Photo credit – Pexels
As the countdown to Christmas begins, our Creative Director, Helen, shares some of her favourite festive adverts from this year. Enjoy!
It’s that time of year!
Never before in my lifetime have I felt that we all need Christmas as much as we do this year. I actually said this in 2020 and again in 2021, but now I really mean it. The world seems a darker and more hopeless place in these uncertain times – a pandemic, a war, the cost of living crisis and the revolving door at number 10, all adding to an unsettled feeling across the country. Where’s all the fun gone?
While we all may not be able to afford the luxurious Christmases we would love or have enjoyed before, we can all benefit from having something lovely to look forward to and a break from the daily trudge. Just a hint of sparkle and carefree joy seems like the tonic we are all looking for (or gin). The sense of magic, the food, the lights, our family, friends and cosy nights…will hopefully cheer us all up a little and help us look the other way when perhaps more bad news creeps in. Please no. And then, there’s the telly of course. Our escape.
The Christmas ads have now launched and there is no doubt that the big companies have gone down a safer route this year, one of fun, light heartedness and kindness. There’s no huge budget big hitters, no many years in the making – hand drawn animations, no surprising creative, BUT I actually think this is the right approach right now and it’s a delightfully welcome distraction from what’s going on in the world. Some have impressed me, some make me all warm and fuzzy, some have confused me and some are a bit meh, but generally they’re all much needed light relief and the kids seem to like them. So, I’m going to take my annual look at the best (and least best) Christmas ads that are on offer in yet another bizarre year on this planet….drumroll please! 🥁
M&S | Duckie
French and Saunders are reunited, hooray! That’s my first tick. The established character from previous years – the Christmas fairy, voiced by Dawn French, is looking for a new friend. She brings to life the well loved and badly chewed “Duckie” (Jennifer Saunders) who together, embark on a Christmas full of adventures – top and tailed by a showcase of the m&s delights on offer. Sharry Cramond, Director of Marketing and Hospitality, at M&S Food said: “This Christmas we know families want a cosy but special get-together at home. Our ad brings to life what we have to offer – the perfect menu to deliver that warm, fuzzy, festive.” It’s warm, fun, nicely made and it’s the pure escapism that we all need. The kids will enjoy seeing them in different stories across the festive season and that’s good enough for me this year. Cute and magical…and those mini steak crostini also caught my eye…
John Lewis | The Beginner
I cried. I didn’t see it coming. The beauty of this year’s John Lewis ad is that it’s igniting conversations by supporting a well deserved charity. Claire Pointon, the Customer Director at John Lewis said the ad was a “very different story to what we have done before’ and was intended to ‘make you stop and think and say, “how can I help?” which is exactly why I love it. I assumed it would be about the wife buying the husband a new skateboard or that he was practicing for a performance as per other rousing and heartwarming stories before. But, it’s not about clever gimmicks or new toy characters to sell in store, or multi millions spent on animation, it’s simple, it’s thoughtful and as a parent, I completely understand the sentiment in the story. You would do anything for a child that you love (or were looking forward to loving when they become part of your home) and it’s what Christmas is all about, opening up your home, giving love, thinking about others… (yes ok, and eating all the cheese!)
Tesco | The Christmas Party
Once again, Tesco understands the mood of the nation. Mid pandemic they scrapped the ‘naughty list’ which hit the spot exactly for me, and this year they bring us #StandForJoy as they become the ‘The Christmas Party’. On a mission to bring happiness by forming a new political party where the narrator confirms: “the only thing we’ll cut are prices and cake” and “all bedtimes to be scrapped.” 🎉
Alessandra Bellini, Chief Customer Officer at Tesco, says: “It’s very important that our seasonal campaigns reflect how our customers genuinely feel and what we know they are looking for. We understand that it is a tough time at the moment with everyone’s finances under pressure, but we also know that people are looking forward to Christmas – in fact our research shows that there is even more excitement around it than usual.” That’s why Tesco’s ad is one of my faves again, they just get it. The idea on paper is always spot on, the execution could be a little more fleshed out but I like the sentiment this year.
Shelter | Brave Face
Sorry this one might bring the mood down a bit, but this is one of those messages you can’t ignore and that’s the point. I honestly had no idea that over 119,500 children will be homeless this Christmas, and we really should all know this. The ad gets under your skin and hopefully will get donations rolling in for this worthwhile charity. The little boy is adorable, the music is happy yet painfully sad at the same time, and the messaging is upsettingly clear. Click here to donate if you can. (And I also dare you to watch and not cry…)
Part 2 coming soon!
We hope you enjoyed part 1 of this year’s Christmas ads and we look forward to sharing part 2 of this blog with you all soon!🎅🏼🎄⭐️