Christmas Campaigns of the Month.
12 mins read
We’re well into December now and the festive season is swiftly upon us. That can only mean one thing – it’s time for a special edition of our Campaigns of the Month to round up the best of this season’s Christmas TV ads. It’s been a strong year and there’s no clear runaway winner, so rather than ranking them all as we usually do, here’s a smörgåsbord (or perhaps a Boxing Day cheese board?) of our favourites across a selection of far-too-specific and entirely made-up categories. What do you think this is, the Oscars?
Best Use of Will Ferrel, sorry, Editing
We couldn’t possibly write a blog on this year’s Christmas ads and not mention Asda’s effort. It’s probably the one that’s been talked about the most, with some crowning it the outright winner and others not as keen for various reasons. We’ve given it the award for Best Use of Editing as technically it’s very well executed, blending scenes of Will Ferrel in Elf so seamlessly with the in-store shots that it’s sometimes hard to tell he wasn’t there on set.
Best Use of Animated Anthropomorphism (try saying that after a few sherries)
Aldi’s Christmas ads featuring Kevin the Carrot are always good fun. The supermarket has been dining out (sorry) on the cute animated character since 2016 and the cuddly toys are a bestseller. While the ads are nearly always inspired by books, cinema and popular culture, some of the previous references have felt a bit tedious but this year they’ve got it bang on with their Home Alone-inspired tale. To be honest, we’re surprised it’s taken them this long.
Best at Conveying a Serious Message
I couldn’t believe it when I read that a staggering 119,500 children will be without a home this winter. It’s something that no child should ever have to experience but so many do, forcing them to put on a brave face at school or with friends. This heartbreaking ad from Shelter hammers home the message and makes you really stop and think about what’s truly important at Christmas time – a roof over your family’s head. You can donate to Shelter’s winter appeal here.
Best at Making You Actually Feel Christmassy
M&S has two Christmas ads out this year and together they both do a fine job of injecting the festive spirit. We love the ‘Gifts that give’ ad as it’s a true celebration of togetherness and community soundtracked by the smooth vocals of Harry Styles, but we have a particular soft spot for the M&S Food ad. Like Aldi, they’ve found success with a recurring Christmas character, Fairy, voiced by the brilliantly cheeky Dawn French, and this time she’s joined by her pal and long-time co-star Jennifer Saunders to voice Duckie. Top marks for production value.
Best Campaign Inspired by a Single Witty Pun
We kind of had to include this one from Morrisons as it stars our friend and very talented actor Simon Holland Roberts, who you might recognise from the TVC we produced for Safestyle back in 2018. But even if it didn’t, we’d still give it a mention as it’s a bloody good Christmas ad. Some clever person realised that “Father Christmas” sounds like “Farmer Christmas” and it spawned a whole campaign. To be fair, it wouldn’t have worked quite as well for the other supermarkets (except possibly Waitrose or Booths) as it fits so perfectly with Morrisons’ whole Market Street story.
Best John Lewis Advert That’s Not John Lewis
It’s not often you see an Academy Award-winning writer, director and actor at the helm of a Christmas TV ad but Amazon called on the fantastic Taika Waititi for this year’s spot. This is a personal favourite of mine, mainly because it goes back to basics and pulls on the heartstrings aka ‘the John Lewis formula’ by demonstrating what Christmas is really about – doing something special to make the people you love happy. After all, “joy is made” as the ad says, not “bought”. Don’t tell Jeff Bezos though.
So there you have it, our favourite Christmas TV ads without even a single mention of John Lewis (nearly). What’s your favourite ad this year? Let us know in the comments wherever you found this post.