December is well and truly upon us. With enthusiasm dropping, Amazon orders rising, and just a smidge more alcohol content, it is really beginning to feel like Christmas.
We all have fear struck into our hearts when we first hear the haunting Coca-Cola’s “Holidays are coming”. Surely not yet?! We cry. But despite our silent wish, this blessed holiday season is here again. And so begins the latest annual tradition; watching the new Christmas ads.
This year has rolled in some of the most discussed, diverse and even controversial ads yet. With thousands of companies now pumping more money into producing the Best Christmas Advert Ever, it’s no longer just the big brands dominating this new TV category.
Here is my list, of the top 5 Christmas adverts 2018 has to offer
5. John Lewis
Of course! The one who started it all. We couldn’t say Christmas ad without saying John Lewis.
Over the years JL has produced some brilliant adverts, whether it’s a personified snowman, an anthropomorphic penguin or maybe just a man on the moon, they will always melt your heart.
This year was no exception. Paired with Sir Elton John himself, they take us down memory lane of his beloved career, right back to the Christmas gift that started it all – his very first piano.
While the advert itself is beautifully shot, and equally as charming, it’s JL’s partner Waitrose’s response advert where the genius comes in. For the first time, they produced an advert to go alongside the delightful Elton John Lewis show. The advert consists of a family so eager to eat their Christmas dessert that they fast forward through John Lewis’s own advert – it was just too good to wait!
Another heartfelt advert made this year was intu’s Impossible Gift ad. Based on a duck, who’s Christmas wish is to fly, he is then given a set of pilot goggles for Christmas plus a drone to sit on a fly alongside his older brothers and sisters – sweet enough.
However, the thing that makes this advert number 4 on my list is that the entire thing is stop motion. With 4 set changes, 2 main characters and incredible attention to detail; a lot of time, effort and skill has gone into the 30 second ad. Overall a sweet sentiment, made better by its lovely execution.
In third place is Apple’s Share Your Gifts advert. With this, another animation, we see the story of a young adult, shy about sharing their artwork with the world. Throughout the ad we get teased with the amazing artwork they make until their work is unexpectedly swept up with the wind and blown around town to be seen by the public outside.
The great thing about this advert is the realistic main character; she’s fairly gender neutral, with her own imperfections and ticks that we can all relate to as well as the anxiety of sharing our own art. With hidden Easter eggs, a combination of CGI and physical set design, a stylish and unique animation is made.
The ad does a great job of putting the product right in front of our faces without shoving it down our throats and the subtle message reminds us all of the creative possibilities we have – how cute!
Kids in oversized costumes, a catchy song, way too may pyrotechnics and some proud parents – the recipe for the perfect Christmas ad, right?
Sainsbury’s created a classic cheery Nativity-style kid’s school play advert with a new version of the absolute banger You Get What You Give sung by a girl dressed as the north star.
The advert is adorable and fun to watch, sure, but the real star of the show (pun intended) was the kid dressed as a plug that threw himself into a giant socket to switch on a line of kids dressed as Christmas lights – what a performance! As you’d expect, the internet went mad for this one little clip and is still hilarious every time I watch it.
An honorable mention
Before we announce number one, has to be Iceland’s Palm Oil awareness ad. The “too political for TV” animation discusses the issues of deforestation to produce palm oil products through a poem read by Emma Thompson.
It features a young girl with an Orangutan in her bedroom due to humans being in her forest. All though a serious topic, especially for a Christmas ad, it is an important one as the seasonal shopping increases. Although pulled from being shown on TV, the ad was posted to YouTube with almost six million views and lots of press coverage, it got the attention and awareness it deserved.
Not necessarily an obvious choice for my number one spot, but Visa’s #KeepItLocalThisChristmas ad melts my heart every time. With a Mariah Carey classic as the soundtrack, it’s bound to be a hit.
A variety of different local shopkeepers, from butchers to bookshops, sing along to the Mariah song – as everyone would. They sing for the viewers to not shop at the big corporate brands this winter, but support our local high street instead – “all I want for Christmas is you”.
A short innocent ad that reminds us all of the little guy is a lovely message this Christmas. The ad itself is filled with cringey slightly-out-of-time, off-key singing but we can let that slide because the sweet simple sentiment is just too adorable to ignore.
Happy ad watching and Merry Christmas!
Written For the Prism Team by Katie Thomas