Yes, it’s honestly true. Christmas jumpers are now available for the whole family, including your pooch! Discount supermarket Aldi grabbed the festive headlines in one well-known red top newspaper to get people talking about the brand – and that’s something that are the big supermarkets always try to do at Christmas.

However, who has won the battle and what marketing lessons can we take away from this year’s Christmas campaigns?

1. Reward your customers

Lidl has launched an innovative Twitter campaign called Social Price Drop. It offers a way for customers to drive down the prices of four festive products over four weeks during the Christmas period. The more Twitter love the product gets, the lower the price will drop.

It’s a smart move from the UK’s fasting growing supermarket chain. As well as sparking a tidal wave of social engagement, with more than a million impressions on Twitter to date, it’s rewarding customers for their loyalty at a time when bank balances are depleted. 

We’re loving #SocialPriceDrop. It’s refreshing, engaging and is doing something that Lidl’s competitors are not – putting the customer at the centre of the campaign. Above all, it reminds us that offering simple rewards can achieve great results, especially when it comes to driving social engagement.  

2. You’re allowed to have some fun

John Lewis has overtaken Coca Cola as the brand that kicks off Christmas on our screens. The likes of #BearAndTheHare, #MontyThePenguin and #ManOnTheMoon have been a huge success, thanks in part to their emotional plots and tear-jerking soundtracks. 

In fact, John Lewis estimates that since 2012, its sales have jumped by more than 35% thanks to its Christmas advertising. The ‘sadvertising' formula clearly works. 

So it was a surprise to everyone when #BusterTheBoxer turned up because it marks such a change. In a year dominated by bad news, John Lewis has turned the screw and introduced some good old fashioned Christmas cheer. And it seems to be working. At just under two million shares, #BusterTheBoxer is already the most shared John Lewis ad of all time. Brands like Aldi with their #KevinTheCarrot ad have taken a similar approach and are reaping the rewards. 

It goes to show that you don’t always have to follow the winning formula. Sometimes it pays to have some fun and do something different.  

3. Embrace digital and social

John Lewis has pulled out all the stops this year to deliver a knockout Christmas campaign, both online and offline. The #BusterTheBoxer ad is impressive, but it’s the brand’s inventive use of social media and technology that provides the winning blow. 

Customers visiting John Lewis’ flagship store on Oxford Street can take part in the ‘Buster the Boxer’ VR experience. Visitors put on a VR headset and step into a garden themed area complete with a fake trampoline, where they can control the animals that appear in the ad. People can even access a 360-degree video experience on John Lewis’ Youtube channel. 

And for the first time ever, John Lewis sponsored a Snap Chat filter, allowing users to morph into Buster the dog for a 48-hour period in November. Social media feeds were saturated with Buster selfies and, in a way we haven’t seen in previous years, helped to merge customers’ online and offline experiences. 

The winner is… 

John Lewis has won the battle of Christmas advertising yet again. While a number of brands have upped their game in terms of social content, John Lewis has owned the space with its innovation and use of technology.  Bravo!