You may not be anywhere near the office water cooler right now, but we still want to spotlight the most talked about creative from the brands that should be on your radar. Today, we're opening the second chapter of Argos' ‘Book of Dreams’.
Despite scrapping its paper catalogue in June after 47-years, Argos has brought out the second chapter in its ‘Book of Dreams’ campaign, which once again taps into the nostalgia that people feel for flicking through the pages of its Christmas gift guide.
Also created by The&Partnership, last year saw Argos drop its playful 'Christmas fool' character, in favour of a more family-orientated spot which it hoped would stir emotion. It played on a joke from comedian Bill Bailey that the Argos catalogue is ‘The Book of Dreams’.
“Last year's Christmas ad performed extremely well for us,” explains Argos' senior campaign manager, Rob Quartermain. “This year, we've taken that idea on another step. It felt like a really powerful and strong idea and something that's uniquely Argos.”
And while the original ‘Book of Dreams’ is currently out of print, Argos has brought out a Christmas gift guide to replace it. In the spot, two girls spot a box of magic tricks on the pages of the guide, which transports them off to the furthest reaches of the imagination, to a world where they have their own extraordinary magic show.
While last year's ad was set to the sound of 80's classic Don’t You Forget About Me by Simple Minds, this year it went contemporary, featuring Gary Barlow’s Incredible – which is released today (1 November) as part of his latest album Music Played by Humans.
In light of the ongoing pandemic, it's hard not to watch the spot and think about bubbles and social distancing, but Argos tread carefully. “It definitely informed out thinking,” admits Quartermain, on how the pandemic informed its approach. “When we sat down in May, we thought about what on earth we were going to talk about come Christmas, and we realized that togetherness and family would be a big thing. It's not rocket science.”
He explains that one of the challenges was navigating being tonally appropriate while abiding by Covid-19 guidelines. “The rule of six was actually introduced a week before we shot the ad,” he recalls. “We were very aware that we needed to present the story in a way that wouldn't overtly highlight big family gatherings. But obviously, the vehicle of magic gives us this route to talking about dreams coming true. And in Daisy and Lucy's dream, they see their extended family within a theatre setting.”
Whether Argos had plans to overtly mention the pandemic, Quartermain says no. “The brand is unashamedly about possibilities and dreams. We're quite an upbeat brand - we felt that our role this Christmas would be one of offering some escapism, and a little dose of nostalgia and see Christmas through the world of children, rather than overtly commenting on what we know is a really hard and difficult year. So hopefully we strike the right balance.”
The 360 campaign will include dynamic out-of-home (OOH), press, and influencer engagement.