With the crucial battle for Christmas sales joined in earnest, British Baker asked marketing expert Mark McCulloch, founder and chief executive of agency WE ARE Spectacular, for his opinion on this year’s advertising strategies.
"As a client (having been one myself) buying creative is so hard, especially for Christmas as you are doing it in advance. You have to judge what the customer truth, human truth and product truth will be 6-12 months out, depending on how prepared you are.
"There are quite a few forgettable ads this year, however none feel wrong or out of place. Outside of the supermarket sector, I would cite Harvey Nichols’ #giftface and Argos’s continued set of relevant ads as two that stand out from the crowd.
"I am a bit sad and do analyse ads when I see them to ask either what were they thinking or what were they thinking?!?
"I consider environmental factors and at the moment the weather has been mild, therefore the general workplace chat is that people "don’t feel very Christmassy just yet". This means that some of the more traditional ads will come into their own.
"I also think about target market and don’t react to ads from a personal perspective as if I think "I don’t get it" then it may not have been aimed at me.
"As I view them, the more traditional ads are presently doing nothing new and as such neither pique interest nor create a warm glow, but that may change as the weather changes and we head down the tunnel that leads to Christmas.
"In my humble opinion, the ads that are winning here are the ones that are new news or have taken a very creative angle on Christmas. The ASDA ad is wonderfully bright, vibrant and exciting, although it is let down by showing the staff in fleeces and the store. Everything leading up to that end slide is incredible.
"Tesco have done an amazing job of bringing gluten free to the masses and, as it is part of a series of ads, is very clear and strong indeed.
"Lidl are continuing to knock it out of the park by the use of comedy, positioning themselves by means of humour and characters as more upmarket and middle class.
"The last thing of note is that some ads have hashtags and some don’t. However, they do not push people to ’search Tesco’ or push to the social media channels of choice explicitly. This would be a good call to action at the end frame or through the ads as many viewers will be online, on video on demand or seeing a second/third screening and it is a missed opportunity for a click or a sale."