Observations from the UK: austere Christmas advertisements

I must be one of the very few people who didn’t pay much attention to this year’s John Lewis advert until I had a chat with my friend Ian Wood. Ian pointed out that lack of overt consumerism in terms of the number of presents shown in the advert and considered it to be in-tune with a more austere consumer environment, the underlying form being you’re only going to get one present this year, make it a decent one. I had a look at economic indicators versus consumerism in John Lewis adverts pretty soon after I had that discussion with Ian.

Food and family appeared in spade in the adverts, but presents not so much. The closest you had to it was Cadbury’s who wrapped an entire street and the people who lived there then enjoyed each others company and the joy of tearing the wrapping off. When Christmas does come it seems that it will be at a high cost to the economic health of the British consumer; disconcertingly there were reports that savings had hit their lowest point in 40 years for the UK in November as consumers dipped in to fund Christmas.

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One Reply to “Observations from the UK: austere Christmas advertisements”

  1. Since you have returned to HK we have had more indicators that Christmas might not be what was expected for retailers as they have had to offer deep discounts which has resulted in a new tactic. The Consumer is returning good for a refund at higher price then purchasing at discounted price as a new form of rebate. Puts a whole new spin on the women who party in a dress and return it the next day from the boom times.

    Given the amount of desperate marketing emails in my inbox even as late as today I would say that retailers might have misjudged the scale of the Osborne Recovery or Wonga Computer has started to say NO more frequently following pressure from the CofE, MPs and Press for better regulation.

    That said was almost tempted to upgrade PhaseOne back on basis that for the price of a medium sized BMW you get not just more megapixels than you need but also a “free” Mac Pro but they couldn’t deliver by Tuesday ;-)

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