As we head further into December, we start to see more and more Christmas adverts popping up on TV. All of our favourite big brands release their own adverts come Christmas. Some, like the one offered by John Lewis, are often hotly anticipated. Here are some of the top marketing campaigns we have seen this year.
We always can’t wait to see what magic John Lewis is going to conjure each year. In 2019, they have offered the cautionary tale of Excitable Edgar. A young dragon is too eager to join in with some of the best parts of Christmas and winter; causing chaos as he does so. He then manages to contain himself long enough to offer a peace offering of a figgy pudding, lighting the dessert with his flames.
The advert is nostalgic and well-directed. It helps to remind us of important Christmas values like giving and forgiveness. As this is the advert for both John Lewis and Waitrose this year, it does not feel like one brand is more important than the other. With the amount of expectation placed upon this advert every year, it is obvious that this is never going to appeal to everyone. Nevertheless, they have made an advert which is touching and a fantastic narrative.
Also going down the nostalgia route is Asda. The storyline here shows us a little girl collecting the Northern Lights (or “Santa’s Leftover Magic”) and going out with her brother to cause some festive fun. Having used all of it on their neighbours, she goes to bed feeling a little sad. The advert ends with her brother sneaking in with another full jar of magic and sprinkling it over her room too.
Like the John Lewis ad, this emphasises the magic of giving to others. Their tagline of “Let’s make Christmas extra special” helps to appeal to many people. The special effects add a nice touch while the child actors seem to have a blast as they run around. It might not feature food or any of Asda’s products but it is memorable for other reasons.
Pulling in on the popularity of Mariah Carey’s hit “All I Want for Christmas is You” to celebrate its 25th anniversary, this advert from the crisp-maker is fun and fresh. It features Mariah Carey on a soundstage recording a new music video for her song. They wrap filming and she gives out presents to her cast and crew. Her job done, she goes to help herself to the last packet of Walkers which results in a small tussle between her and an elf.
This advert is great since it takes the usual Walkers advert format (fighting over the crisps) and gives it a Christmassy makeover. While UK audiences might be disappointed to not see Gary Lineker, the face of Walkers for many – the decision to swap him out with Mariah Carey means that the wider brand of Lays can use the advert in more places. By using such a beloved song, Walkers can appeal to many – whether they are fans of the song or not – while also making use of a tried and tested advertising formula.
Sainsburys has celebrated their 150 th anniversary this year and their Christmas advert takes us back to that 1st Christmas they would have celebrated. A young chimney sweep named Nick is accused of stealing a clementine. Mrs Sainsbury gives him some more clementines and he delivers them to the other chimney sweeps before dropping coal off to the foreman. As they celebrate Christmas morning, we see that the young boy dons a red coat since he grows up to be Santa.
This Dickensian spin on what Sainsburys refers to as a “totally true story” is charming and well put- together. Like others, it emphasises the joy of giving and also helps to give an origin story to one of Christmas’s best-known characters. Sainsburys always like to go for heart-warming stories with their Christmas adverts and this one certainly fits the bill.
Finally, let’s take a look at an advert not from a big retailer. Hafod Hardware is a small independent ironmonger in Rhayader, Wales, but their Christmas advert went viral when it aired. We follow a two-year-old boy as he starts his day and makes his way to the shop. He sweeps up, serves customers, and does some of the books. Upon leaving the shop, it is actually revealed that he is a grown man, along with the simple tagline of “Be a kid this Christmas”.
This advert proves that you do not need a big budget to deliver a successful outcome. Just £100 was spent making this, which was used to hire a studio to record the cover of Forever Young for the soundtrack. The advert has gone viral simply for the charm it offers. In a time where so much of our attentions are drawn away from independent shops to big online routines, Hafod Hardware’s advert helps to evoke a sense of nostalgia and gives a clear reminder to shop local where we can. It is a well-thought-out ad from start to finish and, while it might not do much for Hafod Hardware’s local footfall, it has definitely helped to put them on the map.
Christmas adverts take a lot of time and energy to plan. They also help to spark little moments of joy in the run-up to Christmas itself. Whether you feel touched by the message it is delivering or you spot something which you feel like you want to get either for yourself or a loved one, you cannot deny that Christmas adverts are firmly part of our traditions now. Whether they are from a big retailer or a small independent shop, Christmas adverts help to remind us of some of the values most appreciated in the holidays. The best of all will be talked about and discussed deeply, and
might even come to be anticipated like the John Lewis advert year after year.