Here’s a shock: Christmas is happening again this year. How do I know? Well, apart from the fact that my local Co-Op is selling Snow Bites again (yeeees!), my TV screen is also twinkling with Christmas adverts promising me all manner of snow-flecked offerings. But do the Christmas ads make you want to buy their products and leave you tingling with Christmas anticipation? Let’s take a closer look…
John Lewis – The Bear & The Hare
After last year’s schmaltzfest featuring a small child counting down the hours so he could give his parents their gift rather than the other way around (uh-huh), this year John Lewis has bet the house on animated animals. The premise is that Hare is quick and Bear is going to get a Christmas he’ll never forget featuring a big tree and an alarm clock, or something.
As festive ads go this has the cutesy factor with floppy-eared jackrabbits promising to leave you feeling gooey if you’re that way inclined. On the downside, it doesn’t feature any products to buy and it has Lily Allen chirruping Keane’s Somewhere Only We Know in a gaspy fashion like she might expire at any moment.
Christmas Tingle Test: 6/10
Marks & Spencer – Magic & Sparkle
Unlike John Lewis, M&S have put humans and products front & centre in their ad featuring cascades of snow, no little sparkle and an abundance of fairytales. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Helena Bonham-Carter star alongside M&S’s range of shoes & clothing – fashion meets fantasy brought to life. Plus, there’s an ickle doggy involved that you have a chance of naming via Twitter – melty!
M&S have created an ad which feels creamily deluxe, awash with sumptuous settings and chiselled cheekbones – this is a fairytale you’ll want to climb into. Plus, after watching it for a second time I fancied a mince pie which makes this a winner.
Christmas Tingle Test: 8/10
Boots – Let’s Make The People That Make Us Feel Good, Feel Good
Boots‘ strategy this year – apart from having an over-wordy tagline – is to show a moody yoof running around town doing his Santa impression, dropping off presents to those who’ve influenced his life. So he visits the newsagent who gave him his first job; the fittest girl in year ten; the carer who looked after his nan.
Of course none of this is at all believable because it’s snowing outside and we all know that a teenage boy wouldn’t actually move from playing FIFA for love nor money. However, inadvertently Boots have created an edgy modern-day fairytale ably backed up by the spectacularly unfestive Bronski Beat classic Smalltown Boy. Bravo.
Christmas Tingle Test: 7/10
TK Maxx – The Moment
TK Maxx’s Christmas ad also shows no actual gifts, choosing to focus more on the reactions that the perfect gift can conjure. So we glide through a montage of people’s faces looking down, then looking up with wonder as they open their three-pack of Pringle pants and utter: “It’s incredible!” You see that telltale glint in their eye? That’s not a tear of joy, that’s their soul weeping at your shit gift.
Christmas Tingle Test: 5/10
Lidl – All These Lidl Things
A Lidl Christmas Magic says the tagline for this campaign – see what they did there? Lidl have lifted a 1D song to appeal to da kidz, not warbled by the fab five but instead sung by Kendric who makes it all breathy and pouty. Plus, instead of wrapping up presents Lidl wraps up food (it’s that or 30-denier tights having visited a store recently), and the ad shows people delighted when they open up a packet of brussel sprouts or a tub cocktail sausages. Please note: this will not actually work in real life.
Christmas Tingle Verdict: 5/10
Iceland – Jingle Bells
Despite having watched the recent Iceland documentary and witnessed the moronic ways of its founder Malcolm Walker, I still have a soft spot for Iceland. Their ad team have got it spot-on this time round with Kerry Katona banished to the broom cupboard in favour of a snow-dappled log cabin soiree with Michael Buble singing, prawns toasts running riot and kids looking cute just before they vomit up the Raspberry Eton Mess cake. It feels like you’re invited to Iceland’s very own Christmas love-in which will only make visiting your local store that bit more disappointing, but that’s life.
Christmas Tingle Verdict: 8/10