In the run-up to the big day, festive adverts are becoming longer and better funded as they compete for the most iconic Christmas spot of the year. From Lidl to John Lewis, Argos to Aldi, here are the best festive campaigns of 2019.
Aldi – Kevin the Carrot ★★★★★
Think The Greatest Showman meets Robbie Williams, Peaky Blinders, and Be Our Guest. This charmingly creative advert introduces “Russell Sprout”, the gang leader of the Leafy Blinders. Kevin the Carrot makes a surprise return as he finds himself in deep trouble with the Leafy Blinders who are fuming that Kev has taken the Christmas spotlight from them. Russell ties Kev to a cheese grater before Tiny Tom the tomato saves the day and leads Kevin to perform a spectacular rendition of Robbie Williams’ Let Me Entertain You. It’s random and spectacularly imaginative at the same time.
John Lewis & Waitrose – #ExciteableEdgar ★★★★
John Lewis seems to set the benchmark for festive adverts, notwithstanding last year’s disappointing The Boy And The Piano, they make a heartwarming return this season (despite Bastille’s Dan Smith’s tasteless cover of Can’t Fight This Feeling). We are introduced to Edgar, an adorable dragon who struggles to control the fire he emits. Funnily enough, John Lewis and Waitrose had to issue an apology for leaving children devastated after Edgar melts a snowman that bears resemblance to Olaf from Frozen.
Argos – The Book of Dreams ★★★
Now for the longest advert of them all! You would be lying if you said you never flicked through an Argos catalogue writing a list for Santa as a child – that 3-second scene proved to be the most nostalgic of the whole advert. Dry ice fog oozes out of the fridge and speakers appear in the kitchen playing the classic 80s song Don’t You Forget About Me by Simple Minds. The iconic act of circling your dream gift in the Argos catalogue won’t be forgotten.
Lidl – A Christmas You Can Believe In ★★★★
A Christmas You Can Believe In is by far the most relatable and nostalgic advert, featuring scenes of a typical family-filled Christmas. Big on the joys of giving, getting more for your money, and naughty treats that taste too nice, Lidl indulges my favourite “it’s Christmas” excuse, justifying those extra mince pies in the trolley.
Sainsbury’s – Nicholas the Sweep ★★★★★
To mark 150 years of Sainsbury’s, this Dickensian advert is narrated by none other than Brian Cox (the actor not the scientist). We witness the humble beginnings of a child known as Nicolas and the origin story of Father Christmas.
Asda – Let’s Make Christmas Extra Special ★★★★
This advert follows a little girl who is inspired by her Grandad’s stories of the Northern Lights resembling Santa’s leftover magic. She decides to make a journey to the Arctic to bottle up the Northern Lights in the hope of spreading Christmas cheer.
Iceland – #MagicOfFrozen ★★
After Iceland’s controversial 2018 Christmas campaign on the destruction of rainforests at the hands of palm oil growers, they return this year with an extremely toned down, mediocre advert sponsored by Frozen II – which doesn’t have quite the same impact as sponsoring Greenpeace. I’m sure the advertising agencies are at ease that they don’t have to deal with a political advertising crisis this year.
Very – “Get More out of Giving” ★★★★
The biggest surprise was this year’s Very advert, featuring a lonely old man, Sydney. In an assured crowd-pleaser, the community unite to give Sydney a Christmas he will never forget in this traditional festive story.