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Christmas Ads: the 2018 winners and losers

14 Dec 2018

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Yes, it is the ATTAIN Christmas ad review and what a gift 2018’s offerings have been.

Brands are now in a crowded marketplace where it is hard to stand out from the evergreen and ever-present “Holidays Are Coming” Coca-Cola truck and the plethora of cute animals modelling the true spirit of Christmas to an unfeasibly attractive, yet somehow relatable, family.

So, have any of the big brands managed to pull off a total cracker this Christmas?

Best Cross Brand promotion This year John Lewis went big on nostalgia and celebrity with Elton John reminiscing about the one present you remember for the rest of your life. Star power but not quite the usual iconic market leader we are used to. However, what happened next was. Waitrose, part of the John Lewis family, played a blinder with their Too Good To Wait – Fast Forward concept. A daughter is excited to watch the big moment of the first airing of a TV Christmas ad (feels a LITTLE self-reverential, ad makers) and the Elton John Lewis’s piano retrospective begins only for the parents to pick up the remote and fast forward because they can’t wait to get on with the next programme and their Waitrose desserts. Cue lots of “OMGs” and “I can’t believe Waitrose dissed JL like that” all over social media. What a brilliantly constructed joint campaign.

Most gifable moment Sainsbury’s #plugLife – a riff on the standard school Christmas production motif. Tremendous for the two seconds where a child dressed as a plug (you know, when they have run out of donkey or angel roles) launches themselves into a socket. Impossible to stop watching on repeat and shared on social media relentlessly.

Best use of Social Marks and Spencer acknowledge Sainbury’s plug genius. The bright sparks at Marks and Sparks tweeted: “Thanks for the help with the Christmas lights @sainsburys #pluglife#musthavelights #givealittlelove.” after inserting the gif as Holly Willoughby plugged in lights under the M&S tree. Extra big Christmas bonus for this agile PR response, piggybacking on the popularity of the flying plugchild.

Brilliant brand reposition Iceland’s ‘banned’ ad about the danger of palm oil to orangutans. The controversy was the best thing that happened to the ad. It created a huge online buzz spilling over into mainstream media reports. Social sharing stretched from 3million-plus YouTube views to more than 30 million. Way to slash media ad buy budget and attract a new audience of buyers to a brand they may have hitherto ignored!

Best Homage to the Christmas ad An American called John Lewis, who is @JohnLewis on Twitter, receives around 50,000 tweets from people who incorrectly think they are contacting the department store. Lewis’ hilarious but patient responses, accompanied by #NotARetailStore, have made him an internet phenomenon. So Twitter rewarded him with a starring role in their own Christmas advert. Christmas ads are now memes for other Christmas ads. What could be more 2018?

Have yourself a merry little Christmas and if you are looking for a brand review, refresh or redesign, add ATTAIN to your Christmas list. Our creative team will work with you to create a brand you will be proud of. Get in touch today.

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