The Good, the Bad, and the Hideously Unoriginal.
Whether you’re part of the ‘It’s November!’ group, or the ‘Christmas has become all about commercialism, back in my day…’ team, there’s no denying that you’re talking about Christmas TV adverts. They’ve become an integral part of the build-up; 2017 children actually get excited to visit the infamous Coca-Cola truck, in the same way that the nineties kids and their predecessors were excited by the sight of the Argos catalogue at the start of December.
This advert is everything that a Christmas advert should be. Our hearts broke when that wolf/dog/angel jumped back into the icy apocalypse for that little girl’s present. The perfect combination of 3D computer animation, illusive Santa references and wholesome Christmas love. We felt things.
We need to talk about the John Lewis advert. Listen, some of us cried when the Hare gave the Bear that alarm clock back in 2013. And Lily Alan’s cover of Somewhere Only We know took us all to a place wherein we believed that nothing was more natural than congenial feelings for grizzly bears. But since then, something has happened. John Lewis has become the dominant figure in Christmas advertisements, the signature landmark pinning the start of festivities, but this is starting to reflect in their originality report. (We won’t lie, we still love Mr. Underbed/Moz the Monster. It’s not his fault, after all.)
Genius. Pure, glittery genius. This advert is the perfect combination of old timey fairy-tale and modern day sensibilities. We all know that we won’t find our dream partner through a lost shoe. But a lost shoe and a hashtag? Maybe.
The underdog prevails! Nobody expected this, but something about the way that everyone in this advert acts as though those bears are humans, representing the homely motif of the ever-growing family, and the age old indulgence of coming home for Christmas, has us wanting to book a flight to anywhere and back again in the same day, just to replicate the feeling of being greeted by the whole family waiting in arrivals.
It’s a nice idea. Except that nobody gets carrot sticks from McDonald’s. Only if reindeer ate chicken nuggets, could I accept the late night trip to the golden arches.
There’s something that’s just so intrinsically British about this one. We’re not sure whether it’s the melancholic undertones that convey a warm homeliness, or the realistic un-hallmarked depiction of the Christmas that we all actually experience, but the resulting impression creates a sense of excitement for the inevitable Christmas Day squabble, and eventual reconciliation.
Toys ‘r’ Us
Short and sickly sweet. Toys R us were ambitious to redefine the parameters of Christmas, and we can only imagine the uproar had another brand ignored the well-known fact that elves and elves alone manufacture Christmas toys. But here we are, accepting the idea that a giraffe now flies Santa’s sleigh and simultaneously falling in love with it.
Kevin the carrot gives us anxiety, and so does his girlfriend. You’re on a dinner table, you’re going to get eaten. And why is Santa driving a train?? Unnecessary and unacceptable.
We almost don’t want to talk about this. The Tesco Christmas advert exists almost as an example of the perils of not conducting enough research. They tried to be inclusive, they didn’t really think it out well enough. The intentions were good, but unfortunately the execution was not. The controversy that surrounded the ad was based on their choice to feature a Muslim family, however, inclusion is important and a large part of Christmas, and we feel that was the focus.
Have you seen their idea of what Santa’s workshop looks like?? It’s shambolic! Everything is sterile and utterly unfestive. And the elves’ ears are completely unrealistic. Why not just use real elves?
Either way, Christmas Adverts are part of that essential sparkly, red and green, cinnamon scented, jingle-bell-culture that we’re submerged in for the latter part of every year. There’s no hiding from it – we can, however, discuss their merit, or lack thereof.
Words: Amy Cully Steele