It’s that time of year again! Yes, Christmas, but more importantly the festive adverts that come with it. Somehow it has become the epitome of British culture to await the first Christmas ad of the year on TV, and brands go above and beyond each year to make sure their ad tells the greatest story and leaves the biggest mark on consumers.
So, why is it that we look forward to these Christmas ads? Us Brits are notorious for clicking off adverts and having a moan if our favourite programme is interrupted, but there is something warming about seeing those first storylines appear on our screens. According to the advertising associate, a third of Brits are just as excited for a Christmas ad premier as they would be for a film release, so there is a pretty big pressure on brands to deliver an exceptional advert. You can read last year’s blog on the reasoning behind creative long-form festive ads here.
We’ve decided to rank the Christmas adverts we’ve seen so far this year, from the least favourite to our number one choice.
It’s fair to say, us Brits haven’t had it easy this year have we, especially the last few months. We all need a bit of Christmas cheer to warm our hearts, and I feel like Tesco just didn’t provide that. Whilst they tried to put their own spin on a political party broadcast with their “stand for joy” mantra and their promises to provide more pigs in blankets, a referendum on whether Love Actually is the greatest Christmas film, and only cutting prices and cake, I don’t think it resonated with the audience.
We’ve had a year full of political drama, and whilst we were waiting for another cheery and festive advert to delight our screens, Tesco’s glum reference brought back some of the not so happy moments of this year. I can see the point they were trying to make in that they wanted to provide joy, but I think a lot of the audience would prefer just not to hear about politics near Christmas at all.
Lidl’s advert is focused around the famous bear, created from a Lidl t-shirt shrunk in the wash. The story itself is a light-hearted, easy watch, and is guaranteed to make you smile. We follow the newly famous bear through his life as a star, before he returns home just in time for Christmas, featuring some of Lidls festive foods along the way.
Whilst I enjoyed the advert and felt Christmassy after watching it, I feel as though it lacks an underlying message or reference to a charity or organisation. Other supermarkets have used their Christmas ads to convey a deeper story, to engage with charities in need or to reference the need for Christmas spirit this year more than ever, however I feel like Lidl didn’t provide any of that. As a nation, we love an emotive story, especially at a time when families come together to celebrate Christmas, so Lidl has definitely missed out here.
Kevin the carrot has become quite the character all year round for Aldi, so of course he was to feature in their Christmas advert, which played on the Christmas film “Home Alone.” The advert managed to fit the plot of the entire film into a 1-minute 30-second video and did it with humour and compassion. It even made a reference to their charity partner ‘neighbourly’ within the advert, where Kevin donates his pocket money.
At the end of the video it states, Aldi is helping families in need this Christmas and has donated 25 million meals since 2019. The advert had the right balance between all the feels this festive period and had no intentions of trying to generate sales through their products. With the cost of living crisis worsening towards the end of this year, the audience felt no pressure to purchase and instead felt a sense of Christmassy warmth from this video.
There seems to be a theme with recreating famous Christmas films this year, and Asda has taken on the classic film Elf (a personal favourite – no pressure to Asda). This was the first one to air out of the adverts in this blog, and it really set the bar for me. It very carefully and successfully slotted in some of the funniest moments Buddy the elf created in the film, with Asda staff members talking directly to him. The advert followed the same sort of flow as the film, with Buddy learning to navigate the store and the different elements associated with it, similar to how he found his way through New York.
The reaction was huge, with the audience absolutely living for the take on Elf, me being one of them! It had no reference to products similar to Aldi, with no pressure on the audience to purchase limited edition products, but instead focused on the lighthearted element of Christmas and really warmed the hearts of viewers. The only reason it isn’t number one is the lack of reference to a charity which would’ve been lovely to see! However, this was a great Christmas advert.
1. John Lewis
It’s probably no shock to anyone that John Lewis has ranked first in this list of Christmas adverts, they provide an inspiringly heart-warming story every single year, and this year was no different. The advert follows a couple looking to foster a child over Christmas, and keen to make a great first impression, the man decides to learn to skateboard. We watch his journey of accidents and mishaps as he watches videos online and even goes to the local park to learn to skate. Towards the end, the couple are introduced to a teenage girl who appears with her skateboard, and we see her face light up when she notices the skateboard in their home.
The advert supports two charities - ‘action for children' and ‘who cares?’ in a commitment to supporting the futures of those children in care. Not only did they provide an incredible story, but they also did it with such realism, and such care was taken to ensure the audience really understood the message they were conveying and how they’re helping these children who need support. Without many references to Christmas, the emotional sentiment stood and created the same heartwarming feeling a festive ad usually would. An incredible advert!