Back in the run-up to Christmas 2012 we featured a plug from the producers of a new documentary that was going to be called “Christmas In A Day”. They invited people from across the country to submit videos of how they spent their Christmas that year, and they’d be compiled into one 48-minute long film which would be shown in selected cinemas in the run-up to Christmas 2013. Sainsburys co-opted it, and used a record-breaking 3.5 minute trailer as their Christmas advert for 2013. A courageous decision - especially as lots of competitors’ products were on show in the background - but showed off the full range of humanity that’s on show during the season. Delightful, touching, and introduced to the world the concept of the “Christmas Spreadsheet”. The final scene in the ad rounds it off very nicely and would make even the sternest Scrooge begin to blub.
We’re into the truly special ads now, and this is the first viral to make it into The 12 Ads Of Christmas. We all know Coca Cola from their traditional Christmas trucks ads, and one of them makes a cameo here as it drops off a Coke machine in the middle of a town square offering passers by free bottles of drink, only there’s a twist. There’s a screen on the booth featuring two buttons: “Free Coke For You”, and “Share the Good”. In the beginning everyone goes for their free Coke, but then someone tries the other button.
A red helium balloon carrying a gift is released from the top of the machine and floats high in the air, eventually landing to “share the good” with a random person who opens the gift to find a Christmas tree decoration. A truly lovely stunt, and perfect viral video material.
Morrisons take note: this is how you do a satirical Christmas ad without depressing a nation! KFC took all the Christmas cliches, turned them all on their head, and then set them to song in an out-and-out classicly silly advert. Running to an epic two and a half minutes, this musical number pairs startling visuals with lyrics which ruthlessly sends up both itself and festive schmaltz in a seemingly never-ending advert. Browsing through the reactions on Twitter during its first showing showed a combination of hilarity and a genuine sense of “what the flip was that?!” as the ad carried on, and on, and on.
KFC won the annual crown of media-bubble-fuelled outrage with their gentle dig at carol singers - apparently that meant that KFC hated Christians! Well, someone had to generate a few meaningless newspaper stories, and this year it was KFC’s turn.
There was also a competition for a viewer to use the ad to resolve their differences with someone, and that culminated in a one-minute ad during that year’s X Factor final with “A Song For Sheena” as two friends try to patch things up before going off to Australia. Marvelously stunty, and a brilliant ad campaign from a company that usually shies away from the festivities.