Christmas Ad Roundup 2016

Marketing 2016-12-13

To me, Christmas adverts are easily the highlight of the marketing year. This time of year showcases some of the best creative consumer advertising sandwiched in between the televisual delights of the festive season. Whilst there are many blogs ranking the peoples’ favourites, there is so much variety this year that it is impossible to choose. So instead, here is my round-up of some of the best in each category, from the emotional and the beautiful, to the feel-good and the funny.

But first, some honourable mentions:
• Aldi “Tale of Kevin the Carrot” – Could you get more festive than an anthropomorphised root vegetable?
• Coca-Cola “Holidays are coming” – as reliable and festive as cold weather, busy shopping centres and the Queen’s speech.
• Waitrose “Home for Christmas”– It is impossible not to become emotionally invested in this dramatic journey of a robin making his way home for a mince pie.
• Amazon – A heart-warming story about two clerics from different religions who, by exchanging gifts, give a hopeful nod to post-brexit Britain.
• TK Maxx – Very simply, a bizarre and comical a cappella singsong with heaped spoonful’s of festive spirit.

The Tear Jerker

In 2015 this award would, without doubt, have gone to “The man on the moon” by John Lewis. However, it is 2016, and this year the award goes to an ad that almost had me ugly crying in the office upon first viewing. “Santa Forgot” by Alzheimer’s Research UK is an inspiring take on a Christmas story that tells the sad and hopeful story of the year that Santa forgot Christmas. Through a heart-breaking story, it addresses some of the misconceptions about Dementia and is well worth watching. A great contribution and maybe one you would have otherwise missed.

The Heart-Melter

This award is dedicated to the ads that leave you thinking about the true meaning of Christmas… and possibly reaching for a tissue. For me, the ad deserving this award is Marks and Spencer’s “With love from Mrs Claus”. This may be controversial to the hard-core John Lewis fans out there, but this ad brought a tear to my eye (although it is not exactly hard). It tells the tale of a boy who asked Mrs Claus to help him make things right with his sister in time for Christmas. Beautifully written, wonderfully festive and enduringly classy. Well-done Sparks.

The Feel-Good Factor

When we are all rushing around, I do appreciate an advert that makes me take the time to recognise what we often forget during Christmas. This one was a tough call for me, but after a bit of thought, I think it has to go to Boots’ “The gift of beauty”. It is a lovely tribute to the women that will be hard at work this year whilst I am tucking in to my Christmas dinner. This ad left me wanting to know more about the women that are so rightly recognised here. It most definitely has the feel-good factor.

The Christmas Cheer

This year sees John Lewis in unfamiliar territory. Rather than a tearful and emotional tale that has us reaching for the tissues, Buster the Boxer provided us with what we might have all needed after a gruelling 2016. Although it has received mixed reviews, I am most certainly on side with John Lewis. Though we didn’t know it, what 2016 needed was definitely several small critters bouncing on a trampoline. The hedgehog was my favourite.

The Dark Horse

I didn’t know what to expect from H&M when I saw that they had released a Christmas ad. “Come Together” is H&M’s first entry to the Christmas ad scene up against some formidable contenders. In all honesty I did not expect great things… but I soon ate my words. “Come Together” is the unexpected tale of holiday plans ruined by train delays. Spoiler alert, the conductor pulls out all the stops and the passengers come together for a Christmas brunch on the train. At just under 4 minutes it is by far one of the longest ads but was an enticing story and an extremely pleasant surprise.

The Fairest Of Them All

Few words are capable of describing what Burberry delivered this year as their Christmas advertisement. Film? Art? Beautiful. The tale of Thomas Burberry is a triumph of film that is so stunning it has left almost everyone begging for a feature length movie so we can experience more on the big screen. Whilst it is not particularly emotional, funny or particularly festive it is without doubt the most beautiful of the Christmas ads and (in my humble opinion) worth every penny of the £10m budget.

The Relatable

This award is for the advert that makes me sit on my sofa and shout “me too!” at the screen. All year round Tesco is the familiar face that we all know and love, and their Christmas advert is no exception. Starring Ruth Jones, we follow her wandering the aisles to some festive tunes and hear the thoughts that we all share at this time of year:
o “It’s only November, my clothes still smell of bonfire”
o “Where do you put the tree and the lights and the decorations?”
o “I haven’t even started on the presents”

After a few worries about what the festive season brings, her husband, played by Ben Miller, offers a box of mince pies: “too soon?” Maybe it’s some inspiration from the festive tunes,
but she responds with a motto for all of us during the holiday season… “Bring it on”.

The Musical

The Christmas advert from Sainsbury’s this year, sings the story of a hard working dad who is struggling to get everything done for Christmas. “If only there was a way to be in two places at once” he sings, before coming up with a plan. He uses the toy factory in which he works to make replicas of himself so he can do the shopping, be at work and spend time with his family all at once. The oh so familiar story is set to an original song sung by comedian James Corden, the title of which sums up the true meaning behind the story “The Greatest Gift For Christmas Is Me”. To top it off, Sainsbury’s charity partner this year is Great Ormond Street hospital, supporting families who are unable to go home for Christmas. Bravo.