The competition in the UK to produce the best Christmas ads is legendary. Their people expect nothing less than big budget, feel-good, festive fabulousness from their favourite brands and, in particular, Waitrose and John Lewis, have not disappointed.
Waitrose’s epic journey
With over 2.4 million YouTube views, we’re not alone in being charmed by this beautifully conceptualised ad. In the commercial we see a Robin taking an epic journey home, where a girl waits for his annual return, putting a (Waitrose) mince pie out to welcome him. Some of the YouTube comments on the ad include “I cried”, and “Robins have a special place in my heart” and “My heart sank when I thought the Robin was dead in that box!” This is big, emotive storytelling with powerful feel-good associations which we imagine will tempt non-Waitrose customers into frequenting their stores.
#BusterTheBoxer jumping for joy
More animals debut in the John Lewis #BusterTheBoxer ad, but this is a far cry from the National Geographic “feel” of Waitrose’s Robin. The story is of a little girl who’s going to be surprised by her parents with a trampoline for Christmas. What happens when Buster sees the trampoline? Well, they all get a surprise. It’s beautiful and absurd and it works. With a clever soundtrack of ‘One Day I’ll Fly Away’ and the payoff line which ties it together, “Gifts Everyone Will Love”, no doubt John Lewis will be selling many trampolines this Christmas. Plus, they’re partners with The Wildlife Trust to protect the UK’s habitat, so that’s an additional, authentic factor which is so important for brands these days.
Coca-Cola’s Enjoy that Christmas feeling
Each time you watch this ad you see something new – look out for Santa’s Reindeer peering through the window. Coke does uplifting ads so well but what’s outstanding about this is the reveal that the product itself is a gift at Christmas. A gift for Santa but also literally a present as the peel back label can be tied into a festive bow. It would be great if more local brands did something unique with their packaging during the Festive Season. Other holiday branding we love are Starbucks’ holiday cups; festive and all designed by women, from the US, Indonesia, Dubai, Canada, Russia and South Korea.
Woolworths finds the magic
Kudos to Woolworths for pulling off this complex interactive series of animated adverts – we’re looking forward to seeing more of them. The basic storyline is Santa (played by the voice of Hugh Masekela) wants to put the magic back into Christmas by exploring South Africa with his dog, Jingle. Created to watch on digital, the ads encourage you to “Turn on Annotations” and each element you click-on takes you to another scene (including the Woolworths shopping cart). Cleverly appealing to those who’re a bit jaded and also looking for a little Christmas “magic”.
Pick ‘n Pay goes on holiday
The first point about this ad is that you probably need to be South African to “get it”. We love that it’s such a far cry from, well, any of the other Christmas adverts around. Starring Ladysmith Black Mambazo singing “The Little Drummer Boy”, some of these holiday scenes are so familiar you’re not sure whether to laugh or cry. Pick ‘n Pay asks “What would Christmas be without all the ‘Pa ra pa pa pum’?” as we get a tongue in cheek glimpse of rain, sunburn, long journeys and more. This is only Chapter One – have you seen Chapter Two?
Sheila McGillivray, Tribe Leader at One Lady and a Tribe.