Christmas Marketing Roundup 2019: Part 3

We continue our journey through the weird and wonderful world of 2019’s Christmas ads! Our design and digital agency in Bradford has thoroughly enjoyed our advertising odyssey, and we hope you have as well. If you missed out on our earlier roundups, you can read Part 1 and Part 2 right now.

John Lewis’ Excitable Edgar

Well, it’s finally here—the event we’ve all been waiting for. John Lewis have unveiled their hotly-anticipated Christmas advert; this year, it stars a dragon that enjoys the Christmas season a bit too much. Can his friend reconcile the differences between Edgar and the other villagers?

Edgar’s arrival is accompanied by a range of merchandise, including slippers, wellington boots, glow-in-the-dark pyjamas and—of course—a cuddly toy. The advert has also received very positive reception online, with some fans comparing it to hit TV show Game of Thrones.

At the same time, the businesses advertised have been struggling in recent months. Waitrose has been forced to close seven stores, with some being sold to rising star Lidl. John Lewis has also had to axe a number of head office management roles; both businesses are now run by a single team to save cash.

General reception to the ad seems positive, although it polarised the team at our design and digital agency in Bradford! For now, though, the John Lewis ad remains a beloved event in British culture. Whether that’s enough to attract enough business going forward is a question we’d love an answer to.

Very’s Neighbourhood Watch

Online retailer Very has kept things a little simpler, with a show of neighbourly affection. It shows a series of people working together to create a gift for their elderly neighbour; according to House Beautiful, each character has appeared in a previous Very advert. Its focus on giving presents and spending time with the elderly is sure to win it a few fans.

Although it’s not quite as elaborate as some other ads this year, Very’s effort gets the message across in a succinct, effective manner. We’re quite keen to go back and spot all the characters in Very’s other ads now. Depending on who you ask, John Lewis could have some competition.

Anzara’s Simple Love Story

Video production company Anzara aren’t on many people’s radars. However, this year they’ve turned a few heads with their Christmas ad about a long-distance relationship.

The advert—which sees a gay couple communicating over several months—is the work of filmmaker Phil Beastall. Phil gained acclaim last year for a festive short film with a £50 budget. Both films have a very naturalistic tone, which stands out against other companies’ more fantastical efforts.

The Independent has reacted very favourably to the advert, and shared similarly positive reactions from other viewers. Beyond the flashy, high-profile efforts of the major retailers, it seems there are some smaller gems worth seeking out.

Tesco Goes Back to the Future

Tesco is another company celebrating an anniversary this year—100 years of business! The business first appeared in Hackney back in 1919, though the Tesco name would take another five years to show up. In honour of this milestone, Tesco takes a whistle-stop tour through a century of British history.

Featuring references to Winston Churchill, hit game show Bullseye and a certain Michael J. Fox movie, it’s a nostalgic encapsulation of our shared past. Tesco have even parked one of their delivery vans atop a cottage in Tatton Park to promote the ad, in an impressive bit of real world advertising.

The Guardian reports the ad is an effort to gain goodwill on social media in the run up to key trading periods. We’re inclined to agree with that, and since the ad hits so many nostalgia buttons we’d expect it to do very well indeed.

Ikea’s Moment of Shame

Ikea is famous for its flat-pack furniture, Swedish meatballs and mild, family-friendly brand messaging. This year they’ve decided to mix things up a bit, in a collaboration with East London rapper D Double E.

The advert doesn’t really diverge from Ikea’s overall brand message, but the collaboration lends it a certain kudos. It’s also a very entertaining way of selling viewers on Ikea’s key appeal—attractive, easily accessible furniture.

The ad seems to have been a big success for Ikea, and helped raise the profile of D Double E amongst Ikea’s target audience. Fans of the song, “Fresh N Clean”, can look out for it on their favourite streaming service.

Walkers’ Mariah Carey Collaboration

For several years, footballer Gary Lineker has been the face of Walkers Crisps. This Christmas the company has partnered with another celebrity indelibly associated with the holiday.

It’s a surprisingly tongue-in-cheek portrayal of Mariah Carey, whose gift choices are (ironically) a bit tone-deaf. What isn’t tone-deaf is Carey’s impressive singing ability, which helps her secure the Walkers crisps in the end.

A few commenters have taken issue with Mariah’s enjoyment of the crisps (or lack thereof) but this remains an impressive bit of star power nonetheless.

McDonalds’ Reindeer Games

McDonald’s have indulged in a bit of childlike imagination with their story of a girl and her reindeer. Ellie wants nothing more than to play games with her sister Jenny, but Jenny is too cool for such childish things. Luckily, a baby reindeer is on hand to brighten Ellie’s day.

McDonald’s advertising has to walk a fairly fine line, especially since many of its meals are aimed squarely at children. This advert focuses on the healthy carrot sticks (sorry, “reindeer treats”) that McDonald’s offers, as well as their generous opening hours.

It’s another advert that prioritises a benevolent narrative over product placement, and its widespread use indicates that it’s extremely successful. For our money, this is a very charming effort that uses its cosy animation to great effect.

Co-op’s Community Spirit

Most Christmas ads touch on an idea of community and togetherness, but the Co-op’s ad takes that idea a bit more seriously. It emphasises the impact their charitable giving has on good causes, with a special appearance by one of their beneficiaries.

According to Prolific London, The Co-op supports local causes through a dedicated local communities fund. During its lifespan, this fun has supported over 4,000 causes and donated £17 million. The musicians in the video are part of the BTM Brass Band, A Welsh group inspired by a trio of small mining villages.

Like Anzara’s advert, this is an understated effort that keeps the obvious sales messages in the background. Instead it’s focussing on the non-commercial aspects of the holiday season… which, ironically, could be a path to greater business success for the Co-op going forward.

Have you been enjoying our Christmas roundup so far? 2019 has been an extremely strong offering for Christmas ads, and we’ll be bringing our roundup to a close with our next instalment.

Don’t forget that Electric is here to help with your own marketing requirements. Whether you’re after print design, social media marketing, brand creation or content production, our design and digital agency in Bradford is happy to oblige!

See our services for yourself, or just call us on 0113 287 9900.