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Christmas is coming – Christmas 2022 that is!

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CHRISTMAS IS COMING – CHRISTMAS 2022 THAT IS!

There’s some debate in our office currently about when it is OK to become ‘Christmassy’.

Those of you who have read Molly’s latest blog will probably not be surprised to learn that for her, it starts around June time. I, on the other hand, consider any hint of Wham’s Last Christmas before 1st December at the very earliest to be an abomination. (Well, actually I consider Last Christmas to be an abomination anytime, but that’s another story. You can’t beat Wombling Merry Christmas as far as I’m concerned.)  And although Jack agreed with me on the date (I can’t speak for his taste in music), the Christmas tree on his desk when we had this discussion in the middle of November told another story.

Retailers, of course, want to encourage the festive spirit as early as possible. The Christmas lights are switched on in November and Christmas trees suddenly appear in shop windows – although, for me, the earliest sign of Christmas is the arrival of the tins of Quality Street and Roses into supermarkets in August.

But while manufacturers and retailers are trying to encourage us to spend our money ahead of this year’s Big Day, they already have their eyes firmly focused on the future. In October, my wife attended a fashion show at a local store to view its new arrivals for the autumn and winter season. The next day on Instagram, the buying team was detailing its trip to London to make selections from the autumn/winter 2022 collections.

Around the same time, as I was being briefed for a press release on a new Christmas pack that a client had designed, he was already telling me about the even more exciting project he was working on for Christmas next year.

When I worked for the wine merchants Grants of St James’s in the late 80s, while the summer holiday season was in full swing, red hearts and roses were in abundance in the office as the marketing teams planned their Valentine’s Day promotions. And long before there was even a hint of tinsel in view, eggs and bunnies signalled the start of preparation for the Easter campaigns.

I also recall attending a Christmas wine tasting, held by sister off licence Victoria Wine, which took place in wine cellars just off Trafalgar Square in London on the day after the August bank holiday. While temperatures hit 30oC outside, we sat down to a full Christmas lunch of turkey with all the trimmings followed by Christmas pudding (Molly would have been in her element).

One of the reasons for this early Christmas was the many glossy home and lifestyle magazines that filled the shelves of newsagents in those days. With editorial copy dates around two to three months ahead of publication, if wine writers were going to be making recommendations for wines to drink at Christmas in their November or December issues, they needed to be tasting them during the summer.

For those of us in marketing communications, planning ahead and copy deadlines are part of everyday life. Very often, it is not simply about ensuring that the media receives the information when they need it, but co-ordinating activities across a variety of communications channels so that messages reach the target audience in a controlled and orderly way.

In the ‘old days’, one of the balancing acts was to make sure that weekly and monthly trade titles were running a story at the same time – if it appeared too early in a weekly publication, its monthly rival would reject it as old news. Today the challenge is more often to co-ordinate traditional and social media coverage.

So, for those currently working on a spring new product launch or planning a major event for early summer, indeed for anyone who’s working life regularly means they are out of kilter with the current season or celebrations, perhaps the best advice is to remember not to take your work home with you. (Note to self – you must remove Summer Holiday from your Christmas playlist.)

For more debate on the beginnings of Christmas, contact us for a chat and a coffee.

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