Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I hope you’ve all enjoyed the festivities and aren’t suffering too much as you go back to work. As you may have noticed I took a week off over Christmas to enjoy catching up with everyone so as this is my first post since Christmas I thought I would look back at all the Christmas competition to pick out my favourite ad/campaign. Now anyone that knows me will know that I can be quite indecisive so I’ve set myself a little challenge here. It is one of the things I’m trying to improve on, but can you really blame me, there is so much choice these days?!
We’ve probably all been sat in front of the TV a little too much over the past couple of weeks or at least more than usual so there are probably a few ads that we have seen or heard about that have been more prominent than others. As always, there is high competition and this year many have warmed our hearts and filled us with Christmas spirit but some others have caused controversy and topped charts. Now, before we get to the more serious campaigns, let’s start with one brand that is always at the top of their game at Christmas: John Lewis.
John Lewis – The Boy and the Piano
It’s very close to impossible to talk about Christmas adverts without mentioning John Lewis as one of the main competitors every year. Personally I loved the ad, it’s heartwarming, moving and familiar and it inspires us to find that gift that will really make a difference. How the advert ends is truly touching, especially with the last few scenes showing him with his family as a child as, I don’t know about you, but having children about really makes it feel like Christmas with their excitement and overwhelming joy.
As much as I enjoyed this very uplifting ad I can understand the mixed response with this promoting Elton John’s biopic, Rocketman but, at the end of the day, it is an advert and who doesn’t love a bit of Elton John? Let’s not get lost in these responses though because, if you think about Elton John and John Lewis, they don’t really need much advertising anymore, as they’re both really big household names. This advert is all about the sentiment of giving.
Cadbury – Secret Santa
Talking about the sentiment of giving, Cadbury have really pulled it off this year.
Now this shouldn’t have surprised me as much as it did after the way Cadbury and VCCP teamed up earlier in the year and gave us the Mum’s Birthday ad but strangely enough I never really think of Cadbury when thinking about Christmas adverts. This Christmas’ Cadbury campaign showed us the fun of Secret Santa with people receiving all sorts of Cadbury’ chocolate.
This is a very relatable ad with most of us being involved with at least one secret Santa whether it be with friends, colleagues or family. Although it might seem to be a little bit of a cop out just giving people chocolate for Christmas, it is still a much loved gift. The sneaking around and cheekiness of the whole ad really makes it for me I especially love the one where the young boy gives an advent calendar to his older brother and hides under the bed.
Sainsbury’s – The Big Night
As I mentioned with the John Lewis advert, I believe that with children around you tend to feel the Christmas spirit much more. Sainsbury’s really did make us feel that Christmas spirit with the joy and fun of a very energetic school performance. At first I thought that this was going to be very much like the parent-child relationship in BBC’s 2017 Christmas short I talked about in my last post with the mum and daughter at the beginning. However, it is heartwarming and festive in its own right. Although the mother and daughter were the main characters in this ad and, even after the big show, we are reminded of the two with the onscreen text: “We give all we’ve got for the ones we love,” this just emphasises the surge of confidence the young girl gets after seeing her mother in the audience.
The comical touches in this ad just make it memorable for me, from the child dressed as a plug attached to the children dressed as fairy lights jumping into the wall, to the child dressed up as the queen’s speech. In case any of you thought this was an easier ad to pull off just look at the amount of work that went into it…and how adorable these kids are.
Iceland – Say hello to Rang-tan
This ad caused a lot of controversy as it never got Clearcast’s approval to air but this isn’t due to the content like many people think. The video was originally produced by the Greenpeace party and therefore makes it a political video with Iceland promoting it even without it mentioning Greenpeace. Now I don’t fully believe that Iceland did this to support the Greenpeace party; it’s a beautifully done film and they may just have done it, as they say, to help promote the fact that they are now doing their bit by removing it from their own labelled products. Whatever their reason was though, they have had their fair share of abuse, support and a lot of publicity. Not exactly a Christmas ad but this is what they decided to share with the public instead.
Political agendas aside, this is actually a really good video that pulls at the heartstrings with the innocence of a child and baby orangutan, or as the young child calls it, a “rang-tan”. The video really puts us in the shoes of the orangutan so to speak making our space feel invaded. Overall, I feel this is a great video and, even without making it on TV, the ad bought Iceland a lot of attention.
LadBaby – We Built This City
Stepping away from all the TV commercials (TVCs) for a moment to take a little look at LadBaby and how they made it to 2018’s Christmas number one. I’m classing this as a campaign as they did this to raise money for food banks over Christmas and had fun doing it too, really getting into the Christmas spirit of giving. I’m not sure how many of you have kept up with this one but it took me back to 2009 when Rage Against The Machine got Killing In The Name to Christmas number one, breaking out from the pop variety we are used to.
What is not to love about this one?! It gives to charity, pays homage to a classic, and just shows us a family having fun in the process. Okay, so there wasn’t much talent involved here if we are being honest but when it’s all in the name of sausage rolls….I mean charity how can we not love it and get behind it?
Aldi – Kevin the Carrot
It looks like it’s not just John Lewis reminding us of the upcoming Elton John biopic here with Kevin the Carrot returning to our screens.
With the help from McCann Manchester, Aldi has become a household brand to be reckoned with and Kevin the Carrot has been a popular Christmas character since his debut in 2016. This year he returned to our screens with many perfectly executed, pun-filled videos based on many of our childhood stories as he reads them to his children. Many children even got the Kevin toy.
Repeating the same idea over a few years doesn’t always work and can be quite a challenge but I really think that Kevin the Carrot’s story has done well, not just because of his character, but because each year his story develops. The first year we saw his quest to meet Santa where he ultimately ended up hanging from a reindeer’s antlers. Last year we witnessed him save a fellow carrot, who we now see he has children with and this year we see him with his family telling his children bedtime stories.
In case you missed any of Kevin the Carrot over Christmas:
Tesco – However you do Christmas
A little like the McCain ad I referred to back in my Coca-Cola post a few weeks ago, this Christmas ad shows how people spend Christmas differently, all revolving around the food of course. What we like in our Christmas dinner, how we like it and where we like to spend Christmas is all unique to us. It’s a beautifully edited this video includes people from all walks of life and that’s just what Tesco is saying from this ad: that everyone is welcome to shop at their store, there is something for everyone.
Google Home – Home Alone
How can I not mention how Google bought back Kevin McCallister, noticeably much older but home alone again?! This is a beautiful homage to the original films with Macaulay Culkin making another appearance to the commercial world after his time on screen with some meerkats.
I’ve probably mentioned enough of 2018’s christmas ads now I think, and there are still so many I haven’t even talked about! Now this might be a surprise but my favourite out of all the above is Cadbury’s Secret Santa just for them taking a very simple idea and executing it so well.
Featured image courtesy of Pixabay.