It’s that time of year again, folks. Well before actual Christmas should start, all the big names in retail roll out their Christmas TV ads.
The sneaky so-and-so’s are once again preying on your emotions to sell their wares. But rather than fashioning homemade tinfoil hats and pretending it’s not happening, we thought we’d embrace them this year and have a little watch just to see how they stack up.
So, without further ado, and in no particular order, here are our reviews of this year’s crop:
This won’t be in the Christmas TV ad hall of fame alongside the Bear and Hare from 2013 (2013?!) but it does the trick. The use of Christmas stalwarts like Santa’s Elves and upgrading the sleigh to a futuristic jet post van thing (called Rudolph) does a really solid job promoting Argos’ speedy delivery service.
6/10 The mild peril at whether the toy will make it doesn’t make up for the lack of feels
Snowy, Christmassy scenes? Check. Celeb cameo? Check. Plinky plonky music? Check. Re-imagining a folk tale for the modern age using them there hashtags? Check. Ok, looks like we’ve got ourselves a proper Christmas TV ad, people! Warning, you may experience goosebumps.
10/10 All the good feels and not overly sales-y
I know selling stuff is the main point behind TV ads, right? But the scene depicted in this Waitrose ad is about as believable as flying reinde… Um, it’s a bit far fetched. The concept of a snowed-in pub having all the necessary ingredients (all from Waitrose of course) to cook up a full Christmas dinner is a bit silly. Yawn.
3/10 only because it has a dog in it
Unless a load of “crowdsourced” normal people singing and rapping badly to a rubbish Christmas song is your thing, don’t bother hunting this one down. Not even guest appearances from Jim Royle or Kermit the Frog can save this one. Ugh.
1/10 just annoying, really
You’re probably aware of the “uproar” surrounding this one. Shock horror, there happens to be muslims in this advert! Blah blah. Honestly, who cares. I’m pretty sure it suggests a family of two daddies and a baby too. And that’s brill. Christmas is all about family – regardless of cultural differences, and this ad bigs up the joys, and challenges, of spending Christmas with the famalam. Nice one, Tesco.
8/10 just what we all need right now, spread the love, but a bit light on festive feels
“Beautifully Normal” is the title of Aldi’s ad. Well it’s certainly normal. Not much of note going on here. There are the obligatory happy families up to all sorts of japes and capers around the table but the attempt at a new take on the Christmas song just feels like it was made by a teen in their bedroom on their casio keyboard.
Makers of perhaps the most anticipated Christmas TV ad each year (first-world problems etc) and one of the “Big Two”, John Lewis have delivered their contender for 2017: Moz the Monster. And the verdict? Ok it’s cute. The concept of a friendly monster under the bed realising he’s keeping the kid awake and buying him a go-sleepy starry thing from John Lewis really makes you go “awwww”. And the song from Elbow is lovely too.
9/10 Cute and bang on brand but lacking a bit of Christmas emo’
The other of one the “Big Two”. Marks and Spencer’s 2017 offering features none other than Mr Paddington Bear of course. Now, admission: I have to say the whole Paddington Bear thing has passed me by, but this certainly stirs up the warm feels. I had to watch it a couple of times to understand “Santa” had nicked all the presents in the first place (what message does that send our whipper-snapper btw?!) but justice was restored in the end. Lovely, huggable bear justice.
8/10 Solid, but a bit disappointing considering the sob-fests of previous years
Even the hardest of hardmen would struggle to stifle a tear while watching this one. Although the gift being given is probably just one of those classic Boots 3 for 2 mix’n’match Christmas toiletry sets, this advert gently tugs at the old heartstrings, which all Christmas ads absolutely should.
7/10 I’m not crying, you’re crying
No real attempt here to play the Christmas TV ad emotion card and that’s fine I suppose, if your ad has something else like… oh wait. Unfortunately, not even the play on Charlie and the Chocolate factory theme kept my near-millennial short attention from drifting. My highlight? Near the start I thought “oooh it looks a bit Wes Anderson-y” but then was instantly disappointed. Sad face.
4/10 Not enough snow, Christmas feels or Wes Anderson
Who needs Moz the Monster or Paddington Bear when you’ve got… Kevin the Carrot. Hmm, ok. I’m not sure I get the whole “Christmas dinner on a steam train driven by Santa” concept either but I’ll let it go, because to be fair this is a cute little ad with a nice rhyming narration that makes it feel all fuzzy like a Christmas story.
6/10 A bit random but at least they’re trying
So there you go! There’s no stand out Christmas Cracker this year, instead we reckon Debenhams just beat John Lewis to the top spot on FPS (feels-per-second) ratio.
And, as for Sainsbury’s? What were you thinking?!