When does the Christmas season really begin? In the USA they might argue it’s after Thanksgiving. In Australia, it’s December 1st, when it starts to get uncomfortably hot. In Britain however, Christmas is ushered in with the onslaught of Christmas advertisements.
Onslaught may be the wrong word. These advertisements are eagerly anticipated. Weeks before their release Brits begin to speculate. How much will they be made to cry? Which of their favourite celebrities will appear this year? Will a beloved children’s character appear? Will the advertisers use stop animation, or will we get another tear-jerking documentary tribute to those who lost their lives during the Great War?
There is an art form to creating a strong, loved Christmas campaign. When done well the viewer should hardly be aware that they are watching an advert at all. The less the company’s products are mentioned the better. Instead a Christmas advert should inspire the viewer with joy, laughter and goose bumps.
The cream of the crop are usually produced by three companies, Marks & Spencer (M&S), John Lewis and Partners, and Sainsburys. Number one last year was M&S’s Paddington & The Christmas Visitor. The 2017 Christmas effort was overall rather bland, especially considering the powerhouse advertisements created over the last few years. Will they improve this year?
That is more than enough dwelling on the past. It is Christmas and it is time to reveal the top three Christmas adverts of 2018. (As chosen by the Lifestyle team here at the 7Dnews London office.)
First place goes too…. Sainsburys, The Show! A primary school Christmas play lit up our screens and filled everyone with joy and laughter. The synopsis provided by Sainsburys describes the scene. “The Show tells the story of the North Star overcoming her nerves to deliver a performance of a lifetime, to the amazement of mum. She is supported by a huge cast of 59 kids aged 6-11, all dressed as a variety of Christmas staples - including a turkey drummer and set of Christmas lights (plug included). The cast all dance and sing along as the stage transforms to reveal a 40ft Christmas tree and a 14ft glitter-filled gravy boat.”
The best parts of this advert are the parents. The entire audience is filled with the parents of the young performers, who have no idea what is going to happen. Those are real life reactions. The crowning moment though is a small child dressed as a plug throwing himself into an electric socket. While the (literal) star of the show sings the Sainsburys’ version of the New Radicals, You Get What You Give. Most impressively there is absolutely no mention of anything on sale this Christmas at Sainsburys, the real way to run a Christmas campaign. Do they have special deals on turkeys? Who knows!
In second place; John Lewis and Partners, The Boy and the Piano. Are you a fan of Elton John? Have you listened to Your Song on repeat, or found yourself singing the Lion King soundtrack over and over again? Well then, it is time to join Elton John on a trip down memory lane. Back through his various performances to when as a small child he received the gift that would change his life. What starts off as a fun explosion of wacky costumes (where would Elton John be without them?) turns into a beautiful tribute to Elton’s mother and grandmother. The goose bump factor is high with this one, and the cuteness of five-year-old Elton John undeniable.
That John Lewis sells pianos also seems to be news to everyone. Who knew?
And appearing as a surprise in third place is chemist and beauty store Boots with Gifts That Get Them. (M&S let themselves down this year.) Another tribute to motherhood, this year Christmas is all about the mums. It follows the relationship of a mother and daughter surrounding hair and makeup. This one could almost be an advertisement for Mother’s Day, but there are just the right amounts of cosy knitwear and Christmas decorations to keep it on track.
The emotional family sentiment is incredibly strong even if product placement is blatantly obvious. Though I suppose we should allow that, it is an advert after all.