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17 December 2015

Who’ll Win The Brand Battle of the UK Christmas Ads?

Hasn’t it gone quick! Just a few weeks before the big day. The tree’s up. Christmas Jumpers at-the-ready and it’s Christmas advert over-load! Nowhere to run – nowhere to hide. On the telly. On the tablet. Following us everywhere we go on our smartphones. We just can’t get enough of those festive heart-warming, tear-jerking and occasionally gut-wrenching (depending how you look at it) Christmas ads.

As brands spend big bucks, desperately trying to drum up emotional appeal and pull our heart strings  – I can honestly say, there’s nothing quite like good-old UK Christmas ads! Let’s see exactly what’s on offer! Time to sit back. Grab a glass and tuck into a mince pie as I share with you a selection of Christmas ads 2015 and my take on how they make us tick.


1. Edeka – #HeimKommen (Germany)

Before we start, you’re absolutely right. This isn’t from the UK. I wanted to start with a bang. With more clicks than the John Lewis Christmas offering, rocketing far beyond 10 million views, Edeka have well and truly nailed it. If this doesn’t bring a tear to your eye I don’t know what will.

In a nutshell, an elderly man resorts to drastic measures and fakes his own death to unite his family for the festive period. As a result this really does push the emotional factor to the limits. By the way, although it’s a German ad, actor Arthur Nightingale is in fact – that’s right. British.

2. John Lewis – #ManOnTheMoon

Without a doubt, it’s the UK’s most eagerly anticipated Christmas ad of the year. For the last eight years, John Lewis has conjured up a festive campaign that hits those emotional buttons and this year seems no different. It shares the story of a young girl called Lily, who brings Christmas to a lonely old man living on the moon. It kind of reminds me of The Martian. All that’s missing is Matt Damon.

Teaming up with Age UK, the ad shines an alternative perspective and promotes the charity’s campaign to putting an end to elderly loneliness during the festivities. Interestingly, the telescope featured in the ad, costing £79.95, was sold out in a matter of minutes after the advert was revealed to the world.

 3. House of Fraser – #YourRules

Everything that represents a traditional Christmas – you won’t find here! House of Fraser have decided to rebel – in style. They’ve gone for a funky high-energy mix between a snazzy pop video and a luxurious fashion shoot sending out a message that you don’t have to conform to a standardized image of Christmas. In addition I must admit, I love the choreography and pulse of the ad. It’s eye-catching. It’s audacious. It keeps you glued to the screen and turns conformity on its head. Thumbs up to House of Fraser.

4. Marks and Spencer #TheArtOfChristmas

Last year it was fairies. This year, M&S have gone for big, bold and lavish. Rather than crafting a mini-blockbuster production, they’ve created a selection of seven short stylish “attention grabbing” ads. Each shown in 20 second and 30 second formats, they are actually claimed to be “the most digitally focused to date”.

M&S hope to appeal to younger shoppers with shorter attention spans using their smartphones than watching TV screens. Yes, it’s full of sparkle, packed with Christmas spirit with some amazing visuals to the tunes of Uptown Funk. How does is stand out from the rest? What exactly is their unique message? You tell me.

5. Harvey Nichols – #giftface

We all do it. No doubt you’ll do this on Christmas Day. You open up your prezzies with glee and anticipation. Eagerly rip open the wrapping paper. And there you have it. A gift you really didn’t want – the moment you slap on your „gift face“. This is the basis for Harvey Nichols’ Christmas 60-second spot featuring a young woman with her forced expression of happiness.

The retailer ends the spot with the tagline “avoid #GiftFace“. A lovely idea. However, it still sends out the message that you should buy better gifts. More expensive gifts (to be precise) from Harvey Nichols.

6. Argos – #JustCantWait for Christmas

Staying well-away from emotional tears and Christmas spirit, Argos have taken to the snow. At first sight, it seems like a low-budget James Bond mountain chase until you quickly spot the various products rolling down the slopes. This action-packed Christmas ad used a team of 50 professional skiers and snowboarders giving viewers a complete adrenaline rush at Christmas.

Argos directly highlights what it has to offer and its same-day delivery. It’s straight forward and very clear which perhaps makes it stand out for these two reasons. Shot on a mountainside in Chile’s Valle Navado, it’s always good to see a skydiving Darth Vader.

7. Lidl – #LidlSchoolOfChristmas

It’s back to school for Lidl. Imagine a “School of Christmas” which teaches people the essential basics on how to survive Christmas. Well that’s exactly what Lidl have come up with. It’s refreshing to see a Christmas ad with something quite unique that sets it apart from the others.

This fun light-hearted ad, brings the viewer into the lessons such as how to make the perfect leftover sandwich, how to light a Christmas pudding, build the perfect snowmen and my favourite, how to untangle fairy lights, Lots of charm. Full of humour and something everyone can relate to.

8. The Body Shop – #FeelsSoGood

Have you ever belted out a Christmas carol in the shower? Incidentally, this is a Christmas ad that shows a bare bum. Yes. A bare bottom in all its glory. Although, for some this may be enough to appeal to the viewers, the real reason this campaign works – is its simplicity.

We step into the bathrooms of men and women across the globe indulging in a spot of shower-karaoke hearing the Christmas classic Jingle Bells sung in six different languages. Equally, The Body Shop also uses the ad to pledge to donate one day’s worth of safe water to a family in Ethiopia, through WaterAid, each time it sells a gift set. It certainly brought a smile to my face.

 9. Asda – #BecauseItsChristmas

 “F**k it, it’s Christmas“ seems to be the underlying message from Asda this year. It’s loud and proud with a superb rocking soundtrack and there’s nothing similar to rival it at all. Interestingly, a whopping seven weeks before 25th December, Asda proudly kicked-off the first helping of Christmas ads with this 60-second ad for the nation on UK TV.

10. Cadbury UK – #FreeTheJoy / #Cadvent

Christmas, for many means only one thing! That’s right. Chocolate. And lots of it. This year, Cadbury’s is on an advent-calendar-mission to #FreeTheJoy across the country and it’s always a hit this time of year.

So, which of these tops your list?

Finally if by now, you still want another helping of Christmas brands, why not check out my review of UK Christmas ads 2014. With that, that’s it for Christmas ads 2015. Until next year.