used all the elements TV has to offer to drive Christmas success

Download is a website that prides itself on offering unique gifts that enable you to find the perfect present for your loved ones. In this case study, you can see how they selected a variety of TV offerings in order to generate buzz and awareness about their Christmas 2014 campaign.  The activity was centred around a fun competition, but incorporated many more elements and they combined this with some clever targeted spot buying. 

  • needed to drive awareness of the unique gifts on their site  
  • They used a range of different TV offerings in order to generate maximum impact from their Christmas activity 
  • They drove 53% year on year sales growth


Christmas is a special time. One of the most fun things about Christmas is the presents we give and receive. The presents we love best, we hold onto long after the Christmas tree is taken down. 

In 2014, there appeared to be growing demand for buying different presents, as 9% of people now buy at least some of their gifts from Christmas craft fairs. Research showed that people thought that the best presents were the ones that someone had put genuine thought into. pride themselves on offering shoppers a more original and inspired selection of presents that are more personal to the recipients. For their Christmas campaign in 2014, they wanted to celebrate how helps you find the perfect and unique gifts for the ones you love. 

Their objective was to communicate this to Christmas shoppers, as well as driving awareness and delivering business growth in the process. However, with expenditure considerably less than their competitors, this was always going to be a challenge.

The TV Solution

They wanted to create buzz and awareness, particularly amongst people who start thinking and planning about Christmas early. TV was the obvious medium to choose because of its ability to reach a large number of people quickly and its power to generate buzz. These early planners became the core target audience for the brand. Their media agency, M2M, recommended that they target this audience using Sky AdSmart, as they were able to target three core mosaic audiences exclusively and deliver a creative message directly to them alone.

M2M then matched postcode data to identify if the brand message and the product featured within it had resonated with the audience. They were able to pinpoint the orders, sales and new customers directly generated by the campaign. This allowed to speak directly to and create brand awareness with the most relevant and thoughtful audience segments.     

Launching early, on a big scale, meant they could deploy their budget where it would work the hardest. Their competitors traditionally launch during the second week of November and so, by launching their Christmas campaign before this, gave them a head start.  


They decided to kick off the campaign with activity in The X Factor on 1st November.  To create maximum impact and engagement, they opted to run a competition. They created a 60 second spot which asked viewers to count the number of Christmas trees they spotted during the ad and tweet their answer to #treespotting for a chance to win a voucher for worth £5,000. In the preceding break, there was a 10 second call to action spot that encouraged viewers to pay attention in the following break for a chance to win big money. In the break following, the winner was revealed live on air with their Twitter handle written amongst the stars for all to see. 

The campaign continued with 60 second spots, in order to establish an emotional connection with viewers and drive the greatest impact in recall and awareness. In order to sustain the campaign throughout November, they introduced 30 second versions of the spots, ensuring an all-important presence in the build up to Christmas. They then supported this with 10 second reminder spots featuring the full range of exciting and unique gifts on the site. 

M2M analysed BARB data in order to create a bespoke target audience and then identified the best converting channels and programmes in order to reach them. The programme mix included high profile event spots to reach a broader gifting audience, alongside upmarket female programming such as The X Factor, Homeland, Grand Designs, I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here and Liberty of London.   

As Christmas approached, programming was skewed more towards men, as it was anticipated that seven out of ten last minute panic-buying shoppers would be men. In addition, they upweighted the days around Black Friday and Cyber Monday as these are critical spending days in the run up to Christmas. 

Alongside the TV campaign, used a bespoke interactive format across 4oD to reach viewers in their ‘me time’. The format meant that the viewer could link directly through to key sections of the website. They also ran pre-rolls on ITV’s BVoD to generate reach and standout.

The TV campaign was complemented by activity in national press gift guides, relevant weeklies, rich media online, OOH and radio. The TV ad featured rhyming couplets and so the radio campaign acted as an audio reminder of the TV creative.    


  • Expenditure from customers who had not bought from before doubled year on year
  • Growth in expenditure from active customers increased from 30% to 37% 
  • Sales of multiple items from current buyers increased by 40%
  • Consideration for gift purchasing at increased 104%
  • Prompted brand awareness rose from 56% to 71%
  • Unprompted ad awareness increased 14% to 19% - a massive 36% lift compared to a category average for the same period of +16%
  • Brand image statements for unique, creative, original and inspirational all increased
  • On Black Friday, had its most successful day in its history, with sales growing 187% year on year
  • The X Factor competition spot drove a 77% increase in visits to the site that day. Traffic from mobiles and tablets saw the biggest uplifts of 91% and 83% respectively
  • #treespotting trended nationwide becoming the second most popular hashtag in the UK
  • saw the fastest growth in traffic of any other site, moving 21 places in IMRG’s top 50 retailer ranking for November
  • They drove 53% year on year sales growth, significantly higher than their competitors. Importantly, the growth has carried on post-Christmas in to 2015

As one of the leading online gifting destinations in the UK, Christmas really is make-or-break for us and 2014 was no exception. We had incredibly aggressive targets and to deliver these we invested our biggest above-the-line spend of our 8 year history to ensure we could reach a large audience whilst continuing to remain true to our brand principles. Christmas is an incredibly noisy time so it was vital that we could cut through the big spending retailers and establish as the place to go to have a less ordinary Christmas. This involved utilising the best that TV had to offer including AdSmart, Live Adverts and Event programming allowing us to deliver our biggest Christmas to date.

Ben Carter, Marketing Director


Sector: e-commerce 


Campaign objectives: To generate awareness and drive business growth

Target Audience:  ABC1 women

Budget: approx. £2.5m (source: Nielsen)

Campaign Dates: The campaign ran from 1st November until 20th December 2014 

TV Usage:  60 second spots, 30 second spots, 10 second spots

Creative Agency: WCRS 

Media Agency:  M2M

You might also like

Shop Responsibly: collaboration in a time of crisis

How agencies, broadcasters and advertisers united to promote shopping responsibly rather than panic buying


The BHF harness the storytelling power of TV

How a one-off AFP raised awareness of the lifesaving work the BHF do and raised donations


McCoy’s Muchos pack a punch without a punchy budget

How McCoy’s created the ‘Tortilla Take Down’ with bespoke creative, comedic talent, selective spots, fun programming and podium positions