‘Tis the season for goodwill and gifting, with many companies hoping to capitalise on the giving season with their biggest TV campaigns of the year.
As a huge advertising nerd, this means that I spend a good chunk of time in December watching the ads (and often providing a running commentary/critique, much to the dismay of any friends and family unlucky enough to be around me during an ad break).
So, after a few weeks of soaking in 2016’s offering, here’s my list of five Christmas adverts that have caught my attention this year.
(Picture: Alzheimer’s Research UK)
Santa Forgot – Alzheimer’s Research UK (Aardman)
A Christmas advert about Alzheimer’s Disease could have very easily been the most morbidly depressing this on our screens during the holiday season. However, Aardman have managed to create something that It both endearing and thought provoking, as it depicts Santa developing the disease, and gradually forgetting to deliver Christmas presents at all.
Unsurprisingly, considering that it was created by the same studio who bought the world family favourites such as Wallace and Gromit, the animation is really impressive and reflects a children’s story book aesthetic, while using colour and imagery to bring to life symptoms that are hard to describe. The advert also benefits from the vocal talents of Steven Fry, who is a perfect fit for a story about Santa, considering how many audiobooks he is known for voicing.
I think attributing the disease to a much loved character, was an excellent way of making the need for research understandable and accessible to a wide variety of ages, and make it stand out by deviating from the stereotypical aesthetic of charity adverts.
Angielski – Allegro (Barzo)
Another potential tear jerker here. In this advert a grandpa is shown to be using Allegro to order English language learning materials, culminating in a trip to England to visit his family and introduce himself using his new language skills to his infant granddaughter.
This ad told a touching story of family across country boundaries, that is pertinent to Poland, a there are numerous young people who relocate to England and raise their families here. However, there was also a lot of humour used that bought the advert back from the sickeningly sweet chasm that all too many fall into – a grandpa threatening a rubber duck with foul language, and confessing his love to people on a train in an effort to practice English as much as possible, is bound to raise a few giggles.
(Picture: H&M from ew.com)
Come Together – H&M (Wes Anderson)
Now I’m a fan of Wes Anderson movies so am a little biased with this gorgeous advert. My first thoughts when watching it were how fantastic it was to have mint greens and frosty blue hues to break up the barrage of gold and red on television at this time of year, and then, how on earth it was linked to H&M?
However, with recent collaborations with the likes of Kenzo and Balmain showcasing statement looks associated with these brands in H&M, utilising Wes Anderson’s unique style to create a Christmas advert is entirely on brand for a company where each new collaboration is increasingly anticipated by consumers.
I loved the camera movement in this piece which tracks between carriages making the viewer feel like they too are travelling alongside the characters, and even though there was a well-known director responsible for this advert, it didn’t feel overly glossary or expensive.
The Tale of Thomas Burberry – Burberry (Asif Kapadia)
While H&M’s advert has a more indie feel to it, Burbery showcases a Christmas advert that is all Hollywood with an all-star cast including Domhall Gleeson, Dominic West and Sienna Miller.
It is very cinematic, slick and pretty to look at, and shows off a lot of Burbeery garments throughout. But what I really liked was that it chose to draw upon the history of the brand itself, focusing on the life of the founder and drawing upon historical events such as Ernest Shakleton’s artic exhibition which he wore Burberry for.
Although Thomss is the protagonist, the fabric of the garments could be seen as another star of the show, as all the events highlight the tradition and prestige of the brand along with the hardiness and quality of the fabric. This really emphasises the brand identity and is very appropriate for a luxury clothing company.
Christmas with Love – M&S (RKCR/Y&R)
Initially, I wasn’t overly impressed by the M&S campaign, until I saw a small crowd of women in one of their stores looking at the Mrs Claus red dress. I couldn’t help thinking that the character embodied some element of how M&S’ key demographic see themselves: people that can rush in an save a Christmas Day in a time of disaster, restoring calm and order (seeing as a lot of Mums shop at M&S this is perspective is probably quite true).
Fun and festive, this campaign reinvents the Santa Claus story in an interesting way that transforms the character of Mrs Claus, putting someone with similarities to target demographics right at the heart of the ad. Plus, the products featured all being bright red against a winters background is a nice eye-catching touch.
Not TV honourable mention…Seven Sins of Christmas – Miu Miu
Sins and Christmas are normally seen as poles apart (it is the season for good cheer after all), but Miu Miu put them together in a very stylish way. Using pretty pastel shades, the seven deadly sins have been reimagined as actions involving the company’s perfume, such as gifting everyone the same scent representing sloth. These cute videos have been popping up all over my social media news feeds and I look forward to watching the whole seven.