The excellence of festive campaigns should teach us that brand engagement is not just for Christmas

PR is deployed to whet consumer appetites by leaking morsels, as if we couldn’t picture what is in store for us. An adorably toothless child in a well-furnished house befriends a fantasy figure with a particular cause for sadness. The figure is a metaphor for the magic of childhood refracted through a wistful gauze of adult memory; we know this because the soundtrack is a popular song from 10 years ago, covered bitter-sweetly by a breathless chanteuse.

Beneath the confident festive formula, there is nervousness among top brands.