Who won the Christmas campaign battle of 2018?

Could 2018 be the year that retailers finally make the rise of mobile shopping connect with the in-store experience? After all, the groundwork has been done. The first half of 2018 saw the greatest number of shopping app downloads ever, with a staggering two billion plus across iOS and Google Play combined.

Retailers are already showing signs of impressive agility and connecting all the dots across marketing channels, but which are the brands that are highlighting this connected thinking most effectively this Christmas and won the mobile battle?


One of the most talked about Christmas adverts this year won’t be seen on TV. This is because it was somewhat controversially banned for being overly political. Whilst the advert’s subsequent popularity on social media (leading to five million views and counting on YouTube) was unlikely to have been Iceland’s original goal, having the ad banned helped catapult it directly onto the phones of Christmas shoppers. Instead of Iceland spending thousands on landing an ad to dwindling viewing numbers (a 30 second slot during a peak time ITV show costs an estimated £30,000), the supermarket’s creativeness won it a spot on social media and a host of online news outlets - not to mention numerous column inches and news spots.


Visa’s 2018 Christmas advert could prove to be the one that will have the most lasting impact for the retail industry. Set to the familiar strains of ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ and featuring shopkeepers from across the UK, the timing of Visa’s ‘Keep It Local This Christmas’ campaign extolling the virtues of the high street is purposeful. The lament of the falling footfall on UK High Streets is so familiar that it could almost be a modern Christmas carol, however what Visa has done so effectively is banking on festive goodwill to act as the tipping point of behavioural change.

Mobile moves minds

Now, more than ever before, brands need to integrate their corporate focus with the public zeitgeist. Today, over two billion people use at least one of the top five social apps (Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, Twitter and WhatsApp) each month on average. One wrong move and a brand can be dismantled in a click of a finger on social media. However, as has been shown by both Iceland and Visa this festive season, mobile can also move minds for the better and tapping into the right social responsibility can change attitudes positively towards a brand too. The retailers that understand this will be the ones to thrive, not just over the Christmas period but into 2019 too.