Brands swap extravagance for empathy this festive season

Blissful ignorance is out, self-awareness is in. Brands steer away from promoting indulgence and emphasise the small things instead this Christmas.

Conscious of intense economic pressures, retailers have radically shifted their approach to Christmas campaigns and experiences this year. In hopes of achieving a fine balance between fun festivities and financial awareness, many have chosen to emphasise meaningful moments rather than encourage glitzy extravagance.

Cadbury put the gift of giving at the forefront of its Christmas campaign by installing digitally activated posters across hundreds of secret locations throughout the UK. Each featured a QR code that redirects the participant to the interactive Postal Service website where customers can send a free bar of chocolate to a recipient of their choice, sparking a moment of joy when it matters most.

This November, Tesco partnered with charities FareShare and Trussell Trust to launch a pop-up store in London, the Give Back Express. The ‘reverse supermarket’ invited customers to donate any of the 25 most needed products, ranging from tinned food to toiletries. Alternatively, customers could convert their Clubcard points into monetary donations for communities in need.

Walmart has enabled its customers to pay it forward this Christmas as part of the retailer’s wider ‘Spark Good’ initiative. At the checkout in-store or online, shoppers can round up their purchase totals and donate the amount to their preferred non-profit, making charitable participation feel both easy and personalised. The final contribution will be matched by Walmart up to $1 million.

Household takeout

With an unpredictable economic landscape ahead, brands have an opportunity to demonstrate an authentic awareness of the world around them and adopt a mindful tone that is reflective of it. As customers sacrifice big-ticket items and glitzy communications feel somewhat tone-deaf, thoughtful signifiers from retailers will go a long way this festive season.

Get in touch with Household to consider how to navigate the balance between being a source of joy, escapism, and value, whilst also showcasing empathy and restraint as the cost-of-living crisis continues.


Also in the news:

Tech brand Nothing has opened their first ever physical store

Co-op partners with Just Eat for grocery delivery across the UK


Wimpy relaunch in the UAE with automated robot cooking in the kitchen


Givenchy and Disney collaborate to celebrate the Chinese New Year

Crocs partner with RuPaul’s Drag Race to create limited edition collection


Morrisons reduces food waste by offering ‘wonky’ carrots for Rudolph for free

Boots partners with Clearpay to launch a beauty pop up in London

Image courtesy of Cadbury

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