Sure, we haven’t even eaten our Easter eggs yet but some marketing and communications departments are already busy thinking about Christmas. In fact, retail bosses at Marks and Spencer take the festive season so seriously they start thinking about Christmas before Christmas.
That’s right, according to an article in Campaign, M&S will soon be ready to strategize their Christmas 2018 activities.
Marks and Spencer’s head of International marketing and Christmas (what a job title), Ira Dubinsky, told journalists: “Christmas is such a critical time for retailers, and it’s crucial they connect with customers.”
While many other big brands don’t start their Christmas planning until January, Marks and Spencer needs such a long lead time in the run-up to Christmas to work with product developers and designers.
John Lewis is another retail brand that takes Christmas very seriously and starts their planning efforts early.
Richard Brim, creative director of Adam & Eve/DDB, who produced John Lewis’ “Buster the Boxer” Christmas advert last year, described festive campaigns as an “onslaught”.
Brim said: “Because the planning is done so far ahead, brands and agencies take a certain amount of risk by trying to predict the future. One way of offsetting the risk is to remember that the ad is there to sell the story, and the story can be timeless.”
The question is, as PR professionals, how soon should you be talking about Christmas to your clients?
Too many businesses leave their planning until after the Summer months when in reality they should be ready to go in October. I cannot help but think, if you are just starting to formulate plans around (or after) Halloween – you’re really missing an opportunity.
Should businesses hoping to celebrate a successful festive season in 2017 (and even 2018) take a leaf out of Marks and Spencer’s forward thinking strategy? Or is any mention of Christmas pre-Easter or even pre-summer just too soon?
Leave your comments below and, erm, have a very happy Christmas (OK – a little too early for that).