Dire warnings about a chaotic Christmas due to supply chain issues and lack of truck drivers continue to hammer the U.K. In turn, online retailer Very is urging consumers to "start Christmas early" and is doing so itself by dropping the first British holiday ad of the year.
The TV commercial, which debuted Oct.1, even pokes fun at itself for going out so far ahead of time. As a family decorates the house and sings a version of "Holly Jolly Christmas," we see Halloween trick-or-treaters looking dismayed when the door is opened by people wearing Christmas jumpers and proffering mince pies.
Very was also one of the first brands to debut its Christmas ad last year, That, however, happened a whole month later at the beginning of November.
The spot also playfully suggests that starting holiday decorating and Christmas lists early might be a good way to get kids doing the chores; in another scene, twin boys enthusiastically wash dishes next to a drawing of a new gaming console they’ve pinned up, while another child stands next to the sofa, waiting on his parents with a dishcloth over his arm.
Created by Grey London and directed by Frank Todaro, the ad is light-hearted fun. But its launch 85 days before Christmas day is based on a serious insight: Very stated that its data shows that holiday-related search terms, both on-site and via external search engine, started earlier this year, with numbers starting to pick up from early August.
Traditionally, U.K. Christmas ad season starts in early November, but supply chain issues suggest that others could go early this year; for example, several U.K. grocers are already offering Christmas delivery slots amid predictions that there could be a shortage of items including turkeys.
While supply chain issues are not confined to the U.K. (U.S. retailers also struggling amid a global shortfall of goods), Britain has been hit particularly hard in the wake of Brexit.
Many European delivery drivers exited for their home countries after the U.K. left the European Union, and the government is now looking at offering them short term visas to return. There is also a shortage of butchers and abbatoir workers, as many came from Europe, leading to fears that "pigs in blankets" could be off the menu this Christmas.
According to Very, however, its early entry is more about embracing the season after last year's low-key U.K. Christmas period when families were not allowed to mingle.
“Our mantra is about enabling people to purchase what they need—be it treats or everyday items—that create joy 'this Very moment,'" said Carly O’Brien, chief marketing officer at The Very Group, in a statement. "After Christmas was pared back for many last year by last-minute lockdowns, we wanted to get into the spirit early and unashamedly embrace the season as soon as the leaves start to fall."
While we have yet to see a holiday ad drop in the U.S., Stateside retailers began their promotions for holiday offers in September amid their own supply chain concerns.