John Lewis has booked a full X Factor ad break for its Christmas campaign. While Asda lays on hard-up, hungry snowmen and is totally celeb-free. Who wins?
Let it snowIt's difficult to know at this point. One of the Asda ads - up to 20 are in the offing, though none released yet - sees a camera pan along a line of three shabby, hungry snowmen (that's Sainsbury's, Tesco and Morrisons). The camera focuses on the last one - the happiest, donning green hat and scarf, fatter and cheerier than his neighbours. Yep, it's the Asda guy.
Crude and simple but Asda says the ad, also booked for an X-factor commercial break, says its food and drink are "the real stars of the show". "We think," says Asda's chief marketing officer, Steve Smith, "it's more important to invest money directly into lowering the prices of all our products instead of producing costly campaigns that just keep the ad guys happy.
Slob outAsda's ad guys did not make the Wal-Mart-owned company happy last year. Asda's 2012 Christmas ad featured a hard-done Mum quietly organising the family Christmas while children and husband slobbed out. "Sexist" cried more than 600 complaints to the UK advertising watchdog.
This year Lidl and Aldi are laying sharpish tree needles under rivals, emphasising luxury-end products in efforts to ensure their increasing ABC1 demographic - one in five Lidl shoppers is claimed to be middle class - stays sticky through the Christmas/New Year season. Witness Aldi's new 'prestige' spirits range.
Ruldoph for dinnerAldi features a 1973 Napoleon Vintage brandy which it claims is worth £107 (but yours for £29.99). Lidl - its TV ad features a cover of One Direction song 'All these Little [Lidl] Things' - is pushing reindeer steaks for £7.99 from its Deluxe range, plus whole-cooked lobster for £5.99.
Meanwhile Waitrose raises the tone somewhat, as you'd expect, with the emphasis on community and Giving Something Back. Their ad is a roast gammon lunch served to 40 OAPs in a church hall. Subtle and not so subtle, it's all marketing for profit. Which takes your Christmas cash?