It’s that time of year again and the battle for the most popular Christmas advert is underway.
A war that is expected to cost UK companies around £5.6bn as they compete for their campaigns to be the most effective at pulling on the heartstrings and prising open the wallets. We start our Christmas advert round up with Marks & Spencer’s festive campaign with a modern twist.
The stalwart of the British high street has turned its attention to winning back its core customers by casting Mrs Claus as a stylish, festive, 55-year-old woman in its latest lavish Christmas campaign. The advert by King’s Speech director Tom Hooper features a young boy, Jake, writing to Mrs Claus on Christmas Eve for urgent help to make peace with his sister, Anna, by replacing some dog-eaten trainers.
Mrs Claus sends her husband, Santa Claus, off on his sleigh before secretly turning to her secret lair, dressing in red and shooting off on a ski-jet and helicopter, named R-DOLF, to deliver Anna’s surprise Christmas present – a pair of new, glittering red trainers.
The department store went for smiles rather than tears this year with a heartwarming advert featuring Buster the dog and wildlife leaping around a trampoline. Some critics have said that only passing glimpses of a six-year-old girl, Summer, and no reference to Father Christmas means this year’s offering lacks the human touch.
However, that didn’t stop a surge of viewers, parodies and tweets, with 82pc of viewers in the first two hours saying it made them feel happy, according to Brand Watch. As one commentator pointed out, the unusual political events of this particular year have created demand for a more comforting message – and what better way to create that than a bouncing badger?
The upmarket grocer’s hopes of outdoing its retail rivals are pinned on a tiny robin. The advert tells the story of the red-breast bird’s adventures to return home for one of Waitrose’s mince pies. The food group has unwittingly pitted itself against sister department store chain John Lewis in a battle for the cutest Christmas animals.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the retail spectre, Burberry has taken Christmas luxury to another level, spending an eye-watering £10m on its lavish three and a half minute film.
The Tale of Thomas Burberry includes a roster of British Hollywood stars including Dominic West and Sienna Miller and written by Academy Award-nominated Matt Charman and directed by Academy Award-winning Asif Kapadia.
Aldi’s tongue-in-cheek advertising streak continues with its very own Kevin the Carrot character and an inspired retelling of The Night Before Christmas. The advert has the humble vegetable set out on an adventure before joining Santa Claus on his sleigh.
But never one to miss a trick, the discount supermarket released its very own parody of John Lewis’s advert, which some people think surpasses the department stores. “Carrot was waiting, his head in a tizz, “Oh golly, oh gosh, how exciting is this?”, a narrator says in the short clip. Kevin the Carrot then proceeds to hyperventilate before bursting “John Lewis!”