Seasonally Social on Oxford Street

Turning on London's Christmas Lights makes international news. This year Robbie Williams did the honours (as our Kylie has done in the past). I don't recall seeing a sponsored campaign before, but this year its all about Marmite (you know, the black stuff like Vegemite that you put on your toast ... and as a general rule you either love it or hate it). Given it is dark by about 3.30pm in the afternoon, lights make sense in this part of the world. The timing sequence goes something like this ... reindeers headbutting then smashing a jar of Marmite gold, elves fighting over Marmite toast and fairies fluttering their wings to deliver hot toast (ha ha, it was minus 2 degrees when I snapped these pics!).

In a challenging retail climate, and with every budget under pressure, I am not surprised to see this event is now a high profile brand opportunity ... the interesting thing is that everybody can be involved in a very public way. You can get festive on Facebook or pop into the Marmite booth near Bond St tube to see your smiling dial shining down over Oxford Street (love it) or all manner of distasteful expressions (hate it). Personally I'm a Vegemite girl.

If the campaign doesn't impress you, then just take a look at the number of people out and about - it was shoulder to shoulder and survival of the fittest this weekend, which makes Christmas shopping in Australia seem very relaxed indeed.