Space NK’s advent calendar campaign was a joy because it wasn’t about Christmas at all

Posted by Sara McCorquodale in Comment

2 years ago

The genius of Space NK’s advent calendar campaign is that it’s not about Christmas but value for money and vibes. Even in the context of “Trussonomics” – where life feels increasingly surreal anyway – an overtly festive launch would make any reasonable person feel queasy in September. Yet Space NK has sidestepped this beautifully with its influencer content – and here’s how.

First of all, creator posts can be divided into two camps: those which are information-led and those which just make you want the calendar. Because it looks nice. Because you deserve it. Because escapism is desperately needed right now.

Influencers in the former category are determined that their followers take away three pieces of information from their videos: that the products are full-size, that the brands are brilliant and that the retail value of what you get is worth over £770 but the calendar costs £215. On TikTok, Thuy Le goes further – taking out the products to show their quality and reassuring her followers they will be able to utilise them no matter what. This is a smart move in the age of prescriptive skincare. “Did you know Charlotte Tilbury’s Pillow Talk is their best-selling lipstick because it’s meant to suit all skin colours?” she says, unboxing the product and trying it straight on. Frishta opens several products and puts them on to showcase their quality and Bryony Blake holds up each product to show that the calendar is not full of samples but good value for the consumer.

On Instagram, the campaign is much more about vibes and the content is directly in the sweet spot of aspirational but for many consumers, achievable. Chloe Pierre showcases the advent calendar arriving and reveals a couple of the products to the soundtrack of Stormzy’s viral hit, Mel Made Me Do It. Tegan Frances Brown’s Reel shows her using the products in the bath, then lighting a candle and settling in for an early night of reading in bed. Karen Williams makes perhaps the best point – that by the time Christmas rolls round, you’ll feel great thanks to the calendar and have everything you need beauty-wise for the festive break. This lightly taps into the stress of the holiday season and how many women reach December 25th feeling completely frazzled. Feeling like they’re not on holiday at all.

To launch an advent calendar in September is no mean feat, but to promote one that retails for £215 in a financial crisis is something of a risk, both for the brand and the influencers involved. Yet the comments under all of this content are positive – this is something consumers want. You could say it’s the lipstick effect. You could propose that after three years of Zoom, we’re just more willing to invest in skincare. But it’s more than that – this campaign speaks to women who are sick of all the macro drama and want peace, quiet and pampering. It speaks to consumers who want to get a good deal but need to be reassured in financially tight times that the retailer will deliver.

The Space NK advent calendar launch isn’t about Christmas – it’s about offering women value, luxury and a break. And at this point – whether you buy in or not – that’s a concept most consumers can quickly relate to. So the takeaway is this: in 2022, Christmas campaigns needn’t happen particularly near Christmas but they do have to be rooted in achievable luxury and they must showcase value. If the Space NK launch is anything to go by, this is key to online success for aspirational brands in Q4 2022.

By Sara McCorquodale, CEO and founder of CORQ. Picture credit: Space NK.