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Unwrapping This Season's Christmas Ads

As brands launch their Christmas ads in the UK, we look at our favourites and the impact of truly owning this core brand moment.

Unwrapping This Season's Christmas Ads

This year, against the backdrop of consumers demanding increasingly deeper alignment with their own values, brands have had the opportunity to produce ads that evoke more than traditional holiday themes. These brands have taken into consideration purpose, brand values, target audience and cultural zeitgeist.  

Each ad brings something a little bit different; emotions, humor, fun, and nostalgia, with the best relaying an important cultural message. Connecting with consumers on a deeper level can significantly drive purchasing decisions; particularly around purpose, as we uncovered in our recent Gen Z report. Storytelling can at times prove to be more impactful than traditional advertising and what better time than Christmas to promote the importance of invoking change.  

Spark a sense of nostalgia

Since the pandemic, we have seen a huge trend in consumer craving for nostalgic moments. The Radio Times reported that 43% of people watched nostalgic shows during lockdown as a source of comfort  and since then, we have seen elements of nostalgia popping up everywhere. According to  The Independent , luxury consumers are twice as likely to buy a premium product when nostalgia is invoked.

Barbour – One of a kindness

Paddington Bear has had quite the year as Barbour takes the classic British character and tells a story of his gift-giving adventures as Mr. Curry. Paddington looks for the perfect ‘unique’ gift and lands upon a Barbour store promoting their ‘unique re-loved jackets.’ Barbour's British heritage makes the partnership feel truly authentic and the storytelling is heartwarming, nostalgic, and 100% festive. Plus, who doesn’t love Paddington, The Queen always did!

Barbour Christmas Advert 2022 | One of a kind-ness

Aldi – Kevin the Carrot

Playing on the classic Christmas movie, Home Alone, Aldi had Kevin (the carrot) left behind for the holiday period to fend for himself. The video is entertaining and whimsical and includes a few clever food puns. A wonderful way for the brand to cut through the noise of the holiday period with something a bit different. While we love seeing brands leaning into charitable causes, we caution their approach, as it can at times come off as performative. Aldi’s very brief mention of donating to the charity, ‘Neighbourly’, felt like an after-thought and landed a bit too tokenistic for us.  

Aldi Christmas Advert 2022  

Be authentic to your brand values

Disney – The Gift

The best Christmas adverts know how to pull on your heartstrings and warm your heart in just the right way, something that Disney has done perfectly this year. The animation shows the journey of a little girl adjusting to the imminent arrival of a baby in the family and well, we don’t want to spoil the ending, but it is a real heart warmer!  

Research from Google stated that 64% of people would take some sort of action after seeing diverse advertising and Disney has successfully represented diversity by highlighting that no family is the same and the beauty is in our differences. The ad feels authentically Disney, family-focused, and is a perfect example of storytelling through advertising.  

Disney – The Gift Ad

Have purpose at the forefront

Lego – Build to give

By leveraging Popstar, Katy Perry’s hit song, ‘Firework’, a group of kids set off to deliver presents in a less than conventional way. The video successfully highlights Lego’s position as a creative brand, and it appeals to their core target audience -kids! Lego is dovetailing the campaign with other ads to promote their #Buildtogive initiative in which children share their Lego creations and Lego donates gifts to children in need. The whole campaign is fun, different, great for kids and doing good.

We invite you all to build a playful holiday! 🎁  / You do the building, we do the giving! 🎁 LEGO Build to Give 2022

John Lewis – The Beginner

By no means is John Lewis a beginner when it comes to Christmas ads. We know that every year people in the UK anxiously awaits the release of John Lewis’ Christmas ad and this year it did not disappoint as consumer reactions quickly trended across various social media channels. The story follows a soon-to-be foster parent learning to skateboard ahead of his skater-head foster daughter joining the family during Christmas. It is a delicate pull on the heart strings that shines the spotlight on their partnership with Action for Children and Who Cares?, tackling how many children are in the UK care system.  

Through our own research using Social Listening platform, NetBase, we analysed that 77% of the UK conversations around Christmas Ads online are all buzzing about John Lewis and their purpose-led creative. Foster parents took to Twitter to say how important the message is whilst other users are commending the awareness being brought to the care homes. This is a testament to the fact that consumers want brands to be authentic, give back, and make them feel something. If that’s not enough to convince you, 46% of users in the UK say they have an expectation of brands to be authentic (GWI).

Purpose-led, heartwarming and a reminder of the importance of giving more than gifts during the holidays. Hats off to John Lewis for using their exceptional brand power to raise awareness for their chosen charities.  

John Lewis – The Beginner Ad

The best Christmas ads should always make you feel something, and they bring the perfect opportunity to highlight brand storytelling in a unique and sentimental way. Whether seeing your favourite movie character in your local supermarket, a relatable story featuring the difficulties of family life or being reminded of the importance of the period of giving, there is something for everyone this season.