*Ding ding ding* Time for round two folks. Yup, here’s the follow up to Part One of our Christmas TV ad review. Now there were a few tasteful ads in P1 and a few forgettable ones, whilst one or two were definitely in the ‘bizarre AF’ category. So let’s see how the roster below performs out.

John Lewis – Buster The Boxer

Verdict: You know what the funny thing about this advert? I didn’t know it was out. Like I knew there was a bit of a teaser or snippet somewhere but I didn’t know the full version was out. I only found out from a forwarded email from Chris. I think JL missed the mark this year with the whole anticipation angle. I mean between the new U.S. President-elect and a certain A-level student, it feels as if the timing of this ad was just not the ‘must-see’ event it usually is. John Lewis, consider your Christmas moment hijacked. Now with the ad, I kind of prefer it over last year’s but the general consensus seems to be that it lacks that magic last year’s and previous ads have harnessed. Not sure if it’s the light-hearted tone, the CGI ‘Animals of Farthing Wood’ or even the arguably toned-down John Lewis-ness but it is not the best of the year. DAMN. 2016 is not screwing about!

Grade: B+

Boots – The Gift of Beauty

Verdict: Wonderful advert by Boots this year. Highlighting the fact that up to 500,000 women work on Christmas Day is a staggering figure that would give one pause. From the fire services to the A&E department, not everyone has the opportunity to spend Christmas with their loved ones. So Boots’ idea of an early Christmas with all the lovely gifts, pampering & parties is a fabulous way of making it less about the commercial aspect and more about the art of giving. (You’ll see a lot of that in this post).

Grade: A

Currys PC World – Christmas Lights (Unsubtle Hints)

Verdict: Unsubtle is right. Took me a hot second to realise that the dad was trying to drop a blindly obvious hint at what really mattered. Well, to him at least. It’s light on the humour and seems to be a part of several Christmas ad segments from Currys PC World this year. Be sure to check the rest out here. Overall it doesn’t really leave an lasting impression on me so there we go.

Grade: C

Barbour – Christmas with The Snowman & The Snowdog

Verdict: Awhh this cutesy advert is rich with nostalgia, which I’m guessing was a deliberate move. Now I’m a little disappointed I didn’t hear ‘Walking in the Air’ but maybe that would be have been too ‘on the nose’. S’okay, all it’s done is reminded me to add it to next month’s music playlist. BOOM. Anyway back to the advert, the narrative was easy to follow, the Snowman-styled animation was a nice homage to past Christmas memories and has a nice, simple message to wrap it all up at the end of it.

Grade: B-

Not On The Highstreet – Magic Is Real

Verdict: Seriously, if you’ve never shopped with Notonthehighstreet, change that now. Some of the items are beyond beautiful, so original and even uncanny. You’ll be quite hard pressed to find anything remotely as special and well made elsewhere. The advert plays a lovely tribute to those who sell their products via NOTH, depicting them as elves, normal height elves. I like this ad quite a bit (okay I may be a tad bias). It’s well made, has an engaging narrative with a bit of light hearted humour and really shows off what makes NOTH a premier place to shop for Christmas. That stars print gift is so unbelievably adorable I’m genuinely going to see right now how much it costs. (Spoiler: Too damn much. My Christmas budget is still hyperventilating in the corner).

Grade: A

Grey Goose Vodka – Lumière

Verdict: This advert has quite a mini-cinematic feel to it. The art direction of this Grey Goose ad is interesting and I do like the originality in its concept. Will I forget it? Maybe. But it is quite different from a lot of generic Christmas adverts, as this one gave me a slight vibe of the Burberry but after one or two shots of the Goose.

Grade: B-

Temptations – Keep Them Busy

Verdict: First off, I had no idea that Temptations was a cat brand (I know, the name in the video screenshot should have been an OBVIOUS clue). But I didn’t what to expect from this ad. And I don’t want to spoil it too much but you can imagine what may happen if you put a bunch of wily cats in a very pristine Christmas setting. Anarchy. I love it!

Grade: A-

Vodafone – Bigger & Better Christmas

Verdict: I like this ad from Voda. It highlights one of those scenarios we dread most when travelling for the holidays. Breakdown. Ugh, there’s probably nothing worst. But my man in the red & white festive top dealt with it reasonably well. He even got the whole coach audience on board joining in the fun. But “Airdog”? Really? (No lie, when I saw the pooch jump into his hands for some reason this popped into my head instead, like some backward version of the original).

Grade: C+

Ebay – Survive The Disco

Verdict: Hahaha I like this ad. It’s kind of what you would imagine what ebay would be like as an actual high school instead of a online ecommerce platform (which is probably what they were going for, I know). It’s short in time but makes good use of clever script-copy and humourous scenarios playing out simulantaneously. There are other smaller segments of ebay’s other Christmas ad campaign adverts right here to view. I haven’t seen the others but the ad is digestible and gets the main points across without being too much of a burden.

Grade: B

Sainsbury’s – The Greatest Gift

Verdict: Two things. One, this was a mighty long advert and it didn’t need to be I think. And two, this just made me wanna watch Gavin & Stacey after hearing Smithy’s yodelling. Which was probably the best bit since I like James Corden. Now I know public opinion is split on this particular advert. Some don’t mind it (like Marmite), others despise it (also like Marmite). Me? I don’t mind it. But damn it’s long. Also I think Daddy Dearest has a bit of a narcissist complex, ha! Now I want a gingerbread-man. *Wanders to Sainsbury’s down the way*

Grade: C

Waitrose – Home For Christmas

Verdict: There’s commitment. And there’s commitment. You know how I know that bird is beyond any doubt the dark work of CGI? No Robin would dare make that kind of journey back to its loved ones. No. Way. I had to laugh because it’s supposed to be a harrowing journey of this ickle bird trying to make it back home in time for Christmas but it just seems a lil’ too farfetched for me. But again maybe that’s the whole point. But that ending…you mean to tell me that Robin went on that suicide mission just for THAT?  Oh Waitrose.

Grade: B- (but gets an A for the ‘ridiculous yet funny factor’).

Marks & Spencer – Christmas with love from Mrs Claus

Verdict: Another long advert but this one I liked a lot. It kept me engaged (which isn’t an easy feat for a 3min+ advert). The idea of Mrs Claus taking center stage is something we don’t see too often and I relished watching her take the lead in this M&S Christmas spot. Gurl was flawless, on point and covered her tracks like a natural born spy. Personally I think this is one of the best in this list of adverts. Liked the narrative, the actors were wonderful and it had the right balance of humour, style and emotive scenes.

Grade: A+

Lexus – December to Remember

Verdict: Bwhahahaha. One thing you can’t fault kids for is their ability to manipulate. And Christmas is the perfect time of year in doing so. And to be fair to the kid, he did exactly what I would have done, probably. Those sneaky parents. Okay hands up how many of you have actually done that to your kids before? There are another four TV spots of which you can view here.

Grade: B-

Heathrow Airport – Coming Home for Christmas

Verdict: I’m not too sure of the top of my head when Heathrow last did a Christmas TV ad (according to Youtube, this is what they did last year.) This is what I’d like to image what Paddington Bear parents must be like. I like this advert alot, it’s brilliant! It’s sweet without being to sickeningly sweet, creative and clever in the way the bears go through the same motions we all go through at an airport. Bravissimo Heathrow!

Grade: A+

Bonus Round

 

Now this one is an interesting and somewhat controversial one. A awareness campaign called ‘Stop Funding Hate‘ have jumped off the back of the new John Lewis advert to remind the retailer (and others) that their promotion of peace and goodwill should not just be during the holiday season. See the video below.

 

 

Stop Funding Hate – Goodwill to All (Not just for Christmas)

Verdict: This is a great example of agile marketing. Or even hijack marketing. But for a most worthy cause and debate. Too often we get so caught up in the trivial festivities and commercial aspects of Christmas, we’re quick to forget the moral lessons and renewed goodwill that we should be putting forward. Sure, during Christmas most people remember that we must be kind to one another and look out for each other.

Big brands boast this more than anyone else this time of year. By tapping into the emotional aspect of Christmas, people pay attention. But these same big brands are quick to shrug off the goodwill aspect as soon as the season is done. And continue to spend their advertising money with media who have a bad habit of propagating fear-mongering and intolerance. But I digress, this is a valiant effort by SFH and I sincerely hope big brands DO pay attention.

Kudos to the Co-op for getting with the program. This is a wonderful ad so please watch it. It’s like the saying, a puppy isn’t just for Christmas. Neither should kindness and goodwill be just for Christmas.

Grade: A

 

Written by: JR

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