It’s fair to say this year has been a difficult one for most; however, with the season of joy fast approaching, Christmas advertisements have woven their way onto our screens amidst the national lockdown headlines.
From the much-anticipated John Lewis advert to the memorable Kevin the carrot, we’ve rounded up 2020’s must-see Christmas ads.
- John Lewis
The highly anticipated John Lewis Christmas ad campaign showcases a refreshing break from the pandemic, yet inspired by the kindness of the British public over the hardships of the past year.
The advert, which urges people to ‘Give a Little Love’ this Christmas, merges animation with live action, with nine vignettes by eight different artists, accompanied by UK singer Celeste performing the soundtrack, ‘A Little Love’.
John Lewis is partnering with two charities this season: Fare Share, the food poverty charity that footballer Marcus Rashford has worked with, and Home-Start, which works with parents in need of support.
Over the years, John Lewis has introduced much-loved characters like Monty the Penguin and Edgar the dinosaur, and this year is no different with a hedgehog that dreams of flying and hip-hopping pigeons.
Very has launched a not-so-cliché and amusing Christmas campaign, created by advertising agency Grey London, which encourages viewers to love every festive moment of the season, instead of just the unoriginal, idyllic and sentimental scenes typically shown on TV.
From Christmas lights to trees that don’t fit, home-made costumes and giving presents to those all around, the Very advert celebrates it all in an honest and charming way. The 90 second advert ends with the line ‘Christmas is full of amazing moments. Christmas is this Very moment’.
Carly O’Brien, chief marketing officer at The Very Group, which operates Very, said “It’s great to see our new brand platform, ‘Life is this Very moment’, brought to life for Christmas with a truly uplifting campaign that we believe our customers can relate to.
“It’s honest, raw and captures what’s really special about the whole of the Christmas period, not just the day itself. It is a celebration of every single moment in the countdown to December 25th and it goes beyond the festive celebration, which we know might not be the same this year.”
Javier Campopiano, CCO Europe and creative chairman London at Grey, said: “It’s a different Christmas message, a message that offers the unfiltered point of view of someone who truly loves everything about Christmas, every single bit that makes it such a magical season. Not only is it different to what the brand and its customers have seen before, but we’re confident it’ll resonate right now, when we’re facing the prospect of a very different festive period.”
This year’s Argos Christmas advert is a reminder of the magic of Christmas, with a tribute to the Argos catalogue, every child’s ‘Book of Dreams’, which stopped printing this year after nearly 50 years.
The heart-warming advert shows two sisters transform into mini magicians as they perform for their family, complimented by Gary Barlow’s new, catchy single ‘Incredible’. The tricks include a mince pies, a smart watch, and even a dachshund, as the family is brought together to celebrate the most magical time of the year.
Rob Quartermain, senior campaign manager for Argos, said: “This Christmas families are looking for escapism after what has been a challenging year for so many. Our magic show highlights how a simple gift can make a special memory. As the tricks get bigger, Lucy and Daisy dream bigger and, as if by magic, we see more of their family enjoy the show with them.
“Argos is one of the UK’s biggest online retailers but the magical feeling of circling present ideas in the Christmas Gift Guide is something our customers love and sets us apart from everyone else. Whether you’re looking for inspiration on your mobile, tablet or in our ‘Book of Dreams’, Argos is the place that provides much needed Christmas magic.”
Featuring Dua Lipa’s track, ‘Levitating’, the Morrisons Christmas advert showcases family members celebrating together as key workers come home to festivities.
The 30 second clip, which ends with the tagline ‘Morrisons – Making Christmas Special’ rounds-up some of the favourite family moments of the year, from TikTok challenges to living room talent shows.
Alex Rogerson, marketing director at Morrisons, said: “This is a feel-good campaign with Dua Lipa’s upbeat music providing the backing track to our customers’ Christmas. It’s been a difficult year for customers and colleagues so we want to do our bit to make Christmas special for them.”
A part of LEGO’s Rebuild the World brand campaign, its Christmas advert journeys through a whimsical world of adventure created by families building and playing with LEGO. From princesses battling dragons, to grooms in space suits, the playful storyline reimagines ‘What a Wonderful World’ through the optimistic eyes of children.
Julia Goldin, CMO at the LEGO Group, said: “Our new campaign is a celebration of the creative power and optimism that children possess. We’ve seen so many families building together this year, giving parents a chance to experience and appreciate how children can build, unbuild and rebuild the world around them using LEGO bricks. We want to inspire people of all ages to play and unleash their creativity this Holiday season.”
Although we’ve anticipated the cancellation of many things this year, Amazon’s Christmas advert reminds us to not lose hope as the ‘show must go on’.
Set to an arrangement of Queen’s ‘The Show Must Go On’, the advert follows the story of a young ballet dancer (played by French ballet dancer Taïs Vinolo) whose star role performance is cancelled by the pandemic. Capturing the power of communities and support systems, as well as highlighting the struggle of many arts workers over the last year, the advert promotes DIY creativity, as an outdoor performance is created with the help of Amazon products and delivery.
- Pepsi Max
Slightly different this year, Pepsi Max has introduced grime and hip-hop to the Christmas advert line-up. The brand has partnered with artists, Kamakaze and TrueMendous, to produce the 20 second clip that offers a view of ‘Christmas refreshed’.
Santa’s sledge is replaced by a sound system, and a festive jumper transforms into a Pepsi jacket as the rappers argue ‘Traditional is so cliché’.
Encouraging viewers to refresh their old Christmas conventions, this advert reflects the idea that this year has been anything but conventional, and it’s time to refresh.
Foreshadowed by the Kevin the Carrot teaser, the official Aldi Christmas advert was released a week later following Kevin’s exciting adventures returning home for Christmas, with some help from Harry the Hedgehog.
Last year, Kevin the Carrot secured Aldi’s win of the most effective Christmas advert of 2019, according to data from research firm KAntar, with 33 million viewers. This year’s advert, created by ad agency McCann UK, continues with the nation’s favourite root vegetable, and ends with the narrator of Father Christmas, played by actor Jim Broadbent.
Sean McGinty, marketing director at Aldi UK, said: “We’re all thrilled to see Kevin back on our screens again, getting up to his usual tricks. Kevin’s popularity keeps on growing and this year, more so than any other, Kevin’s return to TV screens will come as a welcome relief for so many.”
Jim Broadbent commented that he was delighted to be involved with the advert yet again: “It is my great pleasure to step into Father Christmas’ shoes and bring the festive spirit to life for Aldi with my co-star Kevin the Carrot. I hope this campaign brings a little joy and magic to everyone this Christmas.”
One of the first to release its Christmas advert, Asda have focused on the cheer of Christmas amidst the pandemic, and the second lockdown. With the tagline, ‘the Christmas we all need, at the prices we want’, the ad hosts the return of Sunny and his family, and even his Scroogey neighbour.
Acknowledging that ‘Christmas is going to be different this year so let’s really make the most of it’, the advert showcases the reality of how small and homely, yet festive, Christmas will be this year, with the help of Asda’s scan and shop and delivery services. Set to the 1967 Christmas classic of Stevie Wonder’s ‘What Christmas Means to Me’, the advert features the supermarket’s festive range from vegan Bao Buns to Bruce the Brussel Sprout Cake.
Anna-Maree Shaw, chief customer officer at Asda, has said: “At ASDA, we know how important Christmas is for our customers, this year more than ever before. Christmas is going to be a little different for everyone, but through our ‘ASDA Price Christmas’ campaign, we want to reassure customers that everyone can have an extra special Christmas at the prices they want, which is why we’re keeping prices magically low. With great quality products at great value across food, drink & home, customers can make the most of the festivities without having to compromise.”
Eilidh Macaskill, VP creative and Media at ASDA, added: “We’re so excited the festive season is finally here, and can’t wait for our advert to hit TV screens. We loved working with Sunny and his family to bring our ASDA Price Christmas to life, showcasing the magic of Christmas at prices that all customers deserve.”
- TK Maxx
TK Maxx’s festive advert this year reminds viewers to treat themselves this year, as we all deserve it following in the midst of the pandemic. The star of the show is a little goat, which struts among the sheep wearing a designer outfit bought by a farmer, who, with a sentimental tone, justifies his purchase with ‘she’s had such a hard year. She bloomin’ well deserves it if you ask me’.
Narrated by Bill Nighy, the 30 second clip offers an optimistic tone, and a way for everyone to feel special this season.
This year’s Tesco advert has left viewers chuckling at the realities we’ve faced this year, from stocking up on toilet roll to at-home hair cuts. Supported by Britney Spears’ classic track, ‘Oops! I Did It Again’, the ‘No Naughty List’ advert absolves shoppers for their COVID-related mishaps and slip-ups of the year, and encourages them to indulge on seasonal treats this Christmas.
Humorous and realistic, the advert focuses on the shared experiences customers have faced, like not finishing the Happy Birthday tune while washing your hands, and even features a tribute to Captain Tom.
Sainsbury’s has released three adverts this year, brought to life through a combination of home-video-style footage and phone conversations between family members in the present day, as the nation continues to connect with each other from wherever they are.
Each of the three films, ‘Gravy Song’, ‘Perfect Portions’ and ‘Big Sarnie’, ends with the line ‘Food is Home. Home is Christmas’ – an ode to the power Christmas food has to transport us back to happy memories of moments shared with our families, whether apart or together.
Emma Bisley, head of broadcast marketing at Sainsbury’s, commented: “We know that this year has been different for everyone, so we wanted to take a different approach with our Christmas campaign by simply reminding people that Christmas dishes are gestures of love and care, served by up by those who matter most. It’s our memories of these dishes, prepared by the people we love, that have the power to transport us home – whether we’re there or not.
“It was important to us to focus on family connections and emotions, creating a relatable and heartfelt look at the memories Christmas brings, whilst providing a sense of optimism throughout. We hope everyone enjoys watching the collection and it takes them back to their fondest memories of food, home and Christmas.”