What makes me rub my hands together with glee at this time of year is the anticipation of the Christmas adverts! Arguably the most important campaign of the year which comes with a cost. In 2017, Mediatel suggested advertisers spent up to £6 billion on their Christmas Campaigns and I predict this year will be a similar hefty amount. So far we have seen Sainsbury’s capturing the joy and humour of kids at Christmas, Aldi’s, Kevin the Carrot is on a snowy cliff edge and Tesco’s Christmas spread is for everyone, in their own way. Now we ask, what will the ever popular John Lewis advert say and how will it compare?
We have a line up of Christmas adverts infiltrating our screens already and it is always intriguing to see what angle retailers will take but the one I always eagerly await for is John Lewis. These highly emotive adverts are often accompanied with soft, often spine tingling songs, anthropomorphism to create cute and lovable creatures; disappointed, and then elated children; with a subtle essence of Britishness and what some people suggest can be a perspective of society as a whole. We have had Monty the penguin; Buster the Boxer; and Moz the Monster. The man on the moon advert from 2017 was especially interesting as it was raising awareness for Age UK, which I thought a refreshing change from human-esque animals or monsters. In September this year John Lewis and Partners and Waitrose released their advert promoting their personal partnership with a flamboyant, interesting and clever depiction of a school play producing a version of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, reminiscent of the warmth of the ‘Love Actually’ film. So the question I had, is how will they follow that and how will they promote their Christmas message this year? The time of patiently waiting is over!
If we look at the line-up so far we have: Argos with a rather terrifying giggling villainous creature mischievously ruining Christmas; Debenhams showcasing gift options with examples of a variety of self-satisfied givers; Amazon’s loud singing boxes ending with a young girl looking into a peaceful snow-globe and shushing the box, sharing my sentiments; Boots, perhaps acknowledging Unilever's powerful mum focused campaigns produces a soft and festive mum and daughter tear-jerking charm.
Noteworthy for the big supermarkets; Tesco showcases the variety of celebration with humorous and charming depiction of British life at Christmas; M&S focuses on everyone’s favourite festive food; Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot truck drives off a cliff evoking complaints from parents with traumatised children and Sainsbury’s classic template of a school play, bringing us festive charm, again reminiscent of ‘Love Actually’ (or maybe that's just me). So what Christmas joy will John Lewis bring us? The time has come to see what the John Lewis Christmas 2018 advert is giving us this Christmas.
Ladies and Gentlemen we present Elton John, can he ever fail to provide the mixture of a surge of happiness with eye welling emotion? I doubt it! Providing us with the perfect excuse to spend on our children, family and friends with the extraordinary emotion that they can attach to presents, adding a fantasy that this one gift you give will set them up for stardom. I jest of course, that is what Christmas is for! I love Elton John, I love the emotions he brings to this advert and I also love attaching emotions to possessions. John Lewis have captured that as they have done in the past and mixed nostalgia with emotive music with the acknowledgement that a gift can go a long way past the physical presence of the object itself. What they haven’t got this year is cute animals, soft-toys and monsters under the bed and I for one am delighted.
However, as much as I love ‘Your Song’, Elton John and the quality of the production, my final call is with Sainsbury’s this year, gasp, as it really feels like you are stepping into Christmas. The advert expertly ticks the boxes of; family and friends, festive warmth, cute kids and humour (watch-out for the child in plug socket jump). They are also safe in the knowledge that John Lewis did their fabulously entertaining kids school play in the summer, now perhaps, long forgotten. You can watch it again here, Sainsburys 2018 Christmas advert.