And we’re off. Best Buy launches holiday campaign

I‘m not proud of this, but as a young lad of 11 or 12, I discovered a race car set (this one, to be precise) that was to be my “big” Christmas gift hidden under my parents’ bed. In a move that was equal parts selfish and stupid, I decided to take it out of the box and give it a literal test drive.

Everything was going wonderfully until I heard the sound of my parents’ car coming up the driveway. Insides practically frozen with fear, I frantically stuffed the set back into its box—which, of course, ended up looking just as you’d expect. Not a word was said about the incident until Christmas morning, when my parents, lips pursed, presented me with the racing set unwrapped. I felt deeply ashamed, and I never snooped again.

Snooping, of course, is as much a holiday tradition as cookies and carols. It’s discussed on parenting forums, and there’s even a site that provides tips on how to do it successfully. A U.K. company, meanwhile, has created a motion-activated “snoop alarm” that goes off whenever kids get too close to presents stowed under the tree.

It is also the basis of a new holiday campaign from Best Buy called “The Gift Hunt,” with the electronics retailer saying that it is trying to recapture the excitement of being a young child and knowing there are Christmas gifts hidden somewhere in the house.

While the spot from Union opens with a slight nod to the pandemic (a customer ordering online and opting to pick up products at a nearby store), this is a pretty conventional holiday ad that keeps things light and fun. It shows two young girls using the technology at their disposal—including drones, a GoPro camera and an iRoomba—to conduct what is ultimately a fruitless search for their gifts. Amateurs!

“The childlike joy that comes with searching for a gift is a feeling everyone can relate to,” said Rica Eckersley, creative director at Union in a release about the new creative. “And adding a tech element to that hunt makes the story even more fun, and ownable for Best Buy.”

“Now more than ever, tech not only keeps us entertained, but keeps us connected. So, we know it will be at the top of everyone’s wish-list,” added James Pelletier, director of marketing for Best Buy Canada.

(Other agency partners on the campaign include Soft Citizen, Married to Giants, Wingman VFX and SNDWRX, with media by Media Experts and Best Buy Canada’s internal digital team.)

In a move that’s sure to delight some and infuriate others, Best Buy is among the first companies out of the blocks on holiday advertising, even announcing some Black Friday deals prior to Halloween. It is encouraging people to shop early so they will be able to benefit from less crowds, more inventory, and faster shipping.

Retailers, of course, are hopeful that the holidays can make up for what has been an awful year, and electronics are very much a holiday staple (according to a recent U.S. study from Deloitte, they are expected to account for 13% of total holiday spending this year, with an average category spend of $195). And snoops beware: electronics packaging can be especially tricky.

Chris Powell