Sainsburys are back with their second three-and-a-half minute advert - last year’s was the tie-up with the “Christmas In A Day” documentary. This time around they got together with the British Legion to mark the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War, and reenacting the legendary Christmas Truce that is reported to have happened along short stretches of the front lines in No Man’s Land. It’s a sentimental tale that is well told, and the only Sainsburys product in sight was a new charity chocolate bar.
The advert was highly controversial at the time - some said that the war should not have been exploited for commercial gain, whilst others claimed that reducing an iconic memory from the worst of times to an advert for a chocolate bar was in bad taste. Considering that Sainsburys worked closely with the British Legion, we’re prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt. This epic advert is a fine example of storytelling that also tugs at our heart-strings - we’re hoping that Sainsburys have another epic advert up their sleeves for this year.
The Coca Cola Trucks Christmas advert was once the starting pistol to the official Christmas run-up in the UK, but now John Lewis have firmly reclaimed that honour for the British with their Christmas adverts heavily trailed and anticipated across the country. The fact that their ad usually appears a few days before the first bars of “Holidays Are Coming” are heard from your television set helped greatly to accomplish the closest thing that comes to a festive coup attempt.
After the slight misfire of “The Bear And The Hare”, “Monty The Penguin” brought us firmly back into the realm of the humans - with the addition of a computer-generated penguin named Monty. He swims, he slides down snow-covered hills, he plays hide-and-seek and helps with decorating the tree. He’s a little boy’s best friend, but is realising that he needs more - he needs a love of his own.
The little boy cottons on to this, and has a surprise lined up for him on Christmas morning. The twist at the end gives the viewer a suckerpunch that comes straight out of nowhere.
But yet again John Lewis missed out on the 12 Ads Of Christmas top spot, pipped by something even better...
So, before the Christmas Run-up of 2014, what were your thoughts about Paul McCartney and the Frog Chorus’ “We All Stand Together”? You know the one - pom, pom-pom… Chances are they were similar to ours - it was childish, cringe-worthy, and well-deserving of the song’s regular appearances in the “20/30/50/100 Worst/Cheesiest/So-Bad-It’s-Good Songs Of All Time” compilation shows that keep getting shown on the dedicated music channels.
And then this beautifully wondrous advert appeared, and everything changed.
We absolutely adored this advert, featuring a team of children hiding within Debenhams’ massive store until closing time. Once everyone had gone home, they emerged to have a store-wide Christmas present hunt whilst trying out the various things which were on sale. The plotting, the staging, even the camera angles really gave the impression of the size of the task at hand and the wonder from a child’s point of view as one-by-one each present was discovered. Together with an imaginative reworking of “We All Stand Together”, how could we not hand this advert the number one spot?
Debenhams have pulled off a double coup - not only winning the 12 Ads Of Christmas 2014, but also making the Frog Chorus cool again!
So, how do we feel about 2015? It’s a James Bond movie year, so we may have to prepare ourselves for a weaker season as the brands divide up their marketing budget between Bond tie-ins and Christmas - will we be returning to shorter adverts, or is there enough money available to cover both well? Hopefully it will be a stronger year than 2012 as that had the London 2012 Olympics also thrown into the mix, soaking up a good proportion of the ad budgets. Stay tuned to Christmas UK to find out…