We review the 2017 Christmas ads!

There’s no use burying your head in the snow, Christmas is here, along with those all-important festive adverts. Now that all the big players have shared their offerings, we thought we’d ask around the office and find out what our team thought of the ads. Take a look, then let us know what you think on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

Aldi

What’s the story? Kevin the Carrot rescues the carrot of his dreams from a projectile pea on Santa’s surprisingly sinister train.

Music? Danny Elfman – Edward Scissorhands Introduction

Celeb? Jim Broadbent (voiceover)

“This advert was very warm, inviting and Christmassy, with the central focus on food. Christmas favourites such as prosecco, Christmas pud etc, are showcased very well indicating that I can buy all the essentials at Aldi. I also liked the narrative; a carrot and his journey to meet Santa. The message that every day is amazing is very positive and uplifting.” Joanna, Customer Service Agent

Amazon

What’s the story? Some Amazon parcels lead us through a rendition of Supertramp’s ‘Give a little bit’ as one of them is delivered as a gift.

Music? The aforementioned ‘Give a little bit’ sung by some boxes.

Celeb? No

“This advert could well be the least Christmassy advert yet; as a matter of fact, a more suitable soundtrack might have been Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas”. The only hint of Christmas looming can be witnessed for the briefest of moments at the very beginning of the ad (look out for some virtual antlers on the little girl, but blink and you’ll miss them…).

A journey through Amazon’s warehouse full of joyous parcels making their way around the world to satisfy their customers’ needs is in stark contrast with their reputation. A subtle attempt at redemption on their part one could argue.

Amazon is savvy nonetheless in reminding us of its logistical prowess as a powerhouse of online shopping. Simple, fast, and without any fuss. Much like this ad perhaps?” Oliver, Head of Customer Services

Asda

What’s the story? Asda (or their factory at least) is turned into a Willy Wonka inspired wonderland, because, why not?

Music? Fleetwood Mac – Don’t Stop

Celeb? No

“Just like Melchior, Asda has delivered Gold this Christmas. But unlike the tardy wise man, Asda has brought us this visual gift in early November. They’ve kept it traditional with a reimagining of Willy Wonka’s sweatshop spitting out canapes. Controversially though it’s low on schmaltz. Definitely one of the better offerings since the format was invented by John Lewis in 2007.” Tom, Head of Products & Services

Boots

What’s the story? A lady give her sister a present, cue flashbacks aplenty and probably a few tissues.

Music? Yazoo – Only You

Celeb? No

“This is a feel-good ad that looks at a snapshot of a sibling relationship through the years, a snapshot that answers the question – “how do I know what the perfect gift is for this person?” In this ad, Boots are encouraging us to put some thought into every gift we give and to buy something with meaning (not just vouchers, as joked about in the final scene), something that when it is opened by our family member/friend/colleague will #ShowThemYouKnowThem.” Colleen, Quality Assurance Manager

Debenhams

What’s the story? Social media conspires to recouple a love struck duo who meet and lose each other (and a shoe) on a train.

Music? Sorry, couldn’t find out the name but it’s definitely been in a film!

Celeb? Ewan McGregor

“I was first alerted to the #YouShall Debenham’s Christmas ad via Twitter. Rather appropriate given the role social media plays within the ad. Nothing too complicated, a good old fashioned love story, with a modern communication twist. A chance seating arrangement on a train, the eyes of two beautiful people sitting opposite each other meet. The perfect pairing. But, just before any romantic gesture is made, the girl, laden with bags, rushes from the train and in line with Cinderella, she drops a shoe. And then the reunion of boy, girl and shoe commences. Using social media as their channel of choice, the girl searches for the shoe and the boy (with the shoe) – shall we call him Prince Charming ;), searches for the girl. Pretty simple. And what’s not to love, romance, cameo and voiceover by Ewan McGregor, sparkly shoes, snow and a happy ending – all with a modern twist.

Amidst the plethora of Christmas ads all vying for the usual attention, in my view, Debenhams have crafted a little gem. There’s still a gentle pull on the heartstrings, but it’s a pull that’s uplifting and refreshingly fairytalesque.

A quick look at Debenham’s social media showcases nothing but the #youshall hashtag – and their key message ‘Find your Fairytale Christmas’ is generating great engagement.

Love me a bit of Christmas cheesy romance and love me a bit of great engagement on social media. Happily ever after – who knows?… but even so, it’s a 9/10 from me.” Michelle, Marketing Director   

House of Fraser

What’s the story? Two sisters kiss, dance and fight their way through Christmases past and present.

Music? The Staple Singers – Who Took The Merry Out of Christmas?

Celeb? No

“Christmas is not just about opening presents, it is also about family, which is really what the House of Fraser Christmas ad tries to accomplish. Two female adults releasing their inner child, reliving the joys they had growing up together, especially on Christmas! The one day you don’t mind things getting a little messy was explored through this ad. Visually it had all the right aspects, it did fall a little flat however at the end. It just did not have the wow factor.” Daniel, Customer Service Supervisor

John Lewis

What’s the story? Moz the Monster gives a little kid sleep deprivation, gifts him a night light, then leaves. Or does he?

Music? Elbow – Golden Slumbers

Celeb? Moz the Monster!

“I liked it in general, though not as much as previous years. The adverts have always followed a formula which has worked but this felt like it was sticking to it a bit too rigidly and trying too hard. Also, the whole ‘monster under the bed’ journey leading up to the tag line was a bit abstract and didn’t really relate to the ‘for gifts that’ll brighten up your Christmas’ message.” Joe, Online Conversion Assistant

Morrisons

What’s the story? Mum goes shopping with family and gets everything she asked for!

Music? Generic festive music

Celeb? No

“The Morrison’s ‘Christmas list’ advert tells the story of how one family prepares for the festive season and the role its people and fresh products can play in delivering the perfect Christmas for a mother. The advert serves as a wonderful reminder of what the holiday season should be all about – being with family. Morrison’s strategy to focus on themes of family and traditional values will resonate with many. However, it doesn’t quite tug at heartstrings or make you eager to part with your hard-earned cash. It would have really got people talking if it had focused a little less on hard-selling and developed a more entertaining or imaginative storyline. The best ads are the ones that take you on some sort of magical journey.” Jenny, Operations Assistant Manager

M&S

What’s the story? Paddington Bear (see Paddington 2 in a cinema near you) mistakes a pesky burglar for Santa Claus and accidentally saves Christmas.

Music? Generic festive music

Celeb? Paddington Bear (aka Ben Whishaw)

“All the right Christmas tropes are there, happy families, a cute lead character, a story of redemption. All standard stuff, although the addition of Paddington does add to the charm factor!” Jason, Company Administrator

Sainsbury’s

What’s the story? Lots of people (and somewhat randomly, Kermit the Frog) ‘sing’ about the little quirks of Christmas, karaoke style – sing along at home!

Music? Oh yes

Celeb? Ricky Tomlinson and Kermit the Frog

“I’ll admit, the lyrics and the people in the advert depicts more accurately what Christmas is actually like for the average UK family. (Rather than a luxury-wrapped version that John Lewis or Debenhams usually delivers). It feels like a ‘real’ version of Christmas, as it seems non-actors and actresses may have been included.

It’s also great that they’ve taken a crucial part of Christmas, Ricky Tomlinson – who represents sofa-loving Jim in the Christmas TV staple Royle Family – and included him in the advert, though he was wasted by appearing for a short amount of time! (I hope they didn’t spend the whole budget on him and Kermit the Frog!)

Unfortunately, the advert is incredibly annoying and I prefer to mute the TV each time it comes on. It comes across as a cheap way of getting their slogan into our brains – and cheeky by including defenceless children to repeat it over and over again, making it harder to criticise. But no, I won’t be singing along to the karaoke version this Christmas!” Lauren, Marketing Executive

Tesco

What’s the story? It’s all about the turkey as a series of families prepare and the enjoy their Christmas dinner.

Music?  Unknown artistMerry Christmas Everyone

Celeb? No

“The #EveryonesWelcome message works really well (apart from the troublesome missing apostrophe, hashtags eh?) as a host of different families struggle with their turkey. Luckily, being a Christmas ad, it all works out in the end with not one sighting of a microwave turkey dinner. Unfortunately, the ad follows the trend of ‘depressing up’ a perfectly cheery song. What’s wrong with Shakin’ Stevens?!” Mathew, Head of Content

Waitrose

What’s the story? A pub lock in on Christmas day due to a snowstorm, thankfully a well-stocked kitchen saves the day.

Music?  Guy Farley – Carol of the Bells (you know, that one from Home Alone)

Celeb? No

“This is not your typical supermarket Christmas advert. It is not set in a home or a supermarket. This advert is set in a pub in a countryside which is in the middle of nowhere and it is snowing heavily. Does well to tell the story and does not focus too much on promoting their products. This advert tells us that this is not only about family but also coming together with strangers and making Christmas happen wherever you are.” Lily, Company Administrator

That’s what some of our team thought but what about you? What ads have you smiling ear to ear and which have you reaching for the remote? Let us know on our Twitter and Facebook pages.  

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