Ahh, Christmas! The smell of mince pies! The promise of snow underfoot! Permission to drink unlimited quantities of mulled wine (because all the alcohol has been boiled out, right? Right??)! It’s all just so bloomin’ exciting! But for me, and for most of my generation, Christmas doesn’t truly start until Coca Cola tell us that yes! Holidays Are Coming! – with the iconic Christmas trucks ad that has been gracing our screens for the past 19 years.
It’s amazing quite how integral TV ads have become to our collective Christmas experience. And every year the bar is raised ever higher with ever increasing ambition, scale and bravery.
John Lewis, who truly started making Christmas a national TV event in 2011 when they reduced the nation to tears with its seminal For Gifts You Can’t Wait To Give campaign, have continued to up the ante ever since and this year brought us quite a remarkable piece of CGI in the form of a lovelorn penguin – delivering us an incredibly touching view of the world through a child’s eyes. Monty has inevitably given rise to whole host of rather marvellous spoofs , that have been whizzing around the internet and, in an unexpected twist for McVitie’s, sent sales of Penguin bars soaring.
John Lewis is such an ingrained Christmas moment, it makes the fact that they did not even start advertising on TV until 2007 all the more remarkable.
After John Lewis broke followed an action packed weekend that saw break after break filled with every angle on Christmas you can think of. From Marks and Spencer’s Christmas Fairies spreading acts of kindness around the country via a fairy operated twitter account to Boots’ making your loved ones feel special, 2015’s Christmas adverts have definitely been a bumper crop.
And then Sainsburys landed. As is traditional for the retailer, they waited until after Armistice Day before launching their Christmas campaign, a strategy that felt particularly poignant given the creative execution which, in conjunction with the Royal British Legion, delivered us a beautifully shot and thought provoking piece of copy based on the brief Christmas Day truce in which opposing soldiers emerged from their trenches to share gifts and a game of football. Social media went wild and You Tube views are nearing 10 million.
Inevitably, the high profile ads, generating endless column inches and discussion, has led rise to debate as to who ‘wins’ Christmas. But there are no losers here. Every year, every big seasonal brand has to pull it out of the bag and deliver us an emotional punch following months and months of planning and millions and millions of pounds of investment. And I’m glad they do. Because, along with the Coca Cola trucks ad, all the Christmas adverts infiltrate our every day and without them, everything would feel an awful lot less, well, Christmassy. And that folks, means less mulled wine for us all.
Written by Becky Smithson, Broadcast Planning Director.