Watching the John Lewis Christmas advert has become as illustrative of the festive season having arrived, as the Coca Cola lorry driving through town or the X Factor finalists racing to number one.
The competition to create the best Christmas ad of the year is expected to cost UK companies £5.6 billion this year. As PR professionals, the media frenzy that the adverts have been causing in recent years is fascinating to watch. We thought we’d weigh in on our favourites.
John Lewis – It’s a Dog’s Life
Every year, the John Lewis campaign is recognised as the advert to officially start the festive season and this year sees Buster the Boxer in the spotlight. This year, with a change from the norm, they’ve gone for smiles instead of tears as Buster gets his Christmas wish.
It’s not quite as intensely heart-warming as some of their offerings in previous years, but we love that John Lewis have decided to move away from ‘sadvertising’ and feature animals at the centre. The keen-eyed amongst you may have noticed a very similar looking Boxer dog in Radley’s seasonal advert supporting The Dogs Trust– it’s Buster’s sister, Pamala!
Marks and Spencer – Not just any advert
We’ll say it straight away, M&S have “sleighed” their Christmas ad this year. Mrs Claus takes centre stage and saves the day proving behind every good man there’s a great woman…
This advert has lots of feisty feminist messages – like the fact that Anna gets a cool pair of trainers to run around in the snow instead of a Barbie, and the fact that Mrs Claus doesn’t need any help on this Christmas mission. We also love the subtle touch that Mrs Claus is reading Fifty Shades of Red when Santa returns! Did you spot that?
Sainsbury’s – There’s certainly a difference with this one
Sainsbury’s throw themselves into the Christmas advert battle with their stop-motion mini feature film, ‘The Greatest Gift’. It’s quite different to any of the others, directed by the guy behind ParaNorman, Sam Fell, and features the cheeky vocals of James Corden with a song written by Flight of the Conchords’ Bret McKenzie.
We love the display of modern British life and the recognition of diversity in this ad from Sainsbury’s. All profits from this year’s campaign will go to Great Ormond Street Hospital giving this ad an extra heart-warming feel!
Allegro – A resounding win for the largest e-commerce platform in the Central Europe
Most of us in the UK might not have heard of Allegro before, but it’s a Polish auction site, and it has created a Christmas ad that is melting our hearts.
As Communication professionals, we of course love this campaign focusing on using communication and language to bring joy. It is the perfect mix of funny and incredibly moving, and it’s not surprising that this video has racked up over 2 and a half million views on YouTube.
Aldi – The Carrot Convertors
If you ask us, the mini-hero of the year is the Christmas ad from Aldi. Never have we been so intrigued by a vegetable!
We love that this campaign really tells a story with a variety of short clips to follow, including Kevin as the angel on the tree and also sitting down to watch the John Lewis advert; some great cross-promotion from two distinguishably different brands.
This supermarket has gone for giggles (albeit slightly darker ones) and is certainly up with the great this season.
Heathrow airport – Coming Home for Christmas
And finally, a more poignant one from Heathrow airport. They were the first to wade into the festive season with this advert featuring two elderly teddy bears and a Chas and Dave classic soundtrack.
We love the message that coming home is the best gift of all, encouraging us to spend Christmas with our families through great story-telling. We also really like the unamused, unsurprised look on Mrs Bear’s face when Mr Bear knocks over the chocs – we’ve all been there!
This blog was written by Jessica Caine, who works for Plum as their PR and Marketing Administrator since August 2016. She has previous experience in marketing, and recently graduated from Cardiff University with a degree in Politics. You can read more about Jess here.