The festive season is almost upon us – which means it’s time for advertisers to up their budgets and start producing shiny snow-covered campaigns again. This Christmas Marc Lewis, the highly-revered creative mind who leads the School of Communications Arts London, will review (in his opinion) the merits of some of the biggest brands' seasonal spots with a creative eye, separating the Christmas crackers from the turkeys.
We are taught that if someone is trying to sell you something for free, then you are the product. When I first watched Twitter's John Lewis pastiche, I felt joyful that I was watching a Christmas commercial in which the advertiser wasn’t trying to pimp the last drop of financial gain out of Christianity. Twitter is selling your soul this Christmas, and I quite like it.
I like it because this feels like a commercial made for those who have been on Twitter for a while, and who have been aware of John Lewis (the man) who has spent years fielding messages meant for John Lewis (the store).
This commercial feels like a reward, a joke for those in the know, a tribute to part of Twitter folklore. There are even a few props from previous John Lewis commercials in the background…. a penguin, a telescope, a Buster the Boxer statue.
Will it sell tweets? That’s not the point.
I think it does a good job in attempting to position Twitter as a human, intimate, and trustworthy social media platform. The opposite of Facebook, in my opinion. Will it succeed in positioning Twitter as human, intimate and trustworthy? I think that depends how many advertising Rubles it is caught coining.
I think 2019 could become a landmark year for social media. There is already a great deal of mistrust between the platforms and advertisers. Class action lawsuits over inflated media impressions are gaining traction across the pond. Social media is an industry that has a whiff of snake oil, a whiff of used car salesman, a whiff of spiv, a whiff of self-aggrandizing, a whiff that it can’t be trusted.
When I first watched the Christmas commercial from Twitter I felt joyful that I was watching an advert and not being asked to buy anything. My brain was not in gear. I was in Daniel Kahneman’s System 1. Most advertising is consumed in System 1 and so I believe that most people will feel a bit more positive about Twitter after watching its John Lewis commercial.
And the world will be a slightly more dangerous place.
Score out of 5?
Keep up with The Drum's 2018 Christmas coverage here.