There’s no denying we are all partial to a good piece of marketing and it’s this time of year that we become even more receptive to it. When November strikes, we collectively anticipate the arrival of the new season’s Christmas campaigns and eagerly await the most famous one of all: the mighty John Lewis/Waitrose ad (don’t fight me on this, it’s the queen of all campaigns). With 2020 being rudely invaded by a global pandemic, there was no doubt that the adverts this year were a welcome arrival to our TV screens, as I think we can all agree we need some light-hearted happiness to see us through the rest of the year.
Here’s my take on this year’s selection:
When the JL advert dropped, it seemed as though the world stopped for a couple of minutes as we all watched the most intently anticipated campaign of the year. The campaign took a wholly different tone this time, focussing on a more wide-spread, community rhetoric rather than having one protagonist’s story to follow. What was even better was the lack of “hard selling” and that the main character that they wouldn’t have to inevitably turn into merchandise. The focus was on community and doing helpful, kind things for others to spread love throughout our networks. A touching and ever so apt nod to the sentiment this year, this campaign is a welcome change to the character-turned-fluffy toy theme that underpinned the John Lewis campaigns over the last few years. 8/10
Sainsbury’s brought out not just one, but three different Christmas adverts as part of their festive campaign. Each advert draws on the importance of family and nostalgic memories, using home videos to bring warmth and character to the campaign. Despite the unnecessary and racist backlash against the Part 1: Gravy Song video, the campaign does a wonderful job of reminding us that Christmas is a time for reflection, memories and most importantly, family. 8/10
This campaign certainly succeeded in tugging on my heartstrings, as it focusses on the technology-obsessed people that we are all becoming; most notably, our children. It serves as a reminder that nothing beats taking part in Christmas rituals and that things such as computer screens and air pods should not act as deterrents to uphold such fun, festive activities with the family. It reminds us to listen to our inner child, to indulge in the things that really matter and to put smiles on other people’s faces. 9/10
There is a similar theme occurring throughout all of these Christmas ads: family. Disney has jumped onto the bandwagon and emphasised the importance of doing something kind for a loved one this Christmas, because ultimately, if we don’t have kindness, we have nothing. 7/10
If cartoon carrots are your thing, this advert will be right up your alley. Although a good ad, again demonstrating the importance of family, it doesn’t quite pull on the heartstrings as strongly as some of the others do. 6/10
Filmed by an Oscar-winning director, this advert is as classy and high-spec as they come. It tells the story of a father who makes it his mission to deliver his daughter’s Christmas letter to the North Pole. After getting stranded at sea, he stops at nothing (and I mean nothing – he scales a cliff face for goodness sake), to get her letter delivered safely, only to find Santa’s house is closed. A Coca-Cola truck fortuitously rocks up and transports him back home – all is not lost, he needn’t go through that journey again. The coke truck drops him off at what we can only assume is home and, as he climbs down from the truck, the driver hands over his daughter’s letter as if he’d forgotten it. The father opens the letter, and reads “Dear Santa, Please bring Daddy home for Christmas”. I’m not crying, you are. 8/10