The John Lewis Christmas adverts have become something of a British institution. From its first storming success in 2011 of ‘The Long Wait’ to 2012’s ‘The Journey’ where a snowman hunted for the perfect present for his partner. Last year, 2013, ‘The Bear and Hare’ was even more popular and now this year’s ‘Monty the Penguin’ has won the country’s hearts in just two minutes and ten seconds.

But how have John Lewis made their Christmas adverts into a content marketing stroke of genius? With six simple steps, is how.

1. Anticipation

The key to delivering a successful piece of content marketing is a big build up. There needs to be an interest and some curiosity from your target audience and customers. How John Lewis do this is nothing other than bringing marketing back to basics – by plugging themselves as king of a big deal.

Monty was teased to the public like the new Avengers movie, with cryptic posters placed all over the London Underground to confused journalists being sent cuddly toys with his hashtag splashed on the packaging. Who on earth is #montythepenguin? was the question on Twitter in the run up to the big release.

Well played, JL, well played.

2. Music!

John Lewis have a theme running through their adverts that doesn’t fail to get them to the top of the music charts as well as the top of every “Top Marketing Campaigns of the Year” list.

They take a well known song, strip it down to wonderful spine-tingling acoustic and ask a rising star to sing it. Tom Odell is this year’s new hot thing, Lily Allen made Somewhere Only We Know a chart topper and Ellie Goulding took Your Song to a whole new level in 2010.

Moral of the story? Have enough money in your marketing budget to get George Ezra on your next campaign.

3. Emotion, emotion, emotion!

If any content marketing campaign is going to be a success, it needs to tap into the emotions of the people it’s going to reach. Whether it be the yearn for travel or a post on BuzzFeed about your home-county, the most shared articles, videos, memes and gifs will hit some sort of nerve.

Monty is powerful because he pulls on those heart-strings and makes you think of your family and loved ones, you friends and your better-half. He gets you thinking about what you could them to give them the Christmas they’ve been dreaming of, too.

4. Keeping the sales pitch out of it

Something important to note about the John Lewis ads is that they don’t sell their product to you, but they sell an idea. Their advert reflects their company values, not their store catalogue.

Even though their sales pitch has been minimal other than showing their brand name at the end of the advert, their sales after preview sky-rocket every year. Going to show that trust of a brand that has built up over a long time goes a long, long way.

5. Kids and animals

Animals and children rule the internet, right? Grumpy cat, sneezing panda, Lil Bub, Aleksandr the meerkat, babies eating lemons. Go figure!

6. Social media

Monty had his own Twitter account before the advert itself was aired. It had people going crazy, creating a buzz without John Lewis having to do anything but set up an account and send a few tweets on Monty’s behalf. It was simple, created a hype and let people interact on a platform where 255 million users are active.

Want more help on creating a marketing campaign that works for your business? Call us on 0117 973 9326 or head on over to our marketing page to find out more.

Ready to get started?

Let's talk.

Start a project