Christmas Marketing Roundup 2019: Part 2

We continue our look at the biggest Christmas adverts in 2019! Our marketing agency in Bradford loves a good marketing effort, and we’ve rounded up some of the best. If you missed our earlier recap, you can check out Part 1 here.

Marks and Spencer’s Dancing Jumpers

Marks and Spencer has taken a slightly different tack with 2019’s Christmas advert. Where previous ads included icons like Paddington Bear and… er, Holly Willoughby, this year’s star is a parade of dancing Christmas jumpers.

Featuring hit rap song “Jump Around”, this ad was made by “Single Ladies” director Jake Nava. The Guardian reports the ad is an effort to restore M&S’ flagging fortunes; their clothing sales have seen a sharp drop, and encouraging shoppers to buy M&S jumpers is a way to reverse that trend. The retailer also hopes the shoulder-rolling dance move will gain popularity on social media.

Viral sensations are very difficult to contrive, but there’s some solid ideas under Marks and Spencer’s strategy. Whether it can beat John Lewis on popularity is a whole other question.

Sainsbury’s’ Sweeping Story

Marks and Spencer aren’t the only retailer aiming high; Sainsbury’s made headlines after their planned merger with Asda was blocked. With Aldi and Lidl upending the grocery market, it’s fair to assume Sainsbury’s are after some new customers.

Their new Christmas advert focuses on Nicholas, an orphaned chimney sweep who gets in a spot of bother. Luckily Mrs Sainsbury (and her ‘zero-emission’ cart) are on hand to save the day, with her act of kindess having a much wider impact.

It’s very different from last year’s all-singing, all dancing advert, though Sainsbury’s have created more narrative-driven adverts in the past. It’s also a subtle celebration of the supermarket’s 150th anniversary, and one of the more ambitious adverts 2019 has to offer. While some viewers miss ‘Plug Boy’, this remains a very impressive effort.

Barbour’s Blooming Marvellous Ad

For their 125th anniversary, Barbour have teamed up with Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas. The character first appeared in 1973, as well as a Channel 4 animation (starring Mel Smith) back in 1991. Now he’s back again, and reflecting on how Barbour has helped him out over the years.

While there’s a bit of retconning at work here, Barbour has been partnering with Raymond Briggs’ creations for some time now. Last year’s advert featured The Snowman—by far Briggs’ most famous character. 2017, meanwhile, saw a Barbour ad inspired by hit sequel The Snowman and the Snowdog.

Although Briggs’ Father Christmas isn’t quite as popular as The Snowman, this ad riffs on ideas of memory and reliability to great effect.

Joules’ Cracking Campaign

Barbour aren’t the only ones teaming up with beloved British icons. High-end clothing retailer Joules has released an ad starring none other than Wallace and Gromit; each of them is celebrating their 30th anniversary this year.

As adverts go it’s a pretty subtle effort; the Joules products play second fiddle to Wallace and Gromit themselves, who were always going to be the main attraction. Still, they’re an excellent partnership for the Joules brand. It exudes a high level of Britishness, which resonates well with these icons of British culture.

Wallace and Gromit are no strangers to advertising. Before partnering with Joules the duo have appeared in adverts for British brands including Npower, PG Tips and The National Trust. They’ve also appeared in a few adverts overseas; our favourite is this odd Japanese dessert ad. In any case, Wallace and Gromit are a pretty safe bet when it comes to marketing.

JD Sports’ Celebrity Showcase

Sportsware retailer JD Sports has produced a short, snappy effort with some serious celebrity clout. It features appearances by the likes of Jesse Lingard, Virgil Van Dijk and singer Ann-Marie, who are all sporting some appropriately stylish gear.

This is definitely an advert aimed at younger audiences, as made clear when several youngsters appear in the advert itself. It’s also extremely punchy, with the celebrity appearances working hand in hand with the overall branding. JD Sports suggests ads don’t need to be too complex to work, even around Christmastime.

Debenhams’ Gift Giving

Last year, Debenhams took a multi-pronged marketing approach with a series of adverts. These showed various people nailing their gift choices for loved ones, courtesy of Debenhams’ diverse product selection. For 2019 they’re taking a simpler approach, with a pair of flashy ads to show off their wares.

The ads are a neat, stylish way to show off the breadth of products that Debenhams offers, with a range of different people served by Debenhams’ range. It also features an appearance by X Factor star Fleur East, who both appears in the ads and provides the musical accompaniment.

Unfortunately, Debenhams has been struggling in recent years. According to the Daily Gazette the department store is closing 50 branches over the next five years, with Kent Live reporting 1,200 job losses. However, Debenhams have also secured £50 million of funding to keep it afloat. Hopefully, these new adverts will help them achieve that lofty goal.

Step Into Christmas

We’re seeing an interesting mix of Christmas adverts in 2019. Brands like Joules and Barbour are playing on classic characters to sell their wares, while the likes of JD Sports and Debenhams are taking a shorter, snappier approach to attract younger audiences. Others like Sainsbury’s are adopting the classic narrative form that brands like John Lewis have had success with. Look out for our next Christmas roundup very soon!

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