SMEs can promote their business with as much panache as the biggest brands and on a much smaller budget. 

You know the Christmas season has arrived when the big companies start rolling out their Christmas ads. From the Coca-Cola Christmas truck to the John Lewis ad, consumers are uplifted into the Christmas mood and encouraged to start spending.

But while the bigger companies battle it out with billion euro budgets, there are SMEs with smaller budgets creating adverts that have a big impact.

Below are some examples of Irish Christmas ads that were made on a small budget yet had massive impact.

The Ballymena Christmas Bear

The advert, which was made by a struggling Northern Ireland town to help deal with the recession, became a viral sensation and captured the hearts of the nation.

The ad features a handmade Christmas bear that falls from a delivery van and gets lost in the town of Ballymena.

The four-minute minute ad follows the bear’s quest to be reunited with his young owner. 

The social media sensation, made in 2015, cost just over €5,000 to produce and was commissioned by the Ballymena Business Improvement District to showcase the range of different shops and gifts Ballymena had to offer at Christmas.

Fake John Lewis Christmas ad

A version of John Lewis’ 2016 Christmas advert was made by an art student on a shoestring budget.

The video, which follows the story of a snowman who finds love after being trapped in a snow globe, confused people who thought it was the official John Lewis advert for that year.

Nick Jablonka made the film as part of his A-Level course.

In a post on his YouTube page, Jablonka said the video had taken him just two weeks to create from start to finish, and he believed it “could still do with a lot of work”.

The John Lewis Company praised the young artist saying he managed to create an ad that they would “pay billions for”.

Denny Christmas ad 

In 2010, Denny created a simple yet heart-warming Christmas video that touched the heart of the nation.

The ad featured a young family on Christmas morning, a young daughter unwrapping her bike and her parents making Christmas breakfast. The simple ad was very effective and didn’t cost the earth to make.

So, what tips and tricks can small businesses learn from the big players?

1)    Have a very strong narrative

All the big Christmas ads have a strong story that contains a strong Christmas message. Whether it’s spending time with family or giving to others less fortunate. The main thing is to keep the narrative positive, emotional but simple.

M&S featured a heart-warming yet simple story this year about a young boy who wanted to do something nice for his sister, so he enlisted the help of Mrs Claus. It’s a simple message of how siblings have an undying love for each other, no matter how many times they argue or fight. It’s about capturing real family moments.

2)    Include children and animals

They say never work with children or animals, but that’s not the case for an effective Christmas ad. 

This year’s John Lewis ad shows animals come to life at night time and enjoy the Christmas presents before the young family wake up on Christmas morning.

Similarly, Cornflakes’ most famous Christmas ad show a young girl waking up and meeting Santa. Shh!

3)    Snow

Make sure you include items that people associate with Christmas. Snow, Christmas trees, warm clothes, hot food and drinks.

So there you have it. SMEs can cash in on Christmas and build their customer base without having a huge budget. All it takes is imagination, some Christmas spirit and a good social media campaign. 

Article by Catherine Devine. 

READ MORE: How to advertise my business.

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