All that glitters…

Mince Pies arriving in store in September may cause an outcry in my local Co Op but in the word of marketing it is never too early to start thinking about Christmas. This week alone, I have had numerous conversations with clients about how their plans are shaping up and how they are going to tackle ‘the most wonderful time of year’ – but this time, these conversations have tended to have a very Dickensian feel as budgets are under pressure and the threats to success envelope projects like mist on the Thames.


The festive period will certainly still have some joy – Prince Louis will court the cameras for his first time with Santa (and perhaps Meghan and Harry will continue the fairytale by following the baby booming suit, although I think perhaps they are going to be far more interesting than that), John Lewis will drop a new campaign to warm our souls. But with Brexit, the data fallout from GDPR and continuing restructuring of the retail sector to name but a few challenges, there is much to prompt a ‘bah humbug’. Plus, thanks to the likes of Amazon, the Christmas trading period might even have the rug pulled from under it with Black Friday and Cyber Monday taking the sales before some places have even switched on their Christmas lights.


So what to do?


Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as cut back, as whilst consumers may pull their purse strings tighter this year, their expectations will not fall with such parity. Christmas is a time for theatre, for production value, for bringing out all the stops. In our world of film, the season is often the one where every frame, script and casting gets the highest scrutiny, as the stakes are higher which is why we adopt, even more strongly than usual, a process of ‘creative craft’. With creative craft, we remember we are firstly makers and not accountants, and that we must use the resources that we have thoughtfully, imaginatively and intelligently to create film that is befitting of our passion for the medium, not the budget before us.


We create films that glitter, but are not made of gold.


Creative craft is a mindset to be adopted not just for delivering smart results in production but in terms of planning a strategy that will engage across multiple platforms and executions, delivering the magic but not costing the earth. Creative craft is what led to our TV Everywhere product, a data-driven approach which quite literally means that every relevant screen can be covered, with a potent alchemy of types of content that drive brand recognition, affection and purchase intent.


So as we look forward to Christmas, we actually will genuinely be looking forward to Christmas, as the challenges our clients are bringing us will force us to be better – to think harder whilst still reaching for the stars. As one of the main architects of the modern retail landscape (and admittedly the richest man in the world), Jeff Bezos once said ‘frugality drives innovation, just like other constraints do. The only way to get yourself out of a tight box is to invent your way out’. This Christmas, invent we will.


For more information on our TV Everywhere approach contact Steve Byrne at




Isla Kirby
Director of Creative Strategy & Technology, Magnafi.

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