Opening the door to surprises this Christmas

by Holyrood Partnership

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

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Rummaging through the weird, wonderful, and quite frankly bizarre advent calendars on the market this Christmas

advent calendar being opened for Scottish PR agency blog

By Hannah Taylor-James

PEOPLE take celebrating rather seriously around this time of year. “Because it’s Christmas” is the excuse we all use throughout December for indulging and treating ourselves that little bit more.

And at this time of year, the saying ‘counting down the days’ really takes on its true, literal meaning, with the morning ritual of searching through the jumbled dates on an advent calendar and pulling open the little cardboard door to an early sugar rush.

Or at least that’s how we would measure the run up to Christmas until very recently. Advent calendars have transformed somewhat from their traditional selves.

Ghosts of Christmas Past

Waking up excitedly every morning to be greeted by small piece of novelty chocolate, moulded into a Christmas shape is a childhood memory we all hold dear.

Or for the older generations amongst us, the annual countdown might have involved snapping back a paper door to reveal a simple picture of a festive setting, or perhaps a religious poem.

Both practices are fairly modest in nature.

Today, however, brands of all sorts are jumping onto the creative (and often not so creative) bandwagon to ensure they get a piece of the advent calendar market.

Advent calendars have become a decadent and lavish market that is no longer reserved just for children. Calendars now range from doors concealing luxury beauty products, to whiskey miniatures, and have been known to cost up to £10,000.

Yes you read that right.

Unwrapping the new trend in advent calendars

The options appear to be endless this year, from calendars of boozy tasters for an early morning tipple, to hand-made, extravagantly decorated biscuits, to calendars to enjoy by the open fire with different flavoured marshmallows.

The advent calendar is being marketed as such an essential item that they’re even being created for man’s best friend. Because it would just be cruel to let your dog miss out on the fun!

Companies are doing all they can to think inside the box – a Thomas the Tank Engine advent calendar came out this year that doubles up as a workable train set.

If you’re particularly looking forward to pigging out on the pork scratchings this season then they’ve thought of that too – a pork scratching advent calendar can be yours for £12.00 (cue your grandmother in saying “Well I never!”)

The beauty industry has been quick to brush up on the market, too, with seemingly every cosmetic name out there enclosing miniature versions of its products behind small cardboard doors, promising to bring a bit of glamour each day.

And there are even ornately decorated wooden advent calendars, that bring a little merriment to both the recipient and the environment, as the boxes can be re-used year after year.

Bah, humbug

But as brands are doing all they can to get 24 of their products boxed up for the December cheer, not all of them are hitting the mark.

Famous blogger and YouTuber Zoella found herself in her most recent PR blunder after her advent calendar hit the shelves in Boots priced at £50.00.

As a large portion of her viewing audience is still in school, the influencer received a great deal of criticism for marketing such an expensive calendar. It was quickly deemed poor value for money, too, as the mere 12 doors contained little more than confetti, a notebook and a key ring.

There were, of course, complaints at first from disgruntled parents and some virtual judging looks being sent her way.

But the situation quickly went from bad to worse when the Zoella decided to release a statement, in a bid to explain excuse herself for the pricey product. The YouTube star claimed that she had no involvement in making pricing decisions and told her audience that the price of her product was decided upon by the retailer.

But many, including Boots, quickly pointed out that she was complicit in the pricing and that the retailer sells products according to the Recommended Retail Price, i.e. the price suggested by the supplier.

Then, to further contradict her claims that she couldn’t influence its cost, Boots promptly halved the price of the advent calendar in the midst of the crisis.

The event became a feeding ground for national media and other high-profile YouTube stars.

Merry Christmas One and All

No one is right all the time and often our mistakes are seen by others. This is just one of those unfortunate facts of life.

But, if you’re quite literally highly watched, and in a position of influence, people are going to call you out on them.

As most people understand that an individual can’t be perfect all the time, an apology can often repair the damage that the blunder might have caused.


Crisis PR Sorry Seems to be the Hardest WordRead our blog where we discuss if ‘sorry’ really is the hardest word to say


What, quite clearly doesn’t work, however, is to try to deceive your audience and assume that they have no insight to know any better.

So admit when you’re wrong as people are unlikely to be forgiving unless you acknowledge your own errors.

Interested in working with our Scottish PR agency to ensure you share the right message this Christmas?

If you’d like to learn more, visit us at www.holyroodpr.co.uk simply call 0131 561 2244 or fill out the form below:

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