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It’s that time of year again when we celebrate another fantastic 12 months by stuffing our faces with chocolates, mince pies, biscuits, and washing it all down with plenty of wine, beer and whiskey. And oh yes – something about a star and Jesus too I think.

Christmas is an emotional time. A time we look back at the year gone by, time spent with those we love and cherish. And of course a time for brands and retailers to reach out to consumers and leverage some of that emotional investment in Christmas.

So this Christmas I have put together five of my favourite emotional ad campaigns around the theme of SURPRISE from the last few years. Treat yourself today by making yourself a cup of coffee, relax and click on a few of these fantastic campaigns. They are all great examples of the kind of emotional connections we can build with consumers.

1. The “I’m Dead” surprise from Edeka – A fantastic ad about family and loneliness.

2. The “I Need Love” surprise from the 2014 John Lewis campaign (similar to Edeka, the 2015 JL campaign also focuses on elderly lonliness this year, but I way prefer Monty the Penguin from last year).


3. The “You’re Included” surprise – This one from the Spanish Lottery is a beautiful Pixar like animation and a great story of appreciation and belonging.


4. The “Cat Killed Christmas” surprise from Sainsbury’s this year is another fantastic animation again with a community heart message.


5. And finally one of my favourites from a few years ago – the “WestJet Santa” surprise.
Although 2 years old now, this WestJet’s Christmas Video continues to capture hearts. At over 43m views on You Tube it is still a fantastic example of how a brand can use a ‘surprise and delight’ strategy to really mean something to its customers. If you’ve never seen it, watch it now – trust me. And even if you have, watch it again. It always warms the heart and is worth the 5 minutes.

So what do all these campaigns have in common? They have HEART and they make a consumer FEEL. You will never achieve any kind of bond with consumers unless you make them FEEL. Christmas is an ideal time to leverage those emotional connections. It is a magical time for both children and adults, and as such consumers ‘barriers’ are down when it comes to positive emotions. Brands that get this right own a special place in the consumer mindmap afterwards.

That WestJet example above shows how they really know how to deliver on a LED strategy (Let’s Excite and Delight) – if you have the time today look at some of their other videos on You Tube – they consistently have used surprise and delight to create brand equity and ressonance for the brand. This year their 12,000 mini-miracles brings the brand to life and creates a bond between the WestJetters (employees) and the global customer base that is impressive. This a real win-win-win. Employee empowerment and involvement, brand love, community connections, customer delight. It is not just what Christmas is about, it is what life is about.

And so the question that should arise for you now is how you manage your customer EXCITE & DELIGHT strategy. Is there one? If all you are doing is trying to achieve basic customer satisfaction then you are playing a dangerous game. Good isn’t good enough, not anymore. Brands today have to be more relevant and emotionally ressonate stronger with their customers than ever before. Otherwise you end up as a low value transactional brand, the brand equity graveyard.

And because it is Christmas we will finish on this – for no particular reason other than it is a cute Christmas surprise – the moment 3 little girls meet their new adopted baby brother, wrapped in a blanket under the Christmas tree. One girl gets so excited she nearly wets her pants. When is the last time your brand made that kind of customer impact?!?


A blog to  inspire and delight

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A blog to  inspire and delight