Christmas advertising during coronavirus

Has Covid-19 stolen Christmas?

It might be the height of summer, but brands are typically getting their festive campaigns and ranges under way around this time of year. With the pandemic demanding more guesswork than ever, we explore how coronavirus is changing proceedings this time around

While most of the world typically spends July gearing up for their summer holidays, for brands, and by extension adland, the attention has already turned to the end of the year and the all-important Christmas advertising, products and experiences that come with it.

Last year, ad spending hit a record high of £6.8 billion, yet suffice to say 2020 has got off to a rather uneven start. Covid-19 and the ensuing national lockdowns impacted budgets and workforce numbers, disrupted production on existing campaigns and sparked reactive new ones, and saw brands and agencies doing their best to read the room on a national scale. Although many countries – including the UK – now find themselves emerging from lockdowns, there remains an overwhelming lack of certainty over how the next few months will pan out. Christmas campaigns requires prediction at the best of times; how do you judge what will people want and how to realise it following a pandemic? And what if everything changes again by December?