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Holidays are coming: our run down of the best Christmas ads

Thursday 23rd November


In the advertising world Christmas already feels like it has been and gone for some of us planning campaigns months ahead of their live dates. In the run up to Christmas we all eagerly await the first Christmas ad of the year, which was Marks and Spencer’s effort this year with a familiar little bear to most of us – Paddington, a classic and family favourite.

But what makes a good Christmas ad you ask? Well, we want to feel that warm fuzzy and happy feeling that is the joy of Christmas and we want to laugh as this time of the year truly is bright and gay. The point is that the advert should work to connect with us in a very personal and relatable way. Here’s a run down of the adverts that deliver that warm glow.

Marks and Spencer
This cheeky little bear brings all of this and more. He just melts your heart with his kindness which is what Christmas is all about. Paddington has an encounter with an unexpected “Christmas Visitor” which is actually a burglar that Paddington mistakes as Santa Claus in his naivety. He goes on to help “Santa” deliver all of his presents of which the burglar had just stolen! Paddington shows the burglar the true meaning of Christmas which is kindness, love and giving. Marks and Spencer’s have over 90 Paddington themed products in their store which ties in nicely with the release of Paddington 2 which has been rated with 5 stars on Empire and The Guardian and still has 100% on Rotten Tomatoes (which is almost unheard of!). Well done M&S we very much enjoy this advert and I give it 5 stars myself!

John Lewis
John Lewis is the one Christmas advert which we all have extremely high expectations for. This year I feel like this has disappointed compared to prior years with Moz the Monster. The last John Lewis Christmas advert that left little disappointment was Monty the Penguin in 2014 where a little boy has a penguin called Monty who dreams of love at Christmas time- Monty turns out to be an imaginary friend but on Christmas day there is a female Penguin under the tree for Monty. This was such a heart-warming advert but this year I’m not sure they have had the same effect with Moz the Monster. It’s a sweet advert of a friendship between a young boy called Joe and a monster called Moz. They stay up late playing games together but then Moz realises that staying up late is taking its toll on Joe and decided to give the little boy a present of a night light for Christmas as Moz doesn’t appear when there is light in a room. It’s a nice idea but I don’t think this has been executioned well as there has been a lot of confused heads out there as to what the advert actually means.

There are some Christmas adverts that haven’t had the buzz that they deserve for example the Sky Cinema advert where it takes you on a family journey from a young girl sitting in front of the TV with her family. The advert takes you through all of the stages of her life and eventually into a young woman with a child of her own sitting in front of the TV like herself as a child. It’s a really simple but lovely advert that reminds you of why Christmas is such a special family celebration.

The Children’s Hospice
As I have said Christmas is always a happy and family filled holiday. We have to remember that there are individuals and families out there who aren’t as lucky. There are people who have no one to spend their Christmas with and families who will have their #firstchristmas without a loved one. The Children’s Hospice advert reminds us of this. This isn’t the cheery Christmas advert that we all look forward to but it is a Christmas ad and it is reality for a lot of families out there. It shows that even in times of sadness we all need to come together to help each other get through a time which is so happy for some and yet to others a day that is dreaded due to reminders of loved ones not being there to celebrate with us.

Sainsbury’s have left viewers divided by this year’s karaoke creative #everybitofChristmas. This features staff and customers from all over Britain singing a festive rap. Some people are naming this as the “Xmas ad of the year” and others being a little over the top by saying “this ad has ruined Christmas!” You can probably relate to most of the lyrics in the song as it’s filled with memories that we have of Christmas growing up and throughout our adulthood! It’s something different and definitely not as annoying as the James Cordon “The Greatest Gift” advert last year. Nothing will live up to the hard-hitting but uplifting 2014 advert which was made in partnership with The Royal British Legion where a bar of chocolate is shared.

Debenhams has acquired the wonderfully talented Ewan McGregor to narrate and star in their spin on Cinderella this year: When a beautiful lady bumps into a handsome man on a train and they lock eyes- she loses her shoe and the rest of the advert revolves around them trying to find each other. Social media has a huge part to play in this advert with the woman tweeting #FindThatShoe and the man tweeting #FindThatGirl with people sharing these to bring the couple together again. They conveniently keep narrowly missing each other. Of course the story has a happy ending.

Kevin the Carrot is a family favourite from last year’s Aldi adverts and this year he finds himself a girlfriend Katie (What a great name!). The advert is very funny and makes me laugh every time I see it – especially when Kevin jumps in front of Katie to save her from the peas hurtling towards her and when he opens his eyes Katie is there fluttering her eyelashes at him and asks “Are you okay?”. To which he replies “I think I just Pea’d myself” the camera pans away to show a pea squashed on him. Very humorous and you are left wanting to find out more about Kevin and Katie. Hopefully we will have more adventures from them next year- maybe they will introduce some baby carrots?!

The Waitrose Christmas advert has a wonderful message of #ChristmasTogether. It’s always in the festive season when people tend to want to do more for each other and everyone has a kind spirit about them. This advert shows a pub filled with happy punters drinking and being merry until they get snowed in and are plunged into darkness. This is when everyone comes together to make a Christmas feast, of course made with Waitrose ingredients. As they all sit down to eat, the lights flood back on and they are rescued by two men who have been working hard to clear the snow, but how can they leave that Christmas feast that is on the table now? Brilliantly simple and amusing.

Morrisons’ have a few different creatives for Christmas to appeal to all. However one that stands out to me on a personal level is the free from advert. I know all too well that Christmas can be hard to indulge in if you have an intolerance or are a veggie! There are so many yummy treats out there that you want to get your hands on but know you will suffer the consequences if you do…So it’s lovely to see an advert that includes a child who always has to get the go ahead from her older brother for if she is allowed to eat or do something. Finally Morrisons saves the day and she has a table filled with festive treats that she can munch through! This will definitely be me Christmas week!!!

Last but not least, one of my favourites is Tesco’s Everyone’s Welcome creative. I am pretty sure there is at least one of these families you can relate to. Mine is definitely the family with the mum telling everyone to get out of the kitchen: we can’t help but eat the turkey as it is being cut! I am sure you have heard about this advert getting a lot stick from certain members of the public, saying that they will boycott Tesco after a Muslim family was featured in the advert, which is abhorent and ridiculous. There is no one, or a any low, stopping us from celebrating other religious holidays – more excuses to celebrate with our friends and family if you ask me! Also we all celebrate Christmas,but how many of us can truly say we are religious and go to Church every Sunday?!

Coca Cola
And finally, the return of a Christmas classic that never goes out of style.

Article Written by

Katie Joynes

Broadcast Buyer, Total Media

Katie is 28 and has worked in sales previously at itv and Turner. She really enjoys how varied her role is and is very proud to be working at Total Media. Outside of work she enjoys all things geeky and loves a good film franchise like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Star Wars.

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