2014 Christmas Ads - A Very Serious Review

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It's that time of year again. Mid-November is officially Christmas Advert Time. I don't own a TV, but that doesn't really matter any more. John Lewis's latest Christmas was promoted on YouTube and had the crap Tweeted out of it before anyone had even had the chance to officially announce the start of Christmas following the standard witnessing of the Coca Cola Trucks.

So, now that the glorious sound of 'holidays are coming' has been usurped by twee animated creatures and acoustic cover songs, I feel I should don my advertising hat and finally watch the damn thing, along with all the others, including the Sainsbury's one everyone is sobbing over.

Please note: I studied advertising for three years, so my opinion is incredibly valid and important, and this is first time I will be watching all of these. Enjoy!

Waitrose

Oh my god, someone has made an advert about me. If we had been rich enough to shop at Waitrose when I was twelve, that would have been me. She has my hair. She has a cool hat. She hates school. She hates everything. Her classmates probably make fun of her hat. Bastards. But she reluctantly agrees to make gingerbread for the school fete, perseveres through the burnt biscuits and idiot dog, and finally realises that it's all worth it in the end, that baking for your ungrateful classmates is a good way to get revenge. I'm assuming she's laced them with rat poison. She even gives the leftovers to the shop assistant - Where will her reign of terror end? It's like a Christmas versions of Carrie. I love it. 8/10

Marks & Spencer

Ah, is this the #FollowTheFairies thing that Twitter kept shoving into my feed? That was annoying. And those fairies are equally annoying. They seem to just be going around town judging everyone. "Hey, Mister! Your present is shit! Give your girlfriend a bra instead! Who cares if she wanted an alarm clock." "Hey, losers! Your clothes suck, have these sparkly M&S dresses and clutch bags, they're really impractical!" "Kids! Stop enjoying that movie in silence! Go outside in the freezing cold like the paupers you are!". Bitches. 3/10

Sainsbury's

That was pretty great. I actually have a tear in my eye. It also features the only thing I remember learning about World War I at school, apart from trenchfoot, which is nice. Don't know what it has to do with Sainsbury's since they've never in my recollection ever used a tagline about 'sharing', but I can imagine how the meeting at the ad agency went.

"We want to make people cry harder than John Lewis." "Right, how about something with war heros?" "Sure." "Brilliant. We'll say something about caring or sharing or some bollocks. That'll be a million pounds please."

Regardless, it's lovely. 9/10

Morrisons

Disappointingly, there's no Morrison's Christmas ad on YouTube. I was sure they made one with Ant and Dec in it... Oh well.

Tesco

Not going to lie, I hate Tesco. Their staff are always incredibly rude and the store near me doesn't sell individual sweet potatoes. I love Christmas lights though, and this ad has loads of them. I'm so conflicted. Also, I can't figure out what the music is. I know what it is, but I can't think of the name. Googled it - nothing. Overall, very average and frustrating. Plus, I hate Tesco. 2/10

However, I decided to be a rebel and click the "see the full light show" link at the end. They should have made this the advert, no question. There's a giant Santa doing a guitar solo. 8/10

Aldi

Well, that was kind of nice. Lots of families eating lots of nice looking food. There's even a guy eating mince pies whilst floating around in space. That would never happen, but it's cute. The lonely old woman kind of made me sad. Why is she alone? Where is her family? But she looks happy, so maybe she doesn't like them and is enjoying eating all that food and getting shitfaced on her own. Who am I to judge? Wait. WAIT. That's JOOLS HOLLAND. Where did he come from? WAIT... were all the other people famous too? *Googles*. Nope. Normal people. That's weird. Still, not bad. And well done Aldi for getting Jools Holland on there. 6/10

John Lewis

I promised myself I wouldn't watch this out of spite, but here we go...

Okay, that was pretty fucking adorable. Did it make me cry? No. I did laugh when he grabbed the fish finger though, that was cute. And when he was pecking at the fish on the duvet cover I was all like "Awwwww!" As someone who had a lot of stuffed toys, many of them with spouses and matching names, this is right up my street. Based on the ad alone, I think this is great, but I do hate the way John Lewis have made their ads into a 'thing' by releasing loads of penguin merchandise. Still, I'm going to give this the same as Sainsbury's. 9/10

Debenhams

Oh look! A shop! Filled with products! Things we can actually buy! Strangely, that's something that has been glaringly absent so far... (Waitrose being a slight exception). Pretty forgettable though. If they'd wanted a big furore, they should have had a little boy dressing up in heels with a handbag over his shoulder. Guaranteed instant coverage in every news outlet. Debenhams, if you need help next year, give me a call. 5/10

Argos

What. Was. That? When I think of Christmas, things that do not immediately spring to mind include Run DMC, breakdancing, creepy disembodied hands and rip-offs of the Little Less Conversation video. There was snow, fine. And products, yay. But I just feel like it's trying too hard to be cool and edgy and un-Christmassy to make some kind of point. I admit, I don't really understand Argos. I only go there when I need an emergency household item. The last 3 things I bought in Argos were a waffle maker (it was an emergency, trust me), an electric fan heater and a set of saucepans. I just don't associate them with Christmas gifts, and maybe they don't either? Sorry Argos. 1/10

Boots

Last one!

I did not know where that was going, but wow, that was so much better than I was expecting. Yay for nurses! I'm glad I left this one til last, I think it's brilliant and totally underrated. I've not heard anyone talk about it at all, but I genuinely think it's up there with the Sainbury's and John Lewis ones. Okay, it doesn't have a big budget or fancy animations or a particularly well-known soundtrack, but it is so incredibly touching. So many people work hard on Christmas day to keep the country ticking over, and Boots celebrating them is just wonderful. No snark here. 10/10

To summarise, the raging debate about which is better - John Lewis or Sainsbury's - is defunct, because Boots wins hands down. Next year guys, think of a good hashtag or raise money for the NHS or something, you'll get a lot more publicity.

And finally, for those traditionalists out there, please join me in basking in the warm glow of the full two-minute version of the best Christmas advert that has ever been and ever will be...

Marketing, ThoughtsKate4 Comments