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Why The John Lewis Advert Is A Content Marketing Masterpiece6 min read

6 min read

[vc_row][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_raw_html]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[/vc_raw_html][text_output]The latest Christmas advert by John Lewis is currently taking the social media world by storm. John Lewis is constantly trending on Twitter, and it’s all because of their 2014 Christmas Advert, which has already had a staggering 4,365,105 views on YouTube.

It stars a young boy and a ridiculously cute penguin on their adventures. As best friends, they do everything together, from trampolining to football and even sharing their dinner. However, the little boy starts to realise that his best mate is lonely when they spot couples in love. The thoughtful boy then surprises Monty the penguin on Christmas day by getting him a Penguin female friend for Christmas. It’s a heart-warming tale that has captured the hearts of the nation with a tagline that sums the advert up, ‘Give someone the Christmas they’ve been dreaming of.’

People have been waiting in anticipation for this advert, constantly refreshing their newsfeeds until this year’s ad was finally revealed. For the last five years, John Lewis Christmas adverts have been a roaring success. Their first major success was in 2011 with ‘The Long Wait’, which got 1 million views in its first few days. Following on from that was ‘The Journey’ in 2012 which has now had 4,711,086 views on YouTube and featured a snowman hunting for a present for his partner. Last year’s ad, ‘The Bear and The Hare’ was even more popular, it’s now been viewed 4,796,086 times. This year’s effort has nearly beaten last year’s figures and its only been up for a few days.

John Lewis have delivered another piece of marketing heaven for Christmas 2014, but how do they do it? What makes these ads such successful pieces of content marketing?[/text_output][x_video_embed type=”16:9″][/x_video_embed][text_output]A massive buildup

The first thing you need to deliver a successful piece of content marketing is anticipation partnered with a big build up. You need to spark interest and get people talking and this is what John Lewis does. They position their ads as kind of a big deal and this year’s ad is no exception.

The launch of #montythepenguin was like the build up to the release of a major blockbuster. This ad has teaser trailers, the making of, posters and even Monty merchandise. It will be broadcast on TV during Gogglebox on Friday night on Channel 4. There were also teaser posters placed strategically around London underground.

Some marketers hope to have viral video success simply by making a great video and posting it online. It doesn’t matter how fantastic your video is, it won’t be a content marketing success unless you know how and where to promote it.

Emotion generates shares

If you want anything to be successful online it needs to tap into people’s emotions. Look through the most successful pieces of content on Buzz Sumo and you will constantly see funny, sad, heart-warming and controversial stories.

The montythepenguin ad is so powerful because it plays on people’s emotions, at a time of year when we are more susceptible to ads that play on our heartstrings. This ad gives people an insight into a little child’s imagination and allows them to escape from the stresses of life momentarily.

All creative content marketing campaigns should generate some kind of emotional response. A study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania, which looked at the most emailed articles found that ‘more emotional stories were more likely to be e-mailed and positive articles were shared more than negative ones.’ However, in the case of the John Lewis advert even those criticising the advert were essentially helping to promote their brand. The fact is people have an opinion on it and they can’t wait to express it on social media.[/text_output][image type=”none” float=”none” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” src=”4931″][text_output]Music + stars + covers = success

If you can get an up and coming celebrity to feature in your marketing campaign it’s naturally going to get a big boost. Better still, if they sing a catchy song you are on to a winner. John Lewis have featured up and coming artists, just at the right time in their careers.

When Ellie Goulding featured in their ad she was on her way to superstardom, having just won the Critics’ Choice Award at the Brits, perfect timing. Other stars to feature in the ads include Lily Allen and Gabrielle Aplin. This year’s rising star is Tom Odell who sings John Lennon’s Real Love.

Another key ingredient to the John Lewis Christmas ads is a cover song. They usually feature stripped down covers in their ads which are sent straight to the top of the charts following the release of the adverts. They have created a successful formula that audiences have become acclimatised to; the same can be said for some of the most memorable content marketing campaigns.

Cute Animals and kids

Videos of cute kids and especially animals rule the internet. From ‘grumpy cat’ to the world’s cutest dog, a Pomeranian named ‘Boo’. Some of YouTube’s most popular videos feature animals including ‘sneezing panda’, ‘Tillman the skateboarding dog’ and ‘keyboard cat’. How can anyone fail to enjoy watching a penguin on a trampoline? Monty is already famous just like Aleksandr Orlov the meerkat and Churchill the Bulldog.

Not an obvious sales pitch

Another important point is that this ad is not an obvious sales pitch. How many successful content marketing campaigns have included a big sales pitch? Very few. You need to draw your audience in first with something compelling that reflects the values of your brand.

However, the fact that they are not overtly selling hasn’t stopped John Lewis from raking in the cash following the success of their adverts. Last year’s advert was nothing to do with the department store, the woodland characters in The Bear and The Hare helped to boost sales for John Lewis by 6.9% year on year. In 2012 they had a 44.3% sales increase online following the ‘The Journey’ snowman advert.

This year’s advert had a mind blowing budget of £7 million including the production of the advert, in-store advertising, paying for television advertising space and other advertising including online and in newspapers.

Social media buzz/integration

Montythepenguin was revealed on Twitter; with 255 million monthly active users (Media Bistro) it’s not a bad place to start a marketing campaign. Even before the video was shown people were discussing what it might be about and frantically looking for teasers. This year’s effort was very cleverly integrated with social media, gradually building momentum until its big launch on Twitter.

Video is also an extremely valuable online marketing channel, according to eMarketer, 93% of marketers used video for online marketing in 2013. If you aren’t using video as a part of your content marketing strategy you are missing out. According to Moz, ‘of the top 50 most-shared pieces of content, 48% were video, and 24% were image-based.’

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