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What do we really buy when we buy Advents Calendar?

We understand why between actual value and perceived value, the same controversy is always reborn at Christmas time

What do we really buy when we buy Advents Calendar? We understand why between actual value and perceived value, the same controversy is always reborn at Christmas time

Odi et amo. It is happening to one object of desire in particular, namely the Advent calendar. For years, not to say decades, this typically Christmassy accessory has had an upgrade from the 24 boxes of chocolates we loved to get as kids at the end of November and then, from Dec. 1, unwrap day by day while waiting for Christmas. The boom started with the Beauty Advent Calendars, real goodies for aficionodas and a flagship product of beauty brands to create some magic by playing with the packaging of their product offerings. Usually beauty advent calendars contain 12 to 24 products, including mini-size products, gadgets and even full size, are designed in limited editions that go immediately sold-out in collectible box format, with the boxes each containing a gift creating an extremely Instagrammable effect. The world of beauty has subsequently been inspired by jewelry brands, which have created real boxes containing the best of their creations. But if until 2020 everything went magically well, since last year fans of some brands have been complaining about the mix between price, gamified experience and choice of gadgets, which are not always balanced according to the public's opinions. Before going into detail, we couldn't help but wonder: when we buy an Advent calendar, are we moved by the Christmas spirit and just buying an experience? Or is the purchase driven by having the products at a lower price than the actual cost of the products sold individually in store? Most importantly: past the holidays, and specifically after Christmas Day, what is left of the Advent calendar? The floor is given to the facts, documented by users on TikTok.

The case of luxury advent calendars

In Christmas 2021 chaos broke out on social media. Subject: the very famous Chanel advent calendar, created as an initiative to celebrate the 100th birthday of the maison's iconic fragrance. Let's start by saying that the design was made of art, in the shape of a maxi bottle of Chanel N°5, with inside not only beauty products but also some extra cadeaux, for the price of $825, along the same lines as competitors YSL and Dior Beauty. It was precisely the gadgets that generated hell among shoppers who, perhaps uninspired by the Christmas experience, thought they had fallen for a luxury scam. But let's go in order. On December 3 last year, California user Elise Harmon had posted a video on TikTok in which she unboxed the boxes wondering if she was living a "dream." With a rating of 10 out of 10 for the packaging, the user liked most of the contents, from the perfumes to the lipsticks to the hand cream, but was disappointed by the gadgets, from the keychain to the mirror, raging upon opening the boxes with only a rope bracelet and a logoed dustbag inside. The same effect was had by the different interpretations of the seasonal product by the other maisons, which, with their identity declined differently from Chanel, still skimped on the product.

@willabelleofficial Y’know the holiday season is upon us when #CHANEL Amour plastique - Videoclub
@culted What are your thoughts? Credit: @Elise #chanel #adventcalendar #christmas #fashion #luxury #fyp #foryoupage #fail #trending #news original sound - CULTED
@sparklesandcarbss Chanel advent calendar unboxing PART 4 & LAST DAY!#MacysGiftTok #fyp original sound - KARI GILBERT
@willabelleofficial Y’know the holiday season is upon us when #CHANEL Amour plastique - Videoclub
@sparklesandcarbss Chanel advent calendar unboxing PART 4 & LAST DAY!#MacysGiftTok #fyp original sound - KARI GILBERT
@laura_charaba unboxing the ysl advent calendar 2022 [day 1, 2 and 3] #adventcalendar #unboxing #ysl2022 #2022 #winter #gift #fashion #beauty #international Made You Look - Meghan Trainor

It took only three days to ignite a revolution of negative comments about the products until, according to him, Harmon would be "blocked" by Chanel itself. Although it appears impossible since Chanel's Tik Tok profile is virtually inactive, as Gregoire Audidier, director of communications and strategy for Chanel Fragrance and Beauty, also explained. But the question that left so many puzzled was: okay the rope bracelet but why rage against this one luxury brand when, on the beauty advent calendar market, there are at least a dozen similar ones? More importantly, at the $850 price point, what was expected? A miniature of the iconic 2.55? If the whole scandal sounds bizarre to you, perhaps that is because it is. Chanel had in fact revealed the entire contents of its calendar on social media and on its website, so it was pretty intuitable to users what they would find in it. Bruno Pavlovsky, president of Chanel's fashion business, however, saw it as a reason for growth. "Clearly, we realized that we have to be careful in the future."

The Italian TikTok case and Martina Strazzer

But if Chanel, this Christmas, can sleep soundly, the Harmon case is repeating itself, in 2022, right on TikTok Italia. A new doggedness has now hit the emerging Italian bijoux brand Amabile Jewels. The gadget issue, as in the case of Chanel, strikes again. Galeotta was a cookie mold that allegedly infuriated customers because they expected a limited edition a bit more elaborate than the one chosen by the brand. Analyzing on TikTok the strategy of this Advent calendar, sold at 249 euros, are several marketing experts. The value of the jewelry inside is around 190 euros, and the remaining 60 have been criticized buyers, who are not aware of the cost to the brand of making a printed and customized box of a certain workmanship. And the cost of the gadgets made, such as the custom logo faux leather mirror, was certainly not minimal either. And here a question arises: why do fans think that the brand wanted to appropriate an extra 60 euros, without having thought about how much joy this experience could give to those who were willing to spend 249 euros? The founder herself, Martina Strazzer, had explained on her profile that she admitted that the price might be high but that her choice had been to calibrate the quantity of the jewelry to the quality of the packaging, considering a fair price even for the realization, from her pocket, of all the products.


@inesemmanicolai Il calendario dell’avvento di Amabile Jewels dal punto di vista del marketing #calendariodellavvento #marketing #greenscreen Bright christmas songs - Pad

Ovviamente il profilo sarà privato sennò non avrebbe senso ahahahhahhaha

suono originale - Martina Strazzer Vediamo insieme il calendario e alcuni dei suoi costi di produzione. #greenscreen #socialmediastrategist #marketingnotiktok #marketingtips #erroridanonfare #amabilejewels #calendariodellavvento suono originale - Alice Locatelli Il calendario dell’avvento di Amabile sta generando non poche polemiche ma vediamo insieme la qualità dei prodotti. #greenscreen #socialmediastrategist #marketingnotiktok #marketingitalia #marketingtips #erroridanonfare #amabile #calendariodellavvento suono originale - Alice Locatelli

Is the magic gone?

Even if it is just entertainment, how much are you willing to spend for a little Christmas spirit? The Advent calendar is nothing more than a game-based shopping experience. As user Ines Emma Nicolai explains well on Tik Tok, any brand that opts for an Advent calendar should not think about profit but rather focus on its investment to build customer loyalty and keep up with seasonal trends, certainly not to replenish margins. Even the user, however, should be aware that to add up each individual product within the pack will always be disappointed. The problem is that the advent calendar is a bundle, and it has always been the case in marketing that the bundle of several products is perceived as a cumulative purchase accompanied by savings. So it is the balance between actual and perceived value that is confusing if certain awareness mechanisms are not activated with storytelling. One strategy to mitigate complaints would be to educate the user about the actual experience they are purchasing with more curated and immersive storytelling. Watching the advent calendar videos, one can only wonder where the ability to open the boxes day by day, enjoying the surprise and making u real countdown to Christmas instead of opening all the boxes with calculator in hand, as when instead of fragrances there were chocolates.