumers are used to big budget TV ads, brands run these campaigns across multi-channel, so the results reflect the performance of big budget multi-channel Christmas campaigns.

Do Christmas ads enhance profits? Brightblue claims quite simply - yes, they do.

By analysing client data, they found that for every pound invested in Christmas campaigns, between £1.50 and £4.50 in profit is generated, as measured over three years.

Increases in returns were driven by using a mix of ad channels and creativity. Ad campaigns with a wider channel mix maximised reach and drove higher profits from marketing spend. While it can be tricky to forecast good or bad creative, ads which resonate strongly with audiences see decidedly improved returns.

How do Christmas ads stack up against ads run through the rest of the year? Brightblue found most of the measured Christmas campaigns are less effective than those run at other times. Christmas campaigns perform with a variation from +5pc to -22pc. Why so? The study identified two reasons.

Firstly, campaigns run around Christmas face higher costs for TV airtime. Secondly, marketing impact is more incremental at other times of the year. Christmas ads can preach to the converted as many consumers have already decided what they'll buy their loved ones before December starts.

So while Brightblue's research shows that Christmas ads drive profits, brands must balance the level of spend between Christmas and other times of the year.

* Fill Your Heart With Ireland is the first major tourism ad campaign for the whole island since 2011. Tourism Ireland's Mark Henry says the marketing drive will have a new twist to it. To prove that the country can fill visitors' hearts, a couple of tourists that came here had heart monitors attached to them.

The monitors were linked up to a camera so Tourism Ireland could capture what excited them most.

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Launched by Tourism Minister Brendan Griffin, the new ads go live this week on TV and cinema in Britain, France and Germany. The campaign then extends to the US on St Stephen's Day.

* Email generates over £30bn in retail sales in the UK annually. EmailVerifier.com says the take could easily be increased if companies improved their mailing lists. Some small and medium enterprises (SMEs) lose as much as £13,000 a year, thanks to a 6pc email bounce rate. While 6pc may seem quite a high figure post-GDPR, even a 1pc bounce rate can cost a company £2,000 a year.

* It should be interesting to see who takes over as president and vice-president of the Public Relations Institute (PRII) as Cian Connaughton and Justin Green's respective terms come to an end. Five vacancies are up for grabs on the PRII national council, all of which are due to be filled at the institute's AGM at the end of January.

* And finally... Irish marketers' adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) grew by 45pc last year, Salesforce reports. While it may seem like a sizeable increase, it's from a very low base. GDPR seems to have worked as half of marketing teams say they are more mindful of getting the balance right between sending personalised messages and customer privacy.

Michael Cullen is editor of Marketing.ie; cullen@marketing.ie

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