Global festive retail marketing goes into annual overdrive

With Christmas around the corner, the marketing push from key manufacturers has understandably gone into overdrive, as key confectionery businesses attempt to make up for some of the considerable lost opportunities during the pandemic.

Clearly, as the major spike in covid cases within Europe over the past few weeks has revealed, we are far from out of the woods with the key issue that has been seriously impacting on food and drink supply chains, including those serving confectionery, snacks and bakery markets.

Despite such challenges, this season’s retail shelves- which have been undeniably impacted by the shortage of delivery drivers (the UK was reportedly short by a huge sum of 100,000 drivers over the past few months, with no clear resolution in sight), are now attempting to place Christmas very much in everyone’s minds. The golden period in the weeks leading up to the start of December remains a hugely significant period for sales of all product segments, and our grocery stores are consequently vying for your attention in particularly competitive form.

Among the most obvious confectionery-linked television adverts hitting British screens in the past week or so has been Marks & Spencer’s effort with actress Dawn French alongside the store’s sweet stalwart, Percy Pig, which has been viewed favourably by a number of industry insiders, as has fellow store Aldi’s Banana-based take on the classic Christmas tale of Scrooge.

Some major ad campaigns have fared less encouragingly, with Tesco’s call to arms that we should all just ignore the pandemic and get on with events, featuring a Santa having his covid passport at the ready to allow him to enter the UK, seems somewhat more awkward and akin to propaganda rather than an attempt to entice you into its stores.

But as for genuine product innovations, as we have covered through our website, and upcoming festive edition of the magazine, on a global level at least, there appears a real attempt to maintain consumers’ interest with new product ranges, though there’s a notable pattern of many brands continuing to rely on core favourites to drive their chocolate and wider sweets and snacks sales.

Hopefully, there will be one or two late surprises in the coming months just to add a little extra added spice and interest to the Christmas period, which in all honesty, is much needed after what has proved another testing year for many industries including our own.

Neill Barston, editor, Confectionery Production

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Confectionery Production