It’s been a year of global pandemic and for many of us it was not the most funniest things going around, but surprisingly we believe that everything can be changed soon with a hope and pray. The Christmas of 2020 will be different, but in the same moment brings us an understanding, belief and a bit of discipline.
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This time every year there’s always huge anticipation around this epic advertising engagement. The bulky brands like John Lewis, TK Maxx, Boots, Amazon, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and Argos tend to launch big-budget campaigns to celebrate the festive season. But the cash spending this year isn’t overloaded, the pandemic will have some impact, but this don’t means the smaller Christmas feeling for all of us.
In fact, UK advertisers are forecast to spend £724m less than last year, which is a 10.5% fall. Some brands cautious for their budged and Covid-19 get’s out from their straight way, so less luxury to go big this time arround?
As always, some are good fun; We thought we’d ask some of the brightest minds in the advertising industry to reveal how they feel about the winners and the losers of Christmas ads for 2020. But first, let’s remind ourselves of some of this year’s contributions.
Amazon’s the Show Must Go On
Amazon’s Christmas story is a stunning and charming of a young ballerina whose dream show is cancelled due to the pandemic and how it doesn’t dampen her spirits.
Created by Lucky Generals, it features 17-year-old French ballet dancer, Taïs Vinolo, who in real life has also been encountered by Covid-19 but has continued to train and perform. As the ad’s description reads: “In a year of twists and turns, not much has gone to plan in 2020. But, with some grit, determination and perseverance anything is possible.” Her routine, dancing wherever she can, all set to a rendition of Queen’s The Show Must Go On!
Aldi – Kevin the Carrot
As taken the highly popularity last year ‘Kevin the Carrot’ returns for Aldi’s Christmas spot, backed with the soundtrack from some of our favourite movies, Home Alone and Pirates of the Caribbean, as well as a charming tribute to ET.
Created once again by McCann, we see a Kevin going through many adventures, trying to get back home in time to be with his family in splendid Christmas time. Will he reach home?
Asda – That’s an Asda Price Christmas
Asda was one of the first major retailers to launch its Christmas ad this year. Created by AMV BBDO, the spot centres around giving customers “the Christmas they need at the prices they want”.
It features Sunny and his family, making the most of a difficult situation; “Christmas is going to be different this year so let’s really make the most of it”.
Argos – The Evening with AbracaDaisy & The Incredible Lucy
Created yet again by The&Partnership, the notice taps into the nostalgia that so many people can identify with, eagerly looking through the Argos Christmas gift guide and dreaming of opening their most wished-for gifts on Christmas Day. In the campaign, Argos brings this dream to life when two sisters spot a simple box of magic tricks and are transported to their very own magnificent magic show.
Boots – What the World Needs Now
It was created by Emma Parkinson, Solomon Bednall-Greaves, Nicola Wood and Andy Forrest, and directed by Silence Aitken-Till via Curate Films. Part of the campaign is that Boots will provide hygiene essentials to millions of people in the UK living in hygiene poverty, by donating £1m worth of products to The Hygiene Bank.
The love and care for others is what’s needed the most right now. It stars soap, bath scrubs and toothpaste that come to life to sing a rendition of Burt Bacharach’s What the World Needs Now is Love by British artist Rachel Chinouriri.
Marks & Spencer – This is M&S Christmas Food
Grey London is behind Marks & Spencer’s Christmas campaign for 2020, taking us back to the glorious “food porn” days of M&S that we all love to tease. The retailer has teamed up with nine celebrities to offer their sultry voices to various food ads, with one being released each week on the run-up to the Christmas period.
The first spot features the voice of Olivia Coleman, who tells us more about the ‘Light Globe Gin Liqueur’ with “edible gold leaf” and M&S’s best-ever smoked salmon. Our mouths are already watering.
Sainsbury’s Gravy Song
In a year when Christmas feels more doubtful yet more needed than ever, the collection of nostalgic adverts aims to celebrate culinary memories with loved ones and transport us through time by centring around three personal stories of modern British families and their connection to Christmas food. It’s another one to be created by Wieden+Kennedy.
The Sainsbury introduce the Gravy Song, the first of three Christmas ads. Now we can’t stop thinking about gravy. Or singing about gravy!
Tesco – The Noughty List
Directed by Raine Allen-Miller from Somesuch and developed by BBH, Tesco’s festive offering this year absolves us of our sins by saying, “After a year like this, we believe there is no naughty list. So go on Britain, treat yourself to the best Christmas ever”.
We see a few characters admit they bought too many loo rolls. While others confess to poor video call etiquette. But the supermarket tells us to indulge anyway, as we “deserve it”. It’s a insolent, fun spot all backed by one of Britney Spears’ classics, Oops I Did It Again.
TK Maxx Xmas 2020 – The Lil’ Goat
TK Maxx brings to life its “everyone deserves to feel special” message in its Christmas campaign from Wieden+Kennedy. Directed by Matthijs van Heijningen, the 30-second spot is voiced by esteemed British actor and voice of TK Maxx ads for the past four years, Bill Nighy. The infectious ad soundtrack, The Game Remix, is from Gabriel Garzon Montano, feat. Junglepussy, Seb remix.
Watching the story unfold, we’re immediately greeted by campaign protagonist Lil’ Goat in the opening shot, her farm-owners watching on as she struts across the snowy landscape to the beat, decked from head-to-toe in an enviably stylish designer outfit. When Susan questions Gary, “Did you buy the goat, a designer outfit?” Gary, instead of conforming to the stoic farmer type, looks on tenderly with a tear in his eye and replies, replies proudly, “Yes, she’s had such a hard year. She bloomin’ well deserves it if you ask me”.
Join the Lil’ Goat as she struts her fabulous fashion stuff in the snow, looked on adoringly by her proud parents, who bought her these wonderful gifts. How festive. Big Love at Small Prices – this Christmas at TK Maxx.
Waitrose & John Lewis – Give a Little Love
Inspired by the kindness we saw throughout the pandemic, the Waitrose and John Lewis advert was created by advertising agency adam&eveDDB, and isn’t just a celebration of different forms of moving art – from animation and claymation to CGI and cinematography – it’s made up of nine different vignettes created by eight different artists who are leading experts in their particular art, including Chris Hopewell, who has created music videos for Radiohead and Franz Ferdinand, and French animator Sylvain Chomet.
“We believe that the world would be a better place if we all gave a little more love”. Love has a positive impact on the world around us, as we pass them on to others.
“Be it in person, over an awkward video call, or just a quick message, making time for the ones you love is what makes Christmas truly the most special time of year, no matter how you do it”.
Rik Moore from The Kite Factory, has nothing but positive feedback: “It is a resounding yay. I think, given all the Covid-related challenges the creative industry has faced this year, it is an even greater triumph that there are so many strong ads this year. It’s a great showcase for how creativity can overcome barriers.”
Andre (Dede) Laurentino of Ogilvy UK agrees: “This year, it’s the calendar and the miserable weather which tell us Christmas is coming. They aren’t the jolliest of emissaries. This time around, no merry street decorations, no shop windows with blithe blinking lights and no musical chimes are filling the crisp November air. One of the few traditions to be kept alive in such a heavily choreographed time of the year is the Christmas ads. Bless them”.
So, yay! Someone had to carry the Christmas feeling mantle. Who knew that in this rising age of brand experience this job would fall upon the ad?
Richard Exon, founder and CEO at Joint says aside from the odd stinker, 2020 has been a bumper year for festive ads. “Long gone are the days when high street retailers had December to themselves. So the range and variety of what’s on show today means there’s something for everyone.
As for the best Christmas ad for 2020? “I think Tesco’s No Naughty List ad is particularly strong,” says Rik Moore. “They’ve taken the decision to address the elephant in the room, and put coronavirus at the heart of the ad, but done so in a way that is different, genuinely funny and still feels very festive.”
Nevertheless, Andre does pick out some winners: “Coca-Cola has done an amazing job this year. McDonald’s is tender (if only a tad too sad when we all could do with a bit of cheering up). John Lewis is always the one to beat and has to compete with its own previous successes, which is hard (sometimes too hard). Boots, our client, was in the eye of the Covid-19 storm this year and the entire company stepped up with their ‘Prescribe Kindness’ message, which continues during Christmas.”
The one that comes from a brand you weren’t quite expecting. “This year it’s Burberry’s breathless burst through a London street with its utterly fresh take on magic realism. If you haven’t seen it, do. You won’t forget it.
“God knows it’s hard getting to great work and when you witness it in any category, especially at Christmas, it’s amazing how often great ads share the same essential qualities. Always assumptive, they show they don’t tell. They make us feel something, not just think something. Maybe it’s easier with fashion, maybe it’s easier with luxury. But it’s still a big bold idea that took courage to green-light. In a strong year, Burberry’s the one that caught me by surprise.”
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