With large family gatherings banned, Christmas looks set to be a little different this year. It means that traditional festive ads depicting glittering Christmas parties and fabulous feasts will need to be replaced… but with that?
Deciding what messaging to run with presents a big challenge for brands – how do they succeed in drumming up festive cheer at a time when the world is in the doldrums?
Amazon have opted to address the situation head-on, with a global Christmas campaign that follows a young ballet dancer whose dreams are dashed due to the Covid-19 crisis. The girl is devastated when her end of year performance is cancelled, but the story has a happy ending. Her little sister and community pull together to give the budding ballerina a rooftop stage and socially-distanced audience (naturally, as she dances, it starts to snow).
The ad, created by Lucky Generals, features French ballerina Taïs Vinolo, and was shot by director Melina Matsouka, who has directed music videos for Beyoncé and Rihanna.
Simon Morris, vice-president for global creative at Amazon, said the goal of the campaign was to celebrate the community spirit that has seen us through the pandemic: “Our TV ad is inspired by, and pays tribute to, the unbeatable human spirit and the power of community that we have witnessed so often this year.”
But Amazon’s Christmas ad also takes this opportunity to speak to another important shift that’s taken place in 2020; it features a cast of black performers. Crucially, the role of the ballerina is given to a black dancer.
Vinolo, the ballet dancer who stars in the ad, said: “When I was growing up in the French countryside, there were no young black girls studying ballet with hair like mine or even on TV, meaning I had no-one to identify myself with. I am so proud to have been part of this project, since the message of it means a lot to me and even more so in this very difficult time that the world is going through.”
Does Amazon’s Christmas ad achieve its goal?
We wanted to put Amazon’s Christmas ad to the test to see how consumers feel about it (creative testing is easy on the Attest platform; you simply embed the ad in a survey, ask respondents to watch it and then ask a series of questions). Often creative testing is carried out before an ad is aired but, in this case, it allows us to see if the ad has been well-received by the viewing public.
We asked 250 UK consumers to watch the full-length 2-minute version of Amazon’s ad ‘The Show Must Go On’ and share their initial reaction. The response was overwhelmingly positive, with nearly 43% of people saying they “love” the ad and another 36% who said they liked it. Only 11% disliked the ad, while the remaining 10% neither liked nor disliked it.
‘The Show Must Go On’ is a move away from Amazon’s previous Christmas ads, where delivery boxes come to life. Amazon are hoping consumers will find this year’s campaign uplifting, and 80% agree that they do (42% “strongly agree”). But is Amazon’s alternative approach to the festive season memorable? According to 78% of respondents, it is, although 12% disagree.
And how about the ad’s stereotype-busting casting? 70% of UK consumers agree it’s good to see a black ballerina represented, including 43% of people who “strongly agree” with this. But, while only 5% actively disagree, a quarter of respondents remain on the fence.
In their own words
Viewers had a lot of good things to say about Amazon’s new ad. Those who loved it found it to be “inspiring”, “feel good” and “emotional”. Here’s what they said:
On the other hand, criticism of the advert included its long length, not being “Christmassy” enough and failing to represent the UK. People said:
Amazon has come under fire from campaign groups for poaching business from smaller retailers struggling through the pandemic but, after seeing this Christmas ad, the majority of consumers are left with a positive perception of the retail giant.
Just over 41% of respondents describe their perception of Amazon as “positive”, while 32% say it’s “very positive”. This suggests that the message of the ad – that Amazon is there when you need it most – has resonated with viewers.
In fact, digging deeper into the perceptions this ad gives viewers, nearly 69% of respondents agree it makes them think of Amazon as a retailer supporting people through the pandemic (33% strongly agree with this).
Despite this, nearly a quarter of people remain neutral on their perception of Amazon after seeing the ad, so there is still an opportunity to win consumers over.
Overall, Amazon’s Christmas campaign has been a hit with Brits – but will it get digital tills ringing this December? We asked respondents how likely they are to shop on Amazon this Christmas after seeing the ad.
According to the results, the creative has succeeded in moving the needle; 48% of viewers say they’re more likely to shop on Amazon than they were before. Purchase intent remains unchanged for 46% of people, but only 6% are less likely to shop on the marketplace this Christmas as a result of watching the ad.
Creating a Christmas cracker
Our data shows that Amazon’s uplifting story of a ballerina will help to restore people’s Christmas spirit at a difficult time. Brands need to be particularly careful at the moment to strike the right balance between celebration and sensitivity, making creative testing for Christmas ads extra valuable.
If you’re planning a festive campaign and want to be sure it will strike the right note with consumers, learn how to test your creative quickly and simply by downloading our free guide.