Christmas adverts 2015 - Sainsbury's Mog the Cat reviewed: When it comes to John Lewis vs Sainsbury's, this year it's no contest

 
Catherine Neilan
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Mog wins hands down (Source: Sainsbury's)

Last year Sainsbury's surprised everyone by becoming a contender to steal the crown from John Lewis for best Christmas ad. This year, there is no contest.

The 3:30-animation of Mog the Cat doing what only the Judith Kerr creation can (causing mayhem, naturally – or in this case, a Christmas calamity), bests its department store rival in every way.

Where John Lewis has stuck to the formula that has served it so well in the past, Sainsbury's advert couldn't be more different.

Last year the supermarket went for a tear-jerker: this year it's changed things up with some family humour (although there is at least one reference just for the grown-ups).

The animation is, as you would expect from Framestore, the house behind Paddington the Movie, outstanding.

Even Kerr herself at last night's press launch enthused about how it was a “wonderful extension of all the books I've done” and in particular, the way Mog moves, which was “absolutely wonderful”.

I agree. And I think thousands of children will do too. My five-year-old niece and her younger sister will almost certainly be front of the queue to get their “accessibly priced” book and plush toy (£3 and £10 respectively).

Both John Lewis and Sainsbury's have a charity tie-up – Help the Aged and Save the Children's literacy campaign Read On, Get On – and both will be helping those campaigns financially as well as raising awareness.

At their heart, both adverts are about sharing and sentimentality: there's not a single product in the Sainsbury's advert that you can buy in store, and John Lewis has put no emphasis on its placement, saying it has no plans for a rush on telescopes.

But the key to Sainsbury's success is its light-touch, its humour and the warmth without the tinge of guilt that you get from watching John Lewis (how can I go and splurge on presents when the man is still sitting on the Moon, up there on his own?).

Sainsbury's has managed to navigate the right side of the emotional spectrum. It gets you thinking without having an issue forced down your throat - you're too busy chuckling at Mog's clumsiness.

Christmas really is about sharing, but in Sainsbury's world, it's a genuinely joyful experience. And that's what makes Mog's Christmas Calamity the best festive ad of 2015.

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