We take a look at some of our favourite Christmas ads of 2020.
Lewis Sturgeon – Planner
There are some things that you just associate with Christmas: pigs in blankets, turkey, presents, family arguments, and goats strutting around in knitwear… well maybe not, but that didn’t stop TK Maxx from going with it.
The surrealism and absurdity of the concept are what make this ad work. As the likes of John Lewis and Amazon deliver the emotional punch we expect during the festive season – TK Maxx are staying clear of that space and making us laugh which for them as a brand makes sense, because they are fun, and they are different to every other retailer.
Sometimes we just need a smile and never more so than in a year that can only politely be described as ‘one to forget’. The advert doesn’t ignore the crisis, but it doesn’t make it the story line either. The simple delivery of ‘she’s had a tough year’ is enough of a nod to make you laugh, but also keep you suspended from reality while Lil’ Goat struts its stuff.
Richard Pearson – Creative Director
It’s undeniable that ad breaks during the festive season get a lot of hype. It’s probably the one time of year that the masses tune in specifically to see them. What makes this advert so great to me is that despite that competition, despite the bigger budgets and bigger hypes it still manages to cut through and hold its own for 30 seconds of ridiculousness.
Christmas ads often fall into two categories. First the fantastical stylish Christmas, every tree with perfectly placed baubles, a luxurious feast of beautifully presented food and, without fail, it will always be snowing. Or there’s the down to earth real British Christmas complete with wonky trees, elves on shelves, dinner with someone sat on a mis-matched spare chair that’s lower than all the rest and, of course, Grandad falling asleep while still in his paper hat.
Now as I grew up in the North East in the 70s and 80s the Christmas ads that appeal to me the most are certainly in that second category. The three films by Sainsburys do just that. They might not be made of moments that are straight out of my memories but when watching them it brings to mind all the things that are personal to my family.
There’s a great combination of craft skills mixing old photos, home video, phone call VOs and classic product beauty shots to create a perfect nostalgic feeling. Especially after a year where families spending time together has been especially hard, it’s what Christmas is all about – moments to remember, new moments being made and families celebrating them all together.
Owen Evans – Senior Copywriter
This year, Tesco made their seasonal offering all about the two big C-words … Christmas and Covid. Bringing them together with a very British sense of self-deprecating humour makes for a relevant and relatable campaign, without the blizzard of earnestness and mawkish sentimentality usually deployed this time of year (yes John Lewis, I’m looking at you).
Tesco have tapped into the mood of the nation and applied it beautifully to the Christmas setting. We’ve all felt the lockdown guilt at various points (confession time: I cheated on a Zoom quiz once – aaaah, that feels better), so a big thanks to Tesco for absolving our lockdown sins, and for reminding us not to beat ourselves up after what’s been a batshit crazy year.
It also doesn’t fall into the trap of forgetting to actually sell product, and the icing on the Christmas Cake is how they used the concept tactically and across other channels. There’s some lovely print – unprecedented pies indeed! – and they managed to exploit the partnership with ‘I’m a Celeb’ to wonderful effect.
Top of the nice list for me.
Gareth Taylor – Senior Account Director
I love the Christmas ad fight each year. But this year has been massively different to most. I’ve not been hugely impressed with some, especially the Coca Cola 2020 Christmas ad, but I have to say – the Christmas ad from Plenty is superb.
What makes it great, is that is does things that make it stand out from the rest, which resonates strongly with my belief that says ‘don’t be the best, be the only’ – and this ad definitely does that in amongst all the mush.
So, what makes it so good? Well, firstly it puts the product front and centre in a way that’s relevant (very important), and it uses real people (great casting) to tell a story that’s identifiable and relatable to all of us. Christmas is sometimes a bit rubbish, and it’s always messy.
But what makes it really clever, is that it uses an emotion that few brands use at Christmas – disgust – which at times make it uncomfortable watch, and might put you off your Christmas dinner but it helps it cut through the rest of what’s out there. And you never know – it might make you go out and buy a couple of rolls on Plenty, which after all, is what advertising should do.
It’s very good, and very fitting for 2020.