Battle of the Christmas Ad


It’s that time of year again…

Deck the halls with boughs of holly falla la la la… la la la la. Christmas is just around the corner… well… it’s not really but that doesn’t stop major British retailers from releasing their festive adverts. John Lewis, Debenhams, M&S and even Aldi dropped their Christmas adverts this weak and it’s like YouTube diss tracks all over again. Repetitive, unoriginal and a tad bit weak. Okay that’s me being a bit over dramatic but the whole Christmas advert saga has lost a bit of its charm in recent years.

John Lewis can’t seem to get away from the whole children being the focal point. And you might think I’m a bit crazy saying this seeing as it’s Christmas but it just leads to a load of rehashed ideas and familiarity. What made people fall in love with the John Lewis adverts was the creativity and sheer ambition of it all. They reportedly spent around £7 million on this year’s advert with it being 7 months in the making and when you hear this you’re expecting something pretty fantastic but the finished product falls a bit flat. For a retailer that has held the Christmas advert crown for as long as we can remember I am afraid they are very close to losing it… or maybe not.

M&S and Debenhams were no better although M&S did manage to snap up Ewan McGregor for their campaign this winter which I suppose gives it a bit more gravitas and M&S acquired the help of one of the most famous bears this side of the Atlantic, Paddington. But with each advert only lasting 1 – 2 minutes (probably because of the budget) they never seem to really get going which subsequently leaves you feeling emotionless. Well that was my experience anyway. I have been told I lack emotions so this may be an isolated incident but it also seems that Twitter has very mixed reviews to the adverts in question. Don’t even get me started on Aldi, the highlight of their ad was a carrot getting hit by a pea then exclaiming “I think I pea’d myself”… exactly.

The focus of these adverts is always to create something emotional and heart warming for families to see around the festive season but it seems as though everyone is trying to catch up with John Lewis that they aren’t actually focused on creating a seemingly “good” advert anymore. Christmas ad campaigns have become more of a gimmick and it seems as though retailers are scared to be at least a little bit emotional. Yeah we all love romances and… children but give us something new. I must say Debenhams did make good use of incorporating the use of social media in today’s society which is a smart move seeing as this is the platform these videos will be shared. But yeah… I must say I am a bit unimpressed.

I am sitting in anticipation for Sainsburys to drop their ad as I believe they hands down won last year with their stop-motion epic. It was visually impressive, funny and memorable thanks to a catchy original song sung by James Corden. Although the overarching message is slyly saying that you are the best gift you can give anyone which is slightly narcissistic and cheap. But when you have a puppet twerking and hilarious references to London shutting down over a tiny bit of snow you can forgive it.

However nothing will quite live up to the Bear and the Hare which I believe is probably the best Christmas advert we have been treated to in recent years. That is John Lewis on top form and they are yet to reach the same heights.

If anyone reading this works for John Lewis’ marketing department I made this offer last year and it still stands… I will happily write the advert for next year.

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