Set the scene, you’re wrapped up warm on your sofa with a warm drink, thick jumper on, your favourite programme on TV as the wind and rain howl outside your window. The adverts roll and a red truck illuminated in fairy lights with Santa at the wheel rolls across your screen. This can only mean one thing, Christmas has arrived!
That advert is the CocaCola advert. First airing back in 1995 the ‘Holidays are Coming’ Ad has become a mainstay of Christmas advertising and one that has become universally loved. Since then Christmas TV advertising has exploded to the point where new advert launches have become an event in themselves.
Leading this trend over recent years has been John Lewis. With extravagant production and large budgets, they have arguably upped the Christmas advert game. Receiving large amounts of positive publicity and acclaim for their festive campaigns, John Lewis has sparked somewhat of a festive TV battle as businesses from a range of sectors produce their own Christmas ad in the challenge to deliver the commercia of the holiday season.
This year we’ve been treated to a plethora of adverts from a vast number of retailers. Naturally, this includes John Lewis and CocaCola but who else has grabbed the public’s attention in the run-up to Christmas this year? With millions in the festive piggy bank, let’s see what the main contenders have produced…
Aldi – Kevin Carrot
Aldi one of the fastest growing supermarket chains in the UK has started to get in on the Christmas act over the last few years. This year their advert is somewhat of a hybrid between the classic CocaCola advert and the iconic 1960’s crime caper film, The Italian Job. It makes you wonder if someone at Aldi HQ walked into the Christmas campaign meeting and said, ‘hold on a minute lads, I’ve got a great idea…’
Behind the wheel of a Christmas themed lorry, Kevin Carrot finds himself cheerily driving through festive towns and villages before navigating his way up a perilous and snowy mountain pass. Losing control Kevin spins and soon finds himself hanging over a cliff edge. As his cargo of carrots (not the gold kind) perilously slide towards the open back doors, the advert comes to an end much to Kevin’s shock and horror…
John Lewis – #EltonJohnLewis
It’s a little bit funny, that considering the John Lewis Partnership posted half-year profits that were down 99%, in the run-up to the festive season, it’s fair to say it was brave to enlist the services of an international megastar in an advert that must have cost millions to produce.
With the strapline, ‘Some gifts are more than just a gift’ the advert centres around the career of Elton John. From his humble beginnings, the advert tracks his rise to fame alongside a little boy coming downstairs to his mother to open presents on Christmas day. As the advert reaches its climax, the little boy unwraps his present, a piano of his own.
Sainsbury’s – The Big Night
If there are two things that go together like glue in a Christmas TV campaign it’s children and singing. Not wishing to be outdone by other supermarket giants, Sainsbury’s campaign centres around a typical school Christmas show.
With the stage opening with a child in huge star outfit singing, ‘You get what you give’ by New Radicals it’s not long before she’s joined on stage by her fellow pupils. With the music and stage theatrics building to the ultimate festive crescendo, there’s a funny point where a kid dressed as a plug enthusiastically throws himself into a plug socket, thus triggering the lights to come on as festive confetti rains down over the stage from an oversized gravy boat.
Asda – Bring Christmas Home
Starting with Santa firing a cannon over snow dressed hilltops, the impact of this festive cannon ball triggers an avalanche of festiveness towards a small village. Everything but the kitchen sink is seen hurtling downwards as people sledge on Christmas trees alongside whole kitchens and a range of culinary delights.
Reaching the end of the slope all assemble to be greeted by a little girl from one of the houses in the village who looks out over the scene with glee. Bringing Christmas home is the tagline and quite literally so.
M&S – Must Have
If it’s not children and singing as a Christmas advert staple it’s Holly Willoughby and this time she pops up in M&S’s festive commercial. Serenaded by Tom Jones, the advert lists some essential festive must-haves.
From comfy pants, music, parties and lights through to the ability to impress the in-laws, Holly talks us through what’s important at Christmas. Less theatrical than the campaigns launched by the other major high street retailers, this advert still taps into the holiday spirit, however, albeit in a more commercial way.
Waitrose – Fast Forward
In a clear tongue in cheek and jibe at their partner brand, Waitrose’s advert takes a jab at John Lewis’ own advert. Ushered into the living room by their daughter, the advert sees the girl’s parents watching the new John Lewis advert before her parents grab the remote control and fast forwarding through it before the father, with obviously more food-related things on his mind, proudly announces Stollen?
With the camera panning out over the Christmas favourite the slogan ‘Too good to wait’ appears on the screen. Whether there’s a dislike of Elton John or pianos, or just adverts that last nearly two minutes, it’s clear what Waitrose want us to focus on this Christmas.
Whilst the final ad on our list didn’t make it to TV screens, given the press and publicity that it has received it’s an important one to mention.
Iceland – Say Hello To Rang-Tan
Iceland courted controversy with this advert upon its launch. Refused broadcast by the ad governing body, Clearcast, it was deemed to promote too much of a political statement after Iceland brokered an agreement with Greenpeace to highlight the effects of rainforest destruction.
The advert itself features an orangutang in a little girls bedroom which meddles with the girl’s belongings. Displeased, she asks the orangutang to leave but upon doing so asks why it was in her bedroom in the first place. The orangutang explains of the destruction in its natural habitat to which the girl pledges to promote its plight.
A thought-provoking message and one that’s backed up by Iceland’s own pledge to remove palm oil from its own label products. Ban considered, and taking into account the strong public support since, it could be argued that by seeing the ad banned, Iceland has generated more awareness as a result, as viewers head online to see exactly why the ban was enforced.
So there you have it, the Christmas Advert class of 2018. Have we missed out your favourite? Let us know which ad takes victory for you, over on our social media pages.