When Mid-November strikes, the X Factor advert breaks becomes a war zone, with the big supermarkets and department stores reminding us that Christmas is just x weeks away and it’s time to start spending. The release of the Christmas ads kickstarts the shopping season of ringing sleigh bells and ringing tills, and all sorts of approaches are taken to get the crowds in. But who took the turkey crown this year and who was stuck with the brussel sprouts? Here’s our countdown of the biggest campaigns of the season.
The unspeakably hideous Argos aliens are unfortunately still with usand are deciding what gift to give to Santa in this pushy festive effort. If the aliens weren’t disturbing enough, a horrible shot of Santa without a beard – revealing a grotesque giant chin that could actually scare young children – automatically puts Argos on our naughty list.
After a few years of Jamie Oliver stuffing his mug with non-twizzlered turkey, this year’s Sainsbury’s effort features a charming and at times poignant compilation of family home videos depicting classic Christmas family moments that we can all relate to.But wait, is this an advert? Nope, it’s a trailer for a longer film about the British Family Christmas, directed by Oscar winner Kevin MacDonald. An hour long advert? Bring Jamie back!
After a controversial ad last year that was accused of sexism, Morrisons are pulling no punches this year, shipping in Christmas campaign veterans Ant and Dec to charm us with their cheeky (& freakishly smooth) faces. They co-star with an all-singing all-dancing gingerbread man, who wants to convince us all that panettone is a Christmas essential. The ad has gone for the excessive side of Christmas, which might not play well alongside Britain’s current austerity. The ad also takes a sinister turn at its conclusion, with the poor animated biscuit facing his grisly demise at the hands of a very hungry Dec.
Asda has really kicked the trend with a campaign that’s definitely in the Smart Price range rather than Extra Special. It’s also a little bit mean spirited, taking a hearty stab at its rivals, hardly the stuff of Christmas cheer. It does do the job however, and with millions being spent by its rivals, the cheap and cheerful campaign will appeal to those looking to save a few pence this Christmas.
#6. Marks and Spencer
Marks and Sparks have pushed the boat out this year with an extended ad featuring Helena Bonham Carter being her usual self (i.e. terrifying) and Rosie Huntingdon Whitely doing what she does best – looking lovely in her undies. However, the ‘Magic and Sparkle’ campaign somehow misses the mark, looking just a bit too flash and taking a fairy tale theme that actually isn’t that Christmassy.
The simple approach here would have been pushing the quality of Waitrose’s food (and keeping schtum about the price), but the posh nosh is pushed aside for some good old Christmas giving. With a focus on Waitrose’s charity work, the ad certainly warms the cockles and strikes all right chords.
After the dire ‘Here Comes the Girls’ campaign, Boots takes a different tack, with an advert that hits viewers with a tear-jerking twist. The campaign stars a naughty teenage hoodie who runs around seemingly terrorising his neighbourhood, the little scamp, before it is revealed he’s been giving gifts to those that really matter. The nurse who looked after his Nan, his hard working teacher, and of course ‘the fittest girl in year 10’. It’s heart warming, funny, and has a few neat gift ideas – top marks all round.
#3. John Lewis
No-one’s quite sure how the John Lewis Christmas Ad became a national event, but the pressure was on, and Mr. Lewis delivered. It has its critics (Lord Sugar tweeted ‘Have not got a clue what they are trying to sell’), but the animated Bear and Hare advert, featuring Lily Allen on vocals, has become a national talking point (mostly the question ‘did you cry??’). It’s got seven million and counting views on YouTube, making this the clear winner when it comes to buzz.
#2. TK Maxx
With its rather arty title ‘The Moment’, the TK Maxx ad looks at the soft side of commercialism; with a striking compilation of slow motion close ups of people reacting to their perfect pressies. It’s got the right balance of simplicity and sappiness, and most importantly it looks great.
The UKs biggest supermarket is the Christmas number one with its ad depicting a young family celebrating Christmas over the years. As parents become grandparents, tears start to form. Graduating from scratchy super 8 film, grainy home video to full HD, the ad has dancing grannies, surly teens, excited families and even the classic Christmas argument, all with Rod Stewart screeching over the top. It’s a lovely, heart warming advert that reminds us why Christmas is such a big deal in the first place.
So, how about you? Did the hotly anticipated John Lewis ad make you cry or were you underwhelmed like Lord Sugar? Do the Argos aliens make your belly shake like a bowl full of jelly or are their jokes scraping the bottom of the Christmas cracker barrel? Let us know your thoughts on our top 10 in the comments section below.
About the Author!
Alex Gillham works with www.amplitudecreative.co.uk. She is a passionate writer on topics like marketing and design with a softspot for anything Christmas related, it being her favourite time of the year.