Why Boots is marrying beauty and thoughtfulness in its emotive Christmas campaign

Following on from the success of its emotionally-driven ‘Show Them You Know Them’ sisters Christmas campaign last year, Boots has plumped to go down a similar route for 2018 – marrying its brand purpose with its beauty proposition.

The brand’s second Christmas ad from Ogilvy UK focuses on thoughtfulness, running under the strapline ‘Get them something that says… you get them’.

The launch comes a month after the brand attributed a dip in UK sales to a "challenging" beauty market. In line with Boots’ wider brand strategy, the push focuses on how beauty makes people feel, not how it makes them look.

“After last Christmas we thought this message really resonated with consumers because of the insight behind it, which is about thoughtful gifting,” Helen Normoyle, marketing director for Boots UK and Ireland told The Drum. “People were tweeting and getting in touch to say ‘I wish I had a sister’ or ‘I really need to call my Mum’.”

“That’s the connection that we want to draw in from customers,” Normoyle added.

The TV ad at the heart of it tells the story of a mother (Clare) and her daughter (Molly). The latter is shown to be a archetypical teenager: sighing when her mum asks her to remove her makeup; getting frustrated when she can’t emulate a hairdo she found online; rolling her eyes when she walks in on Clare crying at a TV show.

Later in the film, Molly finds herself at a Christmas market and is stunned to see her mum wearing bold lipstick singing confidently with a choir. Shocked at seeing her mum in a different light, she gifts her with a red lipstick from Boots on Christmas day, along with a note saying ‘keep singing’ to show that she ‘gets’ her.

The music in the ad is a take on She’s The One by Robbie Williams – instead the track is called She’s Me Mum.

Normoyle explained that Boots wanted to celebrate the special moments shared with friends and family over Christmas by "focusing in on the spirit of beauty gifts showing you really understand your loved ones."

The hero film will air on Saturday (10 November) during X-Factor. A wider drive will run across print, PR, loyalty, in-store, social and in Boots’ own health and beauty magazine.”

Influencers will also be key to the campaign, with Normoyle saying to expect more content on platform’s like Instagram Stories.

Beauty, wellness and working with creators in this space will continue to be a big focus for Boots’ marketing team in 2019, Seb James its recently-installed resident and managing director told journalists at its Christmas event.

Boots’ parent firm Walgreens Boots Alliance noted in its fourth quarter results last month that sales in its international retail pharmacy division, which houses Boots UK, fell 1.9% from the same period last year to record $2.9bn (£2.2bn).

The performance was largely attributed to sales at Boots UK, where "the beauty category declined in a challenging market", although it was also partially offset by higher sales in its health and wellness category.

As for KPIs for this year’s festive effort, marketing boss Normoyle said there’s a whole variety of metrics Boots will be focused on.

“Like any campaign there’s a whole range, and there isn’t any single one. We want to cut through to customers, we want people to love us. We want to connect and engage emotionally, we want it to bring people into Boots stores and for people to see the range of products we offer.”

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