Christmas Advert Round Up 2018

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Jess Staines
Digital Communications Executive
Our fabulous Digital Communications Executive Jess is full of hidden talents and skills. From revitalising our marketing materials to analysing our client’s websites, she certainly has hit the ground running.

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Christmas Advert Round Up 2018

Christmas is here! We are in amongst the food shop stress, secret Santa fails and Christmas party hangovers. In all seriousness, Christmas is a time for celebration and to feel good with our nearest and dearest. Christmas adverts start launching at the end of November, kicking off the festive season. This year we have dissected the offerings presented from some of the UK’s top retailers and brands. There is a lot to talk about this year, with some standouts and some that leave a lot to be desired. Let’s kick things off with none other than John Lewis.

John Lewis - #EltonJohnLewis

John Lewis has taken a side step from its usual advert concepts. This year the campaign does not feature a fictional character or animated creature, but the one and only Elton John. The advert takes you through important moments in his life, going all the way back to when he received a piano for Christmas as a child. It’s a sweet story and is well executed with the look-a-likes and visual effects. However, Elton John recently announced his final tour as well as a movie, both of which are coming next year. Is this just a bit of promotion that John Lewis have made work for its Christmas ad? It’s pushing Elton John into our living rooms and bringing him to the forefront of our minds, right before his tour and movie launch. If anything it’s a clever move on his part, and John Lewis could help him deliver this.

McDonalds – Reindeer Ready

McDonalds has focused on Santa’s reindeer in this year’s campaign. The advert revolves around the issue that no one leaves out any carrots for the reindeer. In the end, Santa stops off at McDonalds for some carrot sticks. It seems a bit of a strange move for McDonalds, as who really goes there for carrots?  We think its message is that McDonalds is there for you when you’re really hungry – it can provide what you need most. It’s not the most memorable campaign and arguably not very original in terms of concept (although its heart-warming and the reindeer are really cute!). It’s interesting that McDonalds has tried to market itself for something other than a Big Mac but maybe the fast food giant is trying to jump on the healthy eating waggon?

Sainsbury’s – The Big Night

Sainsbury’s has pulled out all the stops this year with the help of The Greatest Showman director Michael Gracey. The ad, which starts in monochrome, comprises a nervous young girl falteringly singing to a packed audience.  As she grows in confidence, her singing gets stronger and the film changes to colour. Our little star wows the crowd with her performance, whilst a melee of organised chaos continues around her on the stage. A particularly memorable moment comes when a child dressed as an electric plug launches himself into a socket. It’s quite possibly the most iconic moment from a Christmas advert this year. This is a real feel-good advert and will definitely be remembered in years to come (mainly because of the plug – we all want to be in the plug costume!).

Iceland - #NoPalmOilChristmas

This year’s Christmas advert from Iceland is perhaps the most talked about advert of the year, despite the fact that it was banned from being broadcasted on TV - the news of the ban, along with the subject matter, caused the advert to go viral. The advert highlights the impact of palm oil on rainforests and the orangutan population. Controversy was sparked when it was revealed that the ban came about not because of the environmental subject matter, but because of the association with Greenpeace, considered to be a “wholly political body”. Despite the obstacles it has faced, Iceland has seen success with millions of views and thousands of interactions. It may not have been the publicity Iceland wanted, but it started a conversation and sadly feels quite fitting for the current social climate.

Aldi - #KevinTheCarrot

The much anticipated return of Kevin the Carrot was Aldi’s offering this year. The initial advert features Kevin driving a Coca Cola style truck through a snowy forest when disaster strikes and Kevin is left dangling over a cliff edge. The story continued on social media with #SaveKevin trending. The similarities to Coca Cola did not go unnoticed by viewers and issues were raised about whether they had gone too far. However, Coca Cola themselves squashed the tension by Tweeting Aldi and offering their help to Kevin. The story isn’t over for Kevin, as a suite of adverts have been released in the run up to Christmas, all referring to some well known fairy-tales.

Google - Home Alone Again

In a last minute addition to the round up, we have Google’s Home Alone inspired advert, complete with Kevin McCallister himself. Google have gone all out on the details fans would notice, from the décor to the snacks on the table. Social media has exploded with chatter about this ad, with fans praising Google, and Macaulay Culkin for getting involved. It’s a real nostalgic piece that has been cleverly set out to incorporate the Google Assistant but keep the focus on this mini Home Alone reboot. We love it! 

There have been many memorable Christmas adverts this year, as well as some that are not that special. As the social conversation around the concepts behind Christmas adverts grows, so does the anticipation around what brands will do next. At MAXX, we love celebrating the festive season and there is still time to share the love using the MAXX Christmas campaign. Select your characters and send your family and friends a personalised Christmas greeting at https://www.maxx-design.co.uk/xxmas - we are donating 1p for every message sent this Christmas week to Newbury Cancer Care – a charity very close to our hearts.