Is Christmas in New Zealand getting too commercial for Kiwis?

  • News
  • December 9, 2015
  • Elly Strang
Is Christmas in New Zealand getting too commercial for Kiwis?

Traditionally, values associated with the ‘Christmas spirit’ include kindness, selflessness and generosity.

But according to Colmar Brunton CEO Jacqueline Farman, Kiwi consumers are feeling bombarded with straight sales-driven messages that don’t capture these values.

“The public are telling us is that they have a very clear view of what Christmas is about and that’s what advertisers need to connect with to engage consumers,” Farman says.

“Christmas is a wonderful opportunity to stand out from the crowd at a special and emotional time of the year and do something different.

To move away from purely sales based advertising, and connect with the heartstrings. I would love to see advertisers here take up that challenge.”

In terms of what matters most about Christmas, 94 percent said it’s about family and friends, with 85 percent saying giving is more important than receiving.

Farman says UK department store John Lewis sets a high global standard for advertising.

“John Lewis has a history of highlighting really important issues and challenging aspects of Christmas in a beautiful way. Their Christmas advertisement is an annual event eagerly anticipated by the public every year,” she says.

Its most recent ad, #ManOnTheMoon, has had more than 20 million views on YouTube.

It tells the story of an old man living alone on the moon and a little girl who notices him through a telescope.

She sends a telescope to the moon to show she is thinking of him, rescuing him from his loneliness and connecting him to another human being once more.

The tagline for the ad is “Show someone they’re loved this Christmas.”

The ad was part of a partnership with Age UK to show the plight of a million older people who will go a month without speaking to anyone.

Hotfoot CEO Juanita Neville Te-Rito echoed Farman’s thoughts in a recent column on The Register, asking, “Where’s the wow this Christmas?”

She wondered why New Zealand retailers aren’t taking the opportunity to capture consumers’ imaginations about Christmas like brands overseas do.

However, it’s worth noting that the John Lewis ad cost £1 million (NZ$2.26 million) to make, with the moon scenes being shot at Warner Bros studios and the set specially built by the team behind the soon-to-be-released Star Wars movie.

This isn’t exactly achievable for most New Zealand companies, which have neither the budget nor the resources to pull something of that scale together.

But all hope is not lost. Kiwi retailers have been commended on their ads this year, many of which many avoid pushing the sales aspect altogether and instead focus on the emotional side of things.

The Warehouse’s campaign by DDB called ‘What if we let the kids do the family Christmas shopping?’ is a refreshing take on Christmas shopping.

Kids are left up to their own devices to run around The Warehouse and pick gifts for their family, resulting in adorable in-store pandemonium.

“Christmas is about bringing people together, reuniting families, celebrating and rewarding each other,” The Warehouse Group’s spokesperson said of the ad.

“You’ll still get a bargain, and now you’ll remember the joy of these kids while shopping for one.”

Countdown’s latest Christmas spot also uses children as talent, but this time with food. The ad captures the look of joy on children’s faces when making and eating traditional Christmas fodder.

Meanwhile, New World’s latest campaign employs an employee called Noel to lurk about its stores and get up to some suspiciously Santa-like behaviour.

It seems as though some retailers are on the right track, although the same can’t be said for the likes of Whitcoulls and its latest ad.

It can’t be tracked down online, but it features shop assistants in Santa hats singing about the store’s product offerings. As Neville-Te Rito said in her column, “Bah humbug.”

​ ​

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.


Regional rollercoaster: Selling to the Kardashians from Matiere

  • News
  • April 24, 2019
  • Rachel Helyer Donaldson
Regional rollercoaster: Selling to the Kardashians from Matiere

In the final article from NZ Retail magazine's nine-part series on regional retail, we're sharing the amazing story of how SME retailer Solvej Swings got its product into the home of one of the world's most influential consumers.

Read more

Regional rollercoaster: Arrowtown

  • News
  • April 24, 2019
  • Rachel Helyer Donaldson
Regional rollercoaster: Arrowtown

We're examining seven regional towns as part of a wider series. This time, it's Arrowtown under the microscope.

Read more

Regional rollercoaster: Greymouth

  • News
  • April 24, 2019
  • Rachel Helyer Donaldson
Regional rollercoaster: Greymouth

How are retailers in Greymouth adapting to our dynamic business environment? As part of a nine-part series, we took a look.

Read more

Social scoreboard

Zavy and The Register have worked together to create a scoreboard that compares how the top 25 traditional media advertising spenders in New Zealand have performed on social media over the past 30 days, updated in real time.

Regional rollercoaster
What does retail look like in 2019 for ...
Concept to closet
Business coverage of New Zealand Fashion Week.
Town centres
A positive retail environment over the past 12 ...
Amazon Arrival
Keeping up with all things Amazon as it ...
The Retail Yearbook 2017
As we battle our way through the busiest ...
Hospitality enhancing retail
Some think food and integrated hospitality offerings will ...
The future is bright
We spoke with four retailers in their twenties ...
Spotlight on signage
At first glance, the humble in-store sign might ...
Red Awards 2016
The Red Awards for retail interior design celebrate ...
Auckland Unitary Plan
Auckland is changing. The Unitary Plan will decide ...
How to open a store
Sarah Dunn considers what it would take to ...
All things to all people
Kiwi retailers share their omnichannel strategies.
Rising stars
Retail's top young achievers.
Delivering on your promises
The sale isn't over until your item is ...
Retail in heartland New Zealand
Retailers keep the regions pumping, but how strong ...
Women in retail help one another. We spoke ...
The changing face of retail
Shifting demographics are creating big changes in New ...
The retail yearbook
With the help of experts in the retail ...
Retail rogues
We put the spotlight on staff training. Jai ...
Here come the giants
Topshop has arrived in Auckland’s CBD, David Jones ...
From retail to e-tail
Ecommerce has become part of the way mainstream ...
Window shopping: A spotlight on social media
Sarah Dunn and Elly Strang look at how ...
Loyalty in the digital age
How are retailers maintaining loyalty? Sarah Dunn, Elly ...
The Innovators | In partnership with Spark Business
Technology is rapidly changing the retail industry as ...

Regional rollercoaster: Kaikoura

  • News
  • April 24, 2019
  • Rachel Helyer Donaldson
Regional rollercoaster: Kaikoura

As part of a series on regional retail, we examined seven towns to learn what makes some thrive and some dive. This article focuses on Kaikoura.

Read more

Regional rollercoaster: Bulls

  • News
  • April 23, 2019
  • Rachel Helyer Donaldson
Regional rollercoaster: Bulls

What does retail look like in 2019 for retailers in Bulls? We examined this regional centre as part of a wider series.

Read more

Regional rollercoaster: New Plymouth

  • News
  • April 23, 2019
  • Rachel Helyer Donaldson
Regional rollercoaster: New Plymouth

Why are some Kiwi retailers struggling in New Zealand's regions and some thriving? We put seven regional centres under the microscope to find out. This time, we're looking at New Plymouth.

Read more
Next page
Results for
About us.

The Register provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2015 Tangible Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

The Register

Content marketing/advertising? Email or call 022 639 3004

View Media Kit