The UK has been experiencing the longest heatwave in the last five years. However, snow, Christmas trees and presents are all at the top of the lifestyle media agenda this month. It may seem peculiar to talk about Christmas with the sun blazing, but publications are already planning their Christmas issues. This means brands have started pulling out all the stops to be included in festive features.
With the festive season being a key sales opportunity for many companies, Christmas in July provides the opportunity for brands to showcase products and for journalists to identify the top trends ahead of compiling their December’s issues.
Last week alone saw Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Amazon and Aldi host their own Christmas in July events:
- Sainsbury’s arranged a magical Christmas grotto styled set up, showing off luxury chocolate all the way through to bedding sets perfect for a pre-Christmas sleep.
- Amazon held their ‘Wishlist’ event in a surprisingly un-festive venue. They divided their set up between different gift areas. Each provided journalists with demonstrations of the latest home tech, tasty food, kitchen appliances and the latest game to be played post-Christmas dinner.
- Aldi pulled out all the stops with a snowy landscape showroom to present their Christmas day spread. It came complete with an alcohol range which will undoubtably collect numerous awards.
- Tesco held their annual event in a Christmas themed showhouse, visualising the perfect festive gathering with the help of a Finest feast and gift ideas
With so many brands putting on their own Christmas in July events and fighting to be included within the likes of the Vogue’s Christmas Gifts For Her and the Telegraph’s Christmas Gift Guide, what gives these events media appeal? We asked a few of our media contacts to find out:
Sarah Bradbury, Senior Fashion and Beauty Writer at Woman’s Weeklies and Woman & Home for TI Media:
‘The best Christmas in July events are informative, precise and factual. Things that you can remember and take away after the event work best for me. To have cut through over the Christmas period we always look at the biggest brands, advertisers and items which we know our readers want. Pushy brands which have lots of information at the events are off-putting, it’s better to keep it brief.
‘Tesco’s Christmas in July is the one of the best events I’ve been to: it’s interactive, theatrical and has all the right information. I was also a fan of Amazon’s, as it’s great to have everything under one roof for a varied range of brands. If a brand doesn’t put on an event, it doesn’t necessarily put me off popping it in a Christmas Gift Guide if I know a reader will benefit from the product, however, it’s always great to see something first hand!’
Esme Clemo, Home and Craft Editor at Woman’s Weekly Magazines for TI Media:
‘I’d say the best Christmas in July events are the immersive ones that create a real feel of Christmas as soon as you walk through the door. Brands stand out when they put their lead or latest products up front and make them the star, that way you will never forget them. If a brand does something different, when it comes to writing the guides you can easily pinpoint the brand rather than confusing it for a different one.
‘It’s also really important to ensure there is a relationship between the press and the brand. When it comes to press coverage, it’s the things that grab us now that make it into the pages in December. But it’s also having a go-to point of contact and easily accessible images/samples after the shows that ensures coverage too.’
Given that journalists have increasingly less time to spend outside of the office, it is interesting to see that there is still appetite to attend such showcases.
So, what is the key outtake? Festive coverage is still possible without a Christmas in July event, as long as you have a good product and good relationships.
A Christmas in July event may be one of the most important times of the year for many consumer brands. However, good relationships with journalists, understanding audiences and the media landscape over the festive period will generate coverage just as much as attending one of these events.
So, in the wonderful world of a very email heavy industry, it really goes to show how an excellent contact in your little black book will allow you gain cut through in the competitive Christmas period. Take the time to build relationships, show your products off and make sure they remember you!