John Lewis makes powerful point as brands battle for Christmas top spot
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Emotion, drama, comedy, and an issue with the vegetables – no, we’re not talking about your traditional British family Christmas lunch but this year’s festive adverts from the nation’s brands. While the focus in 2020 and 2021 was the COVID-19 pandemic, this year sees something of a return to normal for the country’s retail giants, able to move away from lockdown-themed ads for some good old-fashioned sentimentality.
So, let’s take a look at how the UK’s biggest brands are celebrating Christmas.
When it comes to Christmas adverts, John Lewis is the heavyweight champion. Always keen to pull on the viewer’s heartstrings, this year’s offering is no different. Set to a relaxed cover of Blink 182’s All the Small Things by Mike Gieier, the ad shines a light on children in care through the story of a man learning how to skateboard as a way of bonding with his foster child. While John Lewis can’t claim to have invented the Christmas advert, it’s done a good job of perfecting it over the years.
If John Lewis’ Christmas advertising campaigns are Chris Rea, Tesco’s are usually a bit more Slade. The supermarket’s bold adverts more often than not try to blend humour with the sentimentality we’ve all come to expect, finishing it all off with some smiling members of the team decked out in full uniform. This year Tesco has gone for a Christmas party theme, with Tesco workers travelling the country highlighting the supermarket’s affordable festive food.
Supermarket chain Aldi has brought back another fan favourite this Christmas in the shape of Kevin the Carrot, a star of recent festive campaigns. This year’s ad is a remake of the classic Christmas film Home Alone, with Kevin the Carrot forced to defend his home from intruders when he’s mistakenly left at home by his family. Aldi also included a little nod to their public rift with Marks & Spencer over the two supermarket’s caterpillar cakes, a story we wrote about last year.
Sainsbury’s has seen what the British public like and they’ve given it to them. And the British public really like Alison Hammond, star of ITV’s This Morning and everyone’s dream auntie. Playing the role of a fussy countess, Alison is offered a classic Christmas pudding only to inform the viewers that she’s never been a fan (finally, someone has said it) before demanding something different.
Enter the supermarket’s Taste the Difference caramelised biscuit Christmas pudding to save the day
Bringing back its festive folk hero, Farmer Christmas, Morrisons is again paying tribute to the role British farming plays in ensuring the country’s festive feasts happen each year. In this Christmas advert, Farmer Christmas visits his workshop where the elves are preparing food sold by the supermarket. The ad finishes with Farmer Christmas exclaiming that Morrisons is the only supermarket to be “officially approved by me” due to their support for British farming.
Marks & Spencer
Starring comedy legends French and Saunders for a second year running, Marks & Spencer has gone for silly over sentimentality this year. Opening up with Dawn French as the fairy leaving the top of the tree in search of a “little friend”, the advert sees a dog’s old chew toy brought to life. Voiced by Jennifer Saunders, Duckie the toy is then shown the magic of Christmas by the fairy, going on an adventure that shows off M&S’s Christmas offerings displayed on a dining table.
Asda have teamed up with Warner Bros for their Christmas advertising campaign, bringing back Will Ferrell’s character Buddy the Elf from the 2003 film Elf, 19 years after the film instantly established itself in everyone’s top-five Christmas films. Using clips from the film to tell the story of Buddy starting his trial shift as an Asda floor worker, the tell ends with our hero delighted to be offered the job at the supermarket. Set against the classic Frank Sinatra redefinition of Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, Asda has done its best to stand out this Christmas.