So far this holiday season, the majority of ads have gone the promotional route, touting special sales, low prices and discounted must-have items. Kohl’s, Macy’s and Target ran campaigns that promoted their stores as destinations of value and convenience. Walmart even created its own Monday sales events in November in an effort to entice price-conscious shoppers. The strategy of veering away from emotional storytelling in anthem holiday spots is not surprising given the difficult economic backdrop and lowered expectations of retail sales growth. However, it may not be what shoppers want.
Just 31% of U.S. adults want to see marketing with messaging about economical themes about price and value, and just 28% want to see messaging about sales and promotional events, according to a recent Ad Age-Harris Poll. Pricing is important, even if shoppers don’t care to hear about it—the poll found that 78% of adults consider cost to be somewhat impactful on their holiday purchases.
Most consumers are looking for “seasonally appropriate ads,” the survey found—49% of shoppers want festive ads, 43% want funny, 36% want heartfelt and 34% want nostalgic. Pet retailer Chewy’s recent spot about ugly human holiday fashion goes the funny route, while John Lewis’ highly anticipated ad taps into heartfelt emotion.