Christmas Campaigns of the Month.
TopicCampaigns of the Month
3 mins read
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Yes, that’s right, it’s time for our Campaigns of the Month Christmas special edition. We’ve watched (nearly) all of this year’s Christmas ads and chosen our top 10 based on absolutely nothing more than Festive Feels. This list is in no way representative of the entire agency, but seeing as I write the blogs around here, I had the honour of sorting the Christmas turkeys from the gifts that keep on giving. So, without further ado, let’s get to it.
10. Barbour - ‘Shaun the Sheep x Baa-bour’
Barbour doesn’t quite give Apple a run for its money in the best animated Christmas ad category this year, but it’s still a decent effort. While the Shaun the Sheep link is initially a bit of an odd one, it does make sense when you consider Barbour’s target audience, who are probably very fond of Aardman’s work. I’m not the biggest fan, but even I have fond memories of watching Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run over the festive period. It’s always hard to really sell a product in animation, especially fashion, and the sustainability message is a bit weak, but it’s a lovely little film all the same.
Festive Feels: 69%
9. TK Maxx - ‘Festive Farm’
TK Maxx sticks to its familiar tongue-in-cheek tone with this wonderfully mad, festive farmyard tale. The brand’s positioning comes through very strong in this one, which is usually “spoil yourself for less”, but as it’s Christmas, the message has been tweaked to “spoil your loved ones for less”. In this instance, Jeanne decides her loved ones (those being the farm animals we see) deserve to be treated too. Good on you Jeanne. It’s farm animals doing their own fashion show with a Christmas backdrop. What’s not to love? I can definitely see this becoming an annual thing.
Festive Feels: 72%
8. McDonald’s - ‘Fancy a McDonald’s This Christmas?’
There’s nothing particularly special about this ad from McDonald’s, but boy does it feel festive. Reviving the famous raised eyebrows mechanic from previous campaigns, this ad presents all the familiar scenarios we dream of escaping from at Christmas – the disappointing work party, the overcrowded Santa’s grotto or the soulless airport lounge – and shows people doing exactly that as they march over to a Maccies instead. We’ve all been there and that’s why I think this ad works so well. Not sure about the ending, though. I do feel for people working in any form of hospitality at this time of year.
Festive Feels: 76%
7. John Lewis - ‘Snapper: The Perfect Tree’
Say what you want about John Lewis’ Christmas ads, but they still consistently deliver the festive feels, which is why this year’s effort makes it into our top 10. Yes, they aren’t as good as they used to be. And yes, they’re probably starting to run out of ideas. But I like the message behind ‘Snapper’, which teaches us about the importance of expressing ourselves, being who we want to be and accepting others for who they are. I see what people mean when they say Venus flytraps aren’t cute, but John Lewis has done a pretty good job of making it endearing to the viewer. Not their best Christmas ad, but not their worst either.
Festive Feels: 79%
6. Tesco - ‘Helping You Become More Christmas’
Fun is the overriding theme of this year’s Tesco Christmas ad, but it also has some touching moments. I’m sure we can all empathise with the main protagonist, a teenage boy who’s seemingly grown out of Christmas and is trying his best not to get drawn into the seemingly ‘childish’ antics around him. But as the ad goes on, we see his resistance wearing thin and it takes a special moment between him and his father to finally bring out the Christmas within him. It’s upbeat (helped by the amazing OMC track) and a little bit silly, but that’s what makes it the best supermarket Christmas ad of the year for me.
Festive Feels: 83%
5. Boots - ‘Give Joy’
Boots has nailed it with this year’s Christmas ad. In it, we see a mother and daughter go on an epic adventure, prompted by a question I’m sure we all asked as kids and one that most parents now dread – “who gives presents to Santa?” It doesn’t faze this mother, though, as she gives her daughter the adventure of a lifetime, travelling all the way to Lapland. Along the way, we watch them giving back to the people who help them (cue Boots products) and the present for Santa genuinely brought a smile to my face. Lovely stuff.
Festive Feels: 86%
4. Amazon - ‘Joy Ride’
I love this ad from Amazon, not least because it stars a little-known actress called Annie O’Donnell from one of my favourite short films, ‘The Recordist’. It’s a beautiful story of life-long friendship and the joy of sharing special moments with the people you love. With snow, sledging, gifting and instrumental music that tugs on the heartstrings, it’s got all the simple ingredients that once made John Lewis’ Christmas ads so revered. It was a tough call not to put this in the top three as it’s got festive feels in abundance, but the others just had something a bit different.
Festive Feels: 90%
3. JD - ‘The Bag for Life’
Some critics of JD’s Christmas ad argue it’s not ‘Christmassy’ enough. The reason I’ve ranked it so highly is precisely for that reason. I love how the ad represents a different kind of Christmas, one that’s highly relatable for JD’s target audience. Over time, we’ve been taught to believe there’s only one kind of Christmas, the one we see in Christmas films and, usually, in Christmas ads. But that’s simply not the case. For some people, Christmas looks and feels like it does in JD’s ad, so who are we to argue over its ‘Christmassy’-ness? Love it.
Festive Feels: 93%
2. Coca-Cola - ‘The World Needs More Santas’
The idea behind Coca-Cola’s Christmas ad this year isn’t new, but the way it’s presented is what makes it truly special. In the ad, we see a city full of Santas helping each other and displaying acts of kindness before it’s revealed that the Santas are, in fact, us. It’s something you only really learn as an adult (and something we often need reminding of at this time of year), that the magic of Santa is really what he represents. Kindness, charity, giving. Doing something for others out of the goodness of our own heart. Nice work.
Festive Feels: 97%
1. Apple - ‘Fuzzy Feelings’
Topping the list this year by a country mile is Apple’s ‘Fuzzy Feelings’. This Christmas ad just has everything. Not only does it carry all the key elements of a great story, such as a beginning, middle and end, rising action, conflict and character development, but it also puts the brand’s product in the spotlight throughout in a completely authentic way. The subtle nods to A Christmas Carol, the focus on themes of kindness and forgiveness in a time when we need it most, the choice of music, George Harrison’s ‘Isn’t It a Pity’. All in all, it’s bloody brilliant.
Festive Feels: 100%
There are your top 10 people. What’s your favourite Christmas ad this year? Is it one we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments wherever you found this blog and keep your eye out for our bonanza Campaigns of the Month edition in January, where we’ll round up the 12 best ads from 2023. And if you’re starting to think about your campaigns for next year, get in touch and let’s discuss it over a mince pie and a mulled wine.