Creativity at Christmas

11 December 2018

Most of us know the drill when it comes to Christmas, right? How tradition states we should all eat Turkey on Christmas Day (and Turkey sandwiches for the next two weeks after that) and how it’s good luck to kiss underneath the mistletoe. As we’re seeing things a little bit differently this Christmas, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to share a few (hopefully) lesser known festive titbits. Should you already be in the know, perhaps a refresher will help you impress Uncle Ted after he’s had a whisky or two!

Why is the big man always dressed in red?

It’s simply down to a genius bit of branding from Coca-Cola that Santa Claus’s outfit is red and white. Santa was bit more free-spirited with his colours before the 1930s. He visited children around the world in an outfit made up of blue, white and green. Then in the thirties Coca-Cola began portraying Santa in their ads in a white and red outfit – which as we all know, happen to be their brand colours! So boys and girls, Coca-Cola officially re-branded Santa Claus, how’s that for a claim to fame? Definitely makes you wonder what he’d be wearing these days had Pepsi been the market leader at the time…

Who shuns a roast for a KFC on Christmas day?

A successful marketing campaign in Japan entitled ‘Kentucky for Christmas’ began in the mid 1970s and saw KFC become a firm festive favourite. According to ABC News, “A KFC employee saw an opportunity to cash in, and the company launched its first Christmas meal in 1974, which was chicken and wine for $10, a pricey meal at the time”. Today in Japan, the KFC meal replaces the traditional Christmas dinner and is so popular that you’ll have to make a reservation for Christmas dinner two months in advance. There are plenty of videos if you’re curious, but here’s our favourite.

Is there more to Rudolph than meets the eye?

Even if you can only name one of Santa’s reindeers, there’s probably one in particular that springs to mind. But Rudolph’s origin story is less wholesome than you might expect. He was first spotted in a promotional festive colouring book in the 1930s, produced by a Chicago department store to lure in more Christmas punters. His red nose was a hot topic at the time too as many worried it would imply he was an alcoholic.

How did the cracker get its cracking shape?

I’m sure many of us suspect that M&S or another of the high street greats created the first Christmas cracker, but in fact it was London sweet maker Tom Smith in 1847. Tom created the cracker as a development of his popular bonbon sweets, which he sold in a twist of paper. As sales of bonbons slumped, he began to come up with new promotional ideas. Alas, the humble cracker was born! And the cracker wrapper packaging idea was based on that twist of paper used to hold the bonbon. At least now you’ll know who to thank on Christmas day when you’re picking mini screwdrivers and nail files up off the floor.

Did you notice something showbiz about the Sainsburys Christmas ad?

If you thought that this year’s Sainsbury’s Christmas ad, entitled ‘The Big Night’ was full of emotion, passion and excitement, then it won’t surprise you to find out that they enlisted the help of The Greatest Showman’s very own Director Michael Gracey. Michael said “I was honoured to be part of bringing Sainsbury’s new Christmas campaign to life”.

The ad begins with a group of school children coming together backstage for a Christmas show. It starts with a nervous northern star, then unfolds into the school Christmas production of dreams, which includes the most wonderful human plug planting itself into a socket and finishes with a dramatic crescendo of Christmas characters, lights and a shooting star! Bravo.

Discover behind the scenes of ‘The Big Night’ here, and listen to what the mini stars have to say about their performance (including the wonderful plug!)

Are banned adverts the secret to success?

One advert that you won’t be seeing on TV this Christmas is Iceland’s orangutan ad. It highlights the impact of palm oil on rainforests through a heart wrenching story of an orangutan whose home is destroyed. Clearcast, the body that approves TV ads, said it wasn’t approved because the film was made by environmental organisation Greenpeace and so breached political advertising rules.

The hard-hitting ad may be banned, however that hasn’t stopped it getting a huge amount of attention. It’s has had over a staggering 30 million views online and backed by celebs including James Corden. A pat on the back for Iceland who haven’t only increased awareness of this topic, but have vowed to abolish the use of palm oil in their own products.

For those of you who are itching to watch it, here you go.

Do you know what’s going on behind the scenes in John Lewis Oxford St?

Unless you’ve been out of the country for the last month, it’s safe to say we’re all quite familiar with this year’s John Lewis Christmas campaign featuring Elton John. In addition to being a lovely tribute to the man himself, it was pretty exciting to see a totally different angle on the usual acoustic cover and emotional storyline combination that we’ve become used to.

In addition to the ad, John Lewis have offered shoppers another fun angle. In their flagship Oxford Street store, they’ve reused the set as an immersive walkthrough experience so that customers can really feel part of the Christmas magic. We were particularly impressed by the attention to detail and commitment to sharing the experience with customers. Take a peek here.

Also, if you thought that you’d seen little Elton somewhere else recently then you weren’t wrong… Before he became a super star, little Elton, played by Freddie Henderson, starred in an advert for Bosch. Definitely one to watch!

Well there you go folks. Hopefully there was something that you didn’t know already or something that will keep Uncle Ted awake long enough to see the Christmas pudding set alight in all its glory!