The retailer race to be top of the tree this Christmas is on. Retailers including John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and Iceland have been teasing their Christmas advertising for weeks, but now the majority of the campaigns are officially launched, who will be sitting pretty at the top of the Christmas list?
This year it’s clear than many have taken lessons from John Lewis, the reigning champ of Christmas advertising with its already classic festive ads featuring Monty the Penguin and the Bear & Hare.
Competitors have latched on to the use of powerful and affecting music choices. Asda’s Shazam-able “Because It’s Christmas” ad blasts out the ‘Sax’ from The X Factor starlet Fleur East’s debut single, while TK Maxx’s “Neighbour” creative features a classic by Otis Reading. Waitrose highlights the festive scenes of Christmas alongside the catchy lyrics “Everybody eats when they come to my house”. All three campaigns make good attempts at showing a warm, homely side of Christmas.
John Lewis, as ever, has pushed the boat (or should that be rocket?) out. A reimagining of a famous song? Check. Expensive CGI? Check. Tear-jerking narrative? Double check.
But The Man on the Moon is given depth and edge thanks to its link with Age UK. The idea pivots on the heart-breaking fact that one million elderly people in the UK won’t speak to a single person in the month of Christmas.
The ad, part of a £7m campaign, is beautifully surreal. While it may not be as cuddly as their previous classics, it serves a purpose with far more significance. John Lewis cares about more than just giving presents and this sums up everything about the brand quite fantastically. A beautiful synergistic partnership.
Argos has perhaps the most direct ad this Christmas, and with good reason. Its same day delivery option is ‘big news’ and its action-charged “Get Set For Advent” advert delivers that message well. Finally there’s the ‘how to enjoy Christmas’ camp, for which Lidl’s “School of Christmas” is a charming entry, though one which is far bettered by Curry’s PC World “Spare the Act” ads featuring Jeff Goldblum.
This gets the star prize.
“Spare the Act” breaks the rules set by John Lewis and injects humour and personality into what seems like a familiar ad set up, but is turned on its head by the comedic qualities of Jeff and the art direction. The range of scenes and subtleties, such as the HD transition in the “Movies” ad, is genius and gets the gold star this festive season.