The Christmas Campaigns are coming….

Argos Book of Dreams campaign

It’s 1st November, Halloween is done and dusted which can mean only one thing – Christmas Marketing has kicked into full swing!

First up is Argos with their Christmas Ad, the Book of Dreams. The aim of the campaign is to get back to their core of the catalogue and the nostalgia around that for creating your Christmas wishlist. When I read about the campaign before watching it, I thought that sounded like great idea. But having watched the almost 3 minute long advert (which will obviously be cut down most of the time), I have to say that I am disappointed. I know that John Lewis have set the bar in terms of these mini-movie type adverts to really tug at the heart strings but I didn’t feel any emotion. The catalogue appears once at the start of the advert as a Dad taps (a clear nod to the digital world) a drum kit circled in the catalogue and it then appears in his kitchen. The rest of the advert seems to be far more about him fulfilling his dreams than his daughter’s – especially as the song they drum along to is Simple Minds, Don’t You Forget About Me. Which is a total tune obviously, and I’m sure that will help the perception of the advert but it didn’t give me the goosebumps that I like to feel when I see a brilliant advert.

The one element of the campaign that I do think is brilliant is the archive of their catalogues for the last 4 decades available at http://argosbookofdreams.co.uk. It’s a simple website with a browsable version of every catalogue since 1973. There is social sharing functionality for Twitter and Facebook which can share a particular year’s catalogue (although any catalogue I try to share seems to default to 74/75) but you can’t share products or circle things in it to show specific things you hankered after.

That is a great idea and I can see some fantastic engagement happening with that – parents showing their kids the sort of things they were writing to Father Christmas about in the 1980s. I remember some of those covers myself, as I would have carried around my dog-eared copy, drafting and redrafting my wishlist! I hope they do more around this in their social media content – it could create some fantastic UGC. We’ve all seen the joke Father Christmas letters that show long amazon URLs written out – this is the perfect antidote to that.

Argos do need to start driving traffic to that site and doing what they can in SEO though. ‘Book of Dreams’ is a brave phrase to go for for your campaign, as when you search that, you get all those books that interpret your dreams. It was only by searching Argos Book of Dreams that I found it – and still the result is after the result for dream related products on their main website. There are no paid search ads on the term Book of Dreams – and they aren’t doing paid search on ‘Argos Book of Dreams’ either. I think that’s a miss – maybe they will, inline with the airing of the advert for the first time this evening but I would be looking to boost traffic to the site and get myself fully on Google’s radar as soon as I could.

Looking at their social media, they’ve done a first post on Instagram about the nostalgia and there is already one comment from a customer remembering their times with the catalogue.

They’ve gone with the hashtag #BookOfDreams which has over 1000 posts on Instagram about dream interpretations. It’s not as big as I thought it would be so it will be interesting to see if Argos manage to take ownership of it over the next two months.

On Twitter they do seem to have been seeding out images of the old catalogues and links to the website for a week or so, with some nice tie ins around turning the clocks back. And they have already driven engagement with followers posting images of their favourite catalogues and toys.

My initial conclusion on this campaign is that the archive website is much more of a talking point than the TV advert itself, I hope that they manage to communicate that well enough outside of social media. They have certainly done well on all the PR coverage by being one of the first major retailers to release their advert.

The next thing to watch is whether it then translates to conversions – I can see that people could spend hours on the archive site but how will they drive them from there into store or onto their transactional website. Will the nostalgia be enough to get people to break out of their existing habits? As a data geek I would love to see the increase in footfall to go and get a catalogue!

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