As Christmas draws closer, we thought it was time to take part in a little festive cheer! We’ve reviewed this year’s favourite festive adverts to see what different brands are doing and how effective their approach has been.
Where else to begin other than with the most famous Christmas advert of all? John Lewis never fail to disappoint adults and children alike, and they’ve nailed it again this year with Excitable Edgar. With a soundtrack provided by Bastille and the London Contemporary Orchestra, this little green creature has been warming hearts across the nation with his accidental misdemeanours. And he’ll definitely leave you in the mood for some Christmas pudding…
The only thing that spoils the magic slightly is how much Edgar merchandise is now available everywhere you go! From soft toys to chocolates and cupcakes, he’s taking over John Lewis and Waitrose stores across the UK. On top of this, three children’s authors have accused John Lewis of ripping off their books! While John Lewis adverts are never without controversy, they do hold a special place in all of our festive hearts.
Unlike John Lewis, who created a new beloved character specifically for their advert, Sky enlisted the help of classic favourite E.T. The advert features Henry Thomas, who plays Elliott in the original film, and the adult Elliot invites E.T. into the home to meet his family.
Although much has changed since E.T’s last visit, shown by the use of new technologies such as virtual reality, voice technology and movie streaming service Sky Cinema, the central themes of love and friendship still remain. The central message of their advert is to ‘reconnect this Christmas’, which they have reinforced by offering specials deals over the Christmas period.
Ikea took a slightly different approach with their first Christmas advert in the UK! Rather than an emotional cover with delicate piano music, they asked grime artist D Double E to provide a track filled with humour, wordplay and a catchy beat. The outdated ornaments become the voice of critics who spit bars about the home’s cracked walls, outdated floor and general mess.
This advert is nostalgic in a different way – grime was an underground music movement around 10 or 15 years ago and has only recently become mainstream. They are targeting a UK demographic who have watched grime evolve and who are probably now living in their own flats and shopping at Ikea.
With a memorable tagline ‘silence the critics’, this is an advert that succeeds in its aim: making you want to buy a load of simple new furnishings to spruce up your home for Christmas visitors! Sarah Green, Ikea’s UK and Ireland marketing manager, said: “We believe that every home can and should be worthy of a get-together and that with a little imagination, some clever products and ideas, there’s no reason not to be proud to invite your nearest and dearest over”.
Sainsbury’s have given Christmas a Dickensian twist with their advert featuring Nicholas the Sweep. Harking back to the not-so-distant past when clementines were traditionally left in stockings by Santa Claus (St. Nicholas), this advert is something resembling a Santa origin story.
Having been wrongly accused of stealing a clementine, Nicholas is banished from the city. He is then gifted a whole bag of clementines by Mary Ann Sainsbury, and he proceeds to leave one in the socks of his chimney sweep friends. As it draws to a close, we see a young Nicholas striding among reindeer in a red cape, with the narrator offering the tongue-in-cheek line, “and that is a totally true story”.
The advert aims to remind viewers of the supermarket’s 150-year history, bringing a little bit of Christmas magic through their groceries.
The return of favourite characters did not stop with E.T! Joules decided to spend Christmas with one of the UK’s most iconic duos – Wallace and Gromit. Known for being a favourite on the Christmas TV schedule, Joules knew they’d be safe with these claymation figures.
The message of their advert is simply convenience – you can order Joules products at the click of a button. While not as lengthy or developed as some of the other Christmas adverts, it will certainly put you in a festive mood and make you feel like an excited child all over again.
We’ve really enjoyed watching a whole variety of Christmas adverts this year, from the nostalgic and childish to the fresh and funny. It’s clear that the traditional Christmas advert recipe relies on tapping into people’s emotions and their inner child!
When it comes to who’s standing out from the crowd though, it’s got to be Ikea who takes this year’s Christmas advert crown. They’ve reinvented the wheel when it comes to what we expect from a Christmas campaign. This time next year, we’re pretty sure we’ll see a lot more brands getting grime artists on board for their festive promotions.
As D Double E’s ornaments would say, Bu Da Bup Bup and Merry Christmas one and all!