Monthly Archives: November 2015

Mog vs #ManOnTheMoon

It’s that time of year again when we all come together to give our two pence worth on a contest to determine who comes out on top at Christmas – no, not the X Factor or I’m a Celeb – it is, of course, the battle of the Christmas adverts.

It’s a relatively new festive tradition that has seen increased public interest in the last few years, but the inventiveness and messaging behind the adverts causes excitement and shows the power advertising still holds in terms of reaching target audiences and positioning the brand favourably at the busiest time of the year for retailers.

This year’s head to head sees the offerings #ManOnTheMoon from John Lewis and beloved children’s literary character Mog the Cat come to life in Sainsbury’s advert (for Generation Adblock who may not have seen them yet, links to the adverts below), continuing the contest from last year when John Lewis’ Monty the Penguin faced off against Sainsbury’s depiction of Christmas in the trenches. So, how do they compare?


John Lewis certainly loves pulling at the heartstrings in its campaigns, and this year is no different. The spirit of giving and sharing with those less fortunate or who have nobody is the main theme and done in a very creative way. The social media frenzy that followed the advert’s launch shows how effective the brand is at getting tongues wagging (22,429 tweets and retweets in the first hour of mostly positive sentiment). John Lewis has also launched an app in conjunction with the advert to help countdown the phases of the moon until Christmas – this year will be the first full moon on Christmas day since 1977 – a nice touch. Oh, you can also buy the little girl’s telescope from the retailer too.

However, did you know that the advert was made in association with Age UK in a bid to tackle loneliness this Christmas? Probably not. The advert certainly doesn’t mention it and the webpage doesn’t reference Age UK until you’ve scrolled halfway down. So, by isolating the charity from the campaign, isn’t John Lewis really doing the opposite of what it’s supposed to be encouraging others to do?

Mog’s Christmas Calamity:

Ah, Mog! A perennial figure in my childhood (I was born in 1992) and I’m sure many others will say the same – with the exception of Account Manager Jack Williams who had absolutely no clue about Mog or the books! The advert depicts Mog’s Christmas and sees the mischievous cat causing, and subsequently rescuing the family from, a fire on Christmas Day.

With Christmas seemingly ruined, the family head back into their fire-damaged house only for their neighbours to join them in restoring the house and preparing a new Christmas dinner all in time for lunch! ‘Christmas is for sharing’ flashes across the screen in the final scene, followed by ‘Sainsbury’s – Supporting child literacy with Save the Children’ and the point of the advert becomes clear. Sainsbury’s is proud to state its partnership with the charity and by recreating a well-loved feel-good Christmas story, draws the viewer in. The book ‘Mog’s Christmas Calamity’ was specially written for the campaign and can be bought at Sainsbury’s along with cuddly toys of the cat with all profits going towards Save the Children’s child literacy programmes.

The verdict:

Winner – Sainsbury’s

Although John Lewis’ advert is very well-made and more of an integrated campaign than Sainsbury’s, I can’t help but feel it misses the point it’s supposed to be putting forward by placing its own agenda above its partner’s. Sainsbury’s ad however has a really uplifting feel and is very clear in its support of charity, without making the mistake of potentially trivialising serious events by trying to directly sell any products, as it did last year with its wartime chocolate. Besides, John Lewis should have left ‘Half the World Away’ alone.

Stay safe on social

Social media is now not only a key component of how companies communicate with their customers and clients, but is often the first point of contact between public and organisation beyond well-crafted marketing, advertising and PR messages cultivated to develop a brand. However, while these messages are the result of countless hours and financial investment, a brand can be severely damaged by one misfiring tweet sent in a second of misjudgement.

Convincing much?

Convincing much?

You may be surprised how many major companies have had their fair share of Facebook fiascos and Twitter troubles – take a look at a few of the worst and see where it’s all gone wrong!

Don’t underestimate the power of Twitter

While tweeting plot snippets may seem a great way to drum up interest for an upcoming video game, live-tweeting a hyper-realistic, but thankfully fictional, terrorist attack definitely isn’t. However, this is exactly what the Call of Duty Twitter account did in a series of tweets that detailed an unfolding ‘attack’ in Singapore.

Not only were the tweets closely modelled on the way real news organisations tweet about terrorist attacks as news rolls in, but the account had convincingly rebranded itself to mimic a real news site.

While the tweets did progressively become more far-fetched, leading many to realise this was a PR stunt, the initial shock fooled quite a few of the account’s 2.8 million followers – a good example of the importance of understanding the power Twitter can hold and how quickly something can spread!

Use common sense!police

Tweeting about serious matters is something which should always be handled delicately. One definite no-no, however, is piggybacking on a tragedy and its related hashtags to try and sell a product.

You’d be surprised how many big brands have fallen for this one; from Build-a-Bear’s tweet featuring a bear in combat fatigues on the anniversary of 9/11 to Kenneth Cole’s tweet during the Arab Spring suggesting that the uproar was due to the release of its new spring collection, it’s shocking how often companies have trivialised serious events in an effort to promote themselves.

However, social media gaffes of this ilk are not always a crass attempt at selling products – sometimes badly misjudging a response can be even worse. After Everton defeated Sunderland 6-2 a Twitter user, in a poor attempt at humour, decided to tweet to the official Merseyside Police account.

For an institution such as the police to trivialise something as severe as rape with an insensitive joke is nothing less than shocking and led to a huge backlash. Of course, the individual in question has been sacked, but the damage to the organisation had been done.

Check and double check

Disney Japan fell foul of a lack of due care when a seemingly innocuous tweet referencing the lyrics of an Alice in Wonderland song turned into a nightmare due to a combination of unfortunate translation and poor timing. The offending lyrics “A very merry unbirthday to you!” seem harmless enough in English – however in Japanese this read more like “Congratulations on a not special day.” Coupled with the fact that this was tweeted on the 70th anniversary of the US nuclear bombing of Nagasaki it created a rather awkward situation. While there was no intended malice or insensitivity in this tweet, a bit of thought would have saved a few red faces!


While it may not cause offense in the same manner as the above examples, getting your spelling wrong makes your brand seem amateurish and unprofessional. Morrison’s attempt to tweet about Bonfire Night last week was a bit of a facepalm moment:


Of course, it’s not all bad news! A well-managed social media account is a crucial arm of developing an approachable, human face for companies. These bad examples are vastly outweighed by stories of social media being used to an organisation’s advantage – often generating excellent results, both commercially and in terms of public goodwill.

Here at Acceleris we’re experts in developing and managing social media accounts to ensure our clients are engaging with their target audience in the best way possible. Why not give us a call to see what we can do for you?