Christmas advertising budgets at record high, Channel 4 announces pan-European broadcaster alliance, and Children’s author alleges John Lewis’ plagiarism

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A pick of the posts that have been in the marketing news this week…

Brands spend big budgets on 2017 Christmas advertising with record £6bn forecast

The Advertising Association says it believes intense market competition, especially within the retail sector, has prompted the rise of big-budget campaigns, suggesting that spending on ads has jumped nearly 40% in just seven years.

Blockbuster ads are fast becoming an anticipated ritual festivity, as according to a survey of 1,000 Brits interviewed on behalf of the Advertising Association, nearly half said they had been moved to tears by Christmas ads they’d seen.

One in six also said they have changed plans to watch the premiere of their favourite Christmas ad.

“There have been so many blockbuster campaigns over the last 10 years,” says Karen Fraser, director of Credos, a think tank which compiled the forecast with the Advertising Association.

“It’s just upped the ante,” adds Karen Fraser, “and so many brands and retailers are looking to compete in that market but it means that everyone needs to work harder to get people’s attention.”

Doing just that, M&S, with its Paddington Bear featured commercial, has created a stir, alongside John Lewis’ Moz the Monster, while Aldi’s engaging Kevin the Carrot animation also makes for entertaining ad viewing.

Channel 4 announces pan-European broadcaster alliance

Looking to achieve the scale it needs to take on the likes of Google’s YouTube and Facebook, Channel 4 has announced its partnership with a pan-European TV advertising alliance.

The European Broadcaster Exchange (EBX) – a continent-wide initiative designed to enable advertisers to target video-on-demand (VOD) commercials with a potential audience of up to 160m viewers – will extend the reach of advertisers backing C4 shows such as Great British Bake Off, Gogglebox and Humans.

Advertisers will have the ability to undertake Europe-wide campaigns utilising Channel 4’s All4 network together with Germany’s ProSiebenSat1, France’s TF1 and Mediaset – which covers both Spain and Italy.

Jonathan Lewis, head of digital and partnership innovation at Channel 4, said: “The demand for multi-territory digital ad campaigns in brand safe and transparent environments is increasing. The video ad market continues to grow exponentially across Europe.”

London-based EBX will launch next year with Channel 4 holding a 25% stake in the business.

Children’s author alleges John Lewis’ plagiarism

A children’s author has accused John Lewis of copying his own children’s picture book.

Chris Riddle, author of Mr Underbed, has spotted a number of similarities between the monster he created in his children’s story and the department store’s 2017 Christmas campaign character.

Alleging plagiarism, but in a ‘tongue-in-cheek’ manner, Riddle posted a Facebook video, flicking through his own story in time with the advert alongside the statement: “John Lewis helps themselves to my picture book.”

Riddle said: “The idea of a monster under the bed is by no means new but the ad does seem to bear a close resemblance to my creation – a big blue unthreatening monster who rocks the bed and snores loudly. Needless to say, I think Mr Underbed is a lot more appealing than Moz, but of course, I’m biased. I’ll be fascinated to hear John Lewis’ thoughts on the matter.”

A John Lewis spokeswoman said: “The story of a big hairy monster under the bed which keeps a child from sleeping is a universal tale which has been told many times over many years.”

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