Holiday Realness

Trends / Realness
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Maxine Ihezie
Dec 12, 2019
Alas, the ‘most wonderful time of the year’ has arrived – maybe even more so for brands. Referred to as the ‘Golden Quarter’, there isn’t a grander event on the marketing calendar than the holiday season. As brands fork out to tap into the cash value of the holidays, the advertising sphere becomes heavily concentrated with brands going bigger, bolder and better. As a result, it can become easy to get lost in the chaos making it difficult to stand out visually. Luckily, brands can achieve this by depicting the real lives of their consumer base.

Realness matters, it’s about showing real people and the real moments that encapsulate the spirit of holidays, such as Christmas. Kantar’s 2018 report found that adverts telling simpler, realistic and relatable stories, linked to Christmas, were positively received. Retailers are increasingly aware of the importance that authentically reflecting the lives of their consumers has in their visual storytelling. In doing so, they are given the opportunity to represent what they stand for whilst putting focus on the fundamental message of connection and togetherness.
Our top sellers and search data indicate a huge demand for content in this space. This year, like a star delicately placed above the tree, ‘Christmas’ came out on top as our number one global search term. ‘Hannukah Celebration’ increased by 229%+ from last year. Searches for ‘Real Family’ was up by 678%, ‘Real People’ up by 218% and ‘Authentic Moments’ up by 122%. Searches for Diverse content also continues to rise. ‘Diverse Christmas’ rose by 227%, ‘Diversity’ increased by 145% and ‘Inclusive community’ by 314%.
"Realness matters, it’s about capturing real people and the real moments that encapsulate the spirit of holidays."
We are seeing brands taking the realist approach and using diverse casting. For example, Lidl’s newly released ‘A Christmas you can Believe in’ campaign uses relatable anecdotes that capture what Christmas can look like for those that celebrate it. Tesco similarly showcases the divergent ways Christmas is celebrated in their ‘However you do Christmas’ advert. Another example is Nationwide’s ‘12 Voices of Christmas’ which features real and diverse people from across the UK. Representing the real, by showing the human experience, allows brands to engage and connect with their customers.

When it comes to visual choices around the holidays, brands should steer away from heavily posed content and lean towards depicting real moments and inclusivity. This means acknowledging different family structures, ages, ethnicities, abilities, and body types etc without appearing tokenistic. It also means considering simple things, such as showing different dietary requirements e.g. veganism and remembering that in some regions December isn’t the fairytale white Christmas that is so commonly portrayed to be.

The holiday season is about bringing people together. Brands should reflect these people through the use of real people and real moments in their visuals if they really want to forge an emotional connection. Keeping it real is key.
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