This year’s Christmas ads have arrived – but are they any good?

By Teamspirit on Monday, 20 November 2017

As sure as cold nights, a sweet new Starbucks menu and bad dancing at the office Christmas party, November heralds the arrival of this year’s batch of Christmas ads.

It’s been seven years since Adam & Eve DDB took over the John Lewis account and changed the UK’s Christmas ad market forever. Now, the winter months are the closest thing Britain has to the Superbowl, a time when all of adland (and for once the general public) are eagerly watching for the next big ad to grace our screens.

Each year, ads earn major coverage across newspapers and TV and spark national conversations. How does each one compare to last year’s? Who’s doing something new, or different? And most importantly – who won Christmas?

So how do this year’s shape up?

Lets start with John Lewis’s offering, Moz The Monster. As the standard-bearer for Christmas ads, the department store’s effort always receives the most attention. And judging by the reaction online, it’s been a success.


But underneath the hype, is the formula starting to wear a little thin?

The John Lewis recipe is established now.

A message to think of others – check.

Wide-eyed kids/animals – check.

A slowed-down cover version, a charity tie-in and a merchandisable character – check, check, check.

So does Moz The Monster bring anything new to the table?

Not really, is the answer. And this isn’t just confined to John Lewis. Across the board, we’re seeing look-a-like ads, from M&S’s Paddington & The Christmas Visitor to Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot and Asda’s The Imaginarium.


So is it time for a shake-up? We’re not suggesting every ad has to be as out-there as Edeka’s famously morbid effort from 2015, but could brands benefit from a little bravery?

This year has seen a few attempts to be different, like Sainsbury’s #everybitofChristmas spot. In a departure from their highly produced efforts of the last few years, the ad’s shot in the monochrome naturalistic of as their Live Well For Less campaign, and features a not-at-all-annoying earworm of a track (complete with Spotify and karaoke tie-in).


Not On The High Street’s similarly monochrome effort, meanwhile, brings a little awkward humour to proceedings.

Whether these ads can enter the national conversation in the same way as John Lewis remains to be seen. Advertising success is counted on the bottom line, and ultimately only John Lewis will know how successful Moz The Monster is.

But in an industry that prides itself on invention and creativity, perhaps it’s time to try something different.

And where are the banks in all of this? The insurers and the investment houses? These are all sectors that push the idea of being there for us, so why not at Christmas?

Related News

Tue 2 Jan 2024

2024 Signals Report

Read more

Tue 14 Nov 2023

Branding with AI: The good, the bad and the reality

Read more

Fri 20 Oct 2023

Your attention please!

Read more

Mon 2 Oct 2023

Sustainable Marketing – Walking the talk Breakfast Event 28.10.23

Read more