O Come All Ye Consumers: 2018’s Christmas Ads

Every year, retailers’ Christmas adverts gift us Brits with a new conversation starter. As retailers go head to head with their Christmas campaigns, each winter more ideas and budgets are stretched in the hope to go viral, but which of them truly spread the Christmas spirit? To kick off December, here’s our take on which Christmas adverts made the naughty or nice list this year.

Sainsburys ☹

Sainsburys has a great track record of Christmas campaigns. Remember when they brought the emotional WW1 Christmas truce to our screens and made us laugh at Mog the Cat’s calamities? However, for us this year Sainsburys played it safe, and resulted in failing to relate to their audience.

As a nervous young girl tries to pluck up the courage to sing in her school nativity play, her mum finds just enough time to look away from her phone to give her an encouraging nod. The daughter’s confidence soars, represented by her flying above the rest of the children performing. It would have been far more heart-warming to see the children shine on their own, rather than thanks to the apparent £100,000 nativity budget. What kind of school is this?!

Apple 😊

Apple’s mark on the Christmas advert scene is new in Britain and has in the past been a little more product-centered. This year, the protagonist of the advert is endearingly relatable, and the animation is superb. Apple also manages to share a new message with their audience on Christmas. ‘Share your gift’ could inspire many to use its technology to chase their dreams in 2019. Or you know, watch the same series on Netflix for the 10th time (no shaming here!)

John Lewis ☹

This is a bittersweet one, which is why Britain feels so divided on this year’s advert. Sadly, it’s a thumbs down from us. Whilst the end message of gifts potentially changing a person’s life is sweet, the majority of the advert seems to be an ego-boost for Elton John. Was the hour-long cameo in Kingsman 2 not enough? Or his upcoming biopic? It was bold of John Lewis to break away from its usual formula.  However, the balance was missed, and I was just left wondering if John Lewis even sold pianos. (Spoiler, they don’t.)

Waitrose 😊

Yes…obviously Waitrose is owned by John Lewis. But that’s what makes this even funnier, and even redeems the Elton John advert slightly! The scene of a typical, modern British family fast-forwarding through the John Lewis advert to get their hands on some food will feel like a familiar scene to many. At this time of year, we can go barely two feet without seeing some form of advertising, so it’s refreshing for retailers to take a step back and see us as people, not just consumers!

What makes this Christmas retail marketing season particularly jolly for us is seeing brand’s interacting with each other’s campaigns, just like Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot playing Elton John as a little joke aimed at John Lewis.

If you could use a fresh pair of eyes on your marketing in the New Year, get in touch! 




By Clare McCahery