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The Way To My Wallet Is Through My Heart

The way to my wallet is through my heart

We all mark the beginning of the festive season in different ways. Mine is heralded by the switching on of the Marylebone lights, the launch of Skate! At Somerset House, the unveiling of Claridges’ Christmas tree, the opening of Winter Wonderland and the first sighting of the John Lewis Christmas ad. No prizes for guessing which of these festive traditions makes me cry, and never more so than this year. 

If I was being cynical, I’d say that the cleverest retailers know that the way to my wallet is through my heart. It’s not enough, this Christmas, to unveil a big-budget ad with high production values, or buy the privilege of using Buddy the Elf, as Asda did. How the retailer must have congratulated itself on bagging one of Christmas’s most well-loved characters, one with a history and emotional connection far deeper than Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot, or Lidl’s bear. I bet it imagined that nothing could trump Buddy.

But trumped Buddy was, by a bloke on a skateboard clutching a bag of frozen peas. By highlighting a cause far more valuable than any customer spend – the plight of the 108,000 children currently in the UK care system – John Lewis has won Christmas. The retailer has captured the current mood, which is that customers want more from their brands than product or price point alone. They want a social conscience, and a pledge to give back in a meaningful way (JL has pledged to give 25% of sales of its merchandise from the campaign to two children’s charities). Whether PRs or journalists, we can all heed this message. Christmas is about community. Never have our communities needed us more. 

What Laura Thinks…

“The phrase – “festive face” – made me laugh (but it’s also quite useful as a service piece).” 

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