And just like that, the time has come around once again for us to break down the best of the year’s Christmas adverts. There is something so exciting about watching the new releases for the first time, proposing an endless list of questions that have viewers sitting just that little bit closer to the edges of their chairs; ‘How will they top last year’s?’, ‘What will they do differently?’, ‘What music/actors will they choose to feature?’ *Reaches for another mince pie without taking eyes off the screen*
If you find yourself lapping up every moment of the build up to the big day, year after year, nothing marks the ‘start’ like a box-fresh Christmas advert. Read on, as I delve into the weird and wonderful storylines that brands have created to stand out from the crowd, spark new conversations and most importantly – get their audiences suitably in the festive spirit.
You’ve got to give it ‘em… Sports Direct have really pulled it out of the bag with this one! Following on from its first ever Christmas ad last year, its festive spin for 2021 is brimming with high profile sporting champions to showcase all the latest gear in a truly innovative, ‘non-salesy’ way. From Emma Raducanu and Katarina Johnson-Thompson to Declan Rice and Andrew Johnston, Sports Direct are not wasting a single millisecond of that precious screen time without including the most recognisable stars in the industry. As a budget sports brand, you might be quite surprised to see such a show stopping line up – but this is part of a clever attempt to ramp up its premium offerings, help to secure high-quality products from key brands and compete with retailers such as JD Sports. Apparently, it cost a whopping £6million to produce… Touché, Sports Direct. Touché.
The return of the festive season means the return of the famous Kevin the Carrot – except this time, he has the new kid in town – Ebanana Scrooge – to accompany him! Inspired by the classic story of The Christmas Carol, Aldi’s latest ad is serving up good old-fashioned nostalgia, with an extra generous side of clever vegetable pun-use for good measure. I have two personal favourite highlights: the first is with Colin the Caterpillar getting arrested in the background. Genius. The second, the way Kevin soars through the midnight sky with a reluctant Ebanana in tow, before casually wishing his friend ‘Marcus Radishford’ a Happy Christmas (as one does). Marcus, who has famously waged a high-profile campaign to help fund children’s school meals, teamed up with Aldi to support their goal to see 1.8 million meals donated to vulnerable families across the UK this Christmas. Brilliant advert, for an even more brilliant cause.
Arguably the most anticipated Christmas advert of the year, John Lewis is renowned for its ability to pull on its viewers’ heart strings – and for 2021, it told the story of a love great enough to travel to the moon and back. Literally. Throughout the advert, we’re introduced to a ‘regular’ schoolboy and an alien girl who have a ‘meet cute’ in the woodlands – and from there we’re immersed into their unlikely bond which develops into a romance you find yourself routing for. In true JL style, its inevitable parting leaves a certain sadness in the air, with the slogan ‘For a Christmas as Magical as Your First’ signing off the story. Cleverly relating to the ‘first love’ a lot of us have experienced – John Lewis’ emotion-tapping technique might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it certainly knows how to own (and uphold) it, year after year.
In the lead up to its ‘biggest campaign in several years’, Marks & Spencer targeted social media as their prime platform for launching their highly anticipated festive food ad. The video features brand mascot Percy Pig and a Christmas fairy letting loose in the food aisles, which are played by none other than Hollywood star Tom Holland and the nation’s favourite Dawn French in a bid to get the audiences’ tastebuds tingling for all the chocolate panettone they could possibly eat. Including its famous close up ‘money shots’ of the food (think smoked salmon, Christmas pudding and more) the advert makes for a delightfully light-hearted viewing that audiences of all ages can relate to. Hence why, as well as smashing TV viewing targets, they chose to drop in a range of social pre-campaign teasers, including several TikTok videos of Percy Pig dancing alongside M&S colleagues. So not only has M&S managed to ‘do it again’ with its impeccable story telling skills, but it has also understood the brief when it comes to reaching more people on multiple platforms. Nice work!
Asda has taken a simple but effective approach to the video, following a family through the journey in the lead up to the big day, as well as all the little days in between. Starting in the Asda supermarket, each door leads to a different stage of the festive season; from the kids school play, to the office Christmas party (ride on the fax machine? Why not!), to delivery drivers dancing with fully stocked fridges. From Christmas Eve nibbles with friends and finally – to the big spread on Christmas Day. Phew! Oh, did I mention they managed to do all of this whilst skating on ice? This is because it’s part of Asda’s 2021 ‘Christmas on Ice’ campaign, a fun way to showcase all of the magic moments up to Christmas. It certainly captures a whole lot of excitement in 60 seconds, and now I’m even more excited for the Lucre Xmas shindig! *Pulls Christmas out from back of the drawer*
Ah, how could I have done a Christmas ad review without including Coca Cola? The brand’s global advert starts with a young boy’s idea that turns into a whole community effort, a truly heart-warming way to tell a story of solidarity and togetherness. After the majority of 2020 being spent in lockdown, actually being able to actually be with family again feels like more of a privilege than ever – and a big hats-off to Coca Cola for highlighting the fact we are all ‘one’ despite not knowing each other in this charming video. As the boy attempts to create a chimney alternative made from cardboard for his block of apartments (because how else can Santa get in?) more and more neighbours join in to help him on his bold mission – and the ending is nothing short of triumphant. With background instrumental music featuring the classic ‘Chim Chim-iney’ tune, there really is nothing not to like about this. After all, ‘the holidays are magic when you share them.’ Cheers to that!
If you’re feeling inspired by these brilliant campaigns and want to chat to our creative team about the ways Lucre could add a touch of magic to your brand this Christmas, get in touch! firstname.lastname@example.org