Published by Simon Brooks on 24th November 2016 | Seasonal marketing

Christmas Adverts 2016

It’s that time of year when, once again, we are subjected to an array of Christmas adverts from retailers and the like. We thought we’d share our thoughts on the main adverts – which brands hit the spot, which were a little off and which, if any, just didn’t cut it. Take a look and let us know if you agree or disagree with us!


John Lewis: Buster The Boxer

After the runaway hit yet fake John Lewis advert by student, Nick Jablonka, the real John Lewis advert was released. Take a look…

But is it all good?

As always, there are other opinions – firstly the welfare of animals. It wasn’t long before The Sun, The Mirror and the Daily Mail (need we say more!) jumped on the animal welfare bandwagon. I think it’s important to remember that no animals were harmed during the making of this advert (it was CGI after all) however, there have supposedly been reports of owners posting videos of their dogs attempting to copycat Buster on Facebook so maybe there’s something in it.

Secondly, according to The Guardian, John Lewis succeeded in making 2016 worse. In their opinion, Buster The Dog portrayed Donald Trump pushing past Hillary Clinton (the little girl) to beat her in the election (the trampoline is America apparently). I guess that’s one way of looking at it but I don’t think the aim was to rub salt in the wounds.

Well, all that said, we really liked it. Did it make us want to go to John Lewis and shop? Not necessarily. But it did make us laugh!


Sainsbury’s: The Greatest Gift

A fully animated advert here from Sainsbury’s. It follows a dad so rushed off his feet, he just doesn’t have enough time. While the dad is Christmas shopping the advert’s song (sung by James Corden) talks of being in the queue for the queue. At Christmas time we’ve all experienced being in the queue for the queue so it’s all very relatable…


It’s so long (a grand 3 minutes and 35 seconds) and it gets a little annoying too if we’re honest. The message is “the greatest gift you can give is your time”. Maybe there’s a hidden message that they allow their staff time off over Christmas? But as they only close on Christmas Day, maybe not!!

We thought it was a good way of showing family life but it didn’t make us want to shop at Sainsbury’s.


Tesco: Bring It On

Ok, so this one is based in a Tesco store with actress Ruth Jones (from previous Tesco ads) walking down the aisle. She then stops in the central aisle and we hear her thoughts as she lists the important Christmas things she needs to buy with a contemplative / determined smile on her face. In that respect, a great big tick – we know what Tesco are selling (as if we didn’t already know!) and it’s kind of funny.

The downside though is that it’s rather boring. For around 50 seconds of the 60 second ad, it’s just Ruth’s thoughts. In the final 10 seconds she interacts with her husband, played once again by Ben Miller, when she says a rather annoying ‘naaaaa’ when he ponders if it’s too early for mince pies. Given the fact that the advert aired right after Bonfire night we could all wonder if the advert itself was a tad too early but, hey, is it ever too early for mince pies?!

We don’t think it’s the most memorable. Sorry Tesco – you need to bring it a bit more next year!


Debenhams: Found It

The Debenhams Christmas ad follows on from last year’s. The ‘Found It’ ad shows a range of products (with personality) for the young through to the old. From that point of view, it’s funny and the products really ‘talk’ to you. Unlike most of the Christmas adverts, it does make you want to shop. With celebrities lending their voices to different products they endorse both the products and Debenhams.

It is however, missing something that the others we’ve reviewed so far have; Christmas. I mean, it is about Christmas, but it really is just about the gifts and we miss the warm fuzzy feeling that Christmas is about more than just presents.


Waitrose: Home for Christmas

As you might expect, Waitrose have gone for quality and family. A beautifully animated Robin struggles to fly back home for Christmas with a child putting out a mince pie awaiting the return of said Robin. Obvious parallels with loved ones far and wide journeying back home to their family who are desperate to see them and when they do arrive, the perfect Christmas meal is on the table.

Emotional. Classy. Christmassy. It ticks lots of boxes but while we quite like it, it’s not our favourite.


M&S: Christmas with love from Mrs Claus

Ok, now we’re getting excited about Christmas. M&S present Mrs Claus as the hero of Christmas, sneaking out while Mr Claus is out on deliveries! A very clever ad that many can relate to – two children bickering over a shoe damaged by the young brother (Jake) while playing with the dog and his teenage sister (Anna) getting very cross as a result. The saddened Jake writes a heart-felt letter to Mrs Claus who fires up the helicopter and places a gift for Anna under the tree. She swipes a lovely mince pie from the mantelpiece and gets home before Mr Claus.

When Anna opens the gift (labelled ‘Jake wanted you to have this’), she is presented with a very cool pair of pumps. She hugs Jake and they make snow angels and, just aaah!

Could it get any better than that?! Oh, M&S you are good. It’s a tad on the long side at 3:01 but, unlike the long Sainsbury’s ad, it’s full of M&S products and makes you want to shop (for tissues initially to wipe away your tears!)


Heathrow: Coming Home

With your M&S tissue still in hand, it’s time to reveal our absolute favourite Christmas advert of 2016.


With a Christmas ad that’s reminiscent of the opening scene in Love Actually it makes us want to cry (not naming names but it’s fair to say at least one member of the C4B Media team welled up in the office!)

Fashioned after Paddington, we see two bears travelling on a plane. By the look of their clothes, they are… let’s say… in the winter of their lives. When they arrive at Heathrow airport and pass through customs they hop on an airport buggy and share a kiss beneath the mistletoe. Awww!

After a slight wobble as they get on the escalator, Mr Bear puts on his glasses so he can see the ‘Arrivals’ sign and off they go. A quick toilet stop and, with a helping hand from someone who benefits from height and strength, they retrieve their baggage. Mr Bear then grabs a box of Walkers shortbread causing a landslide of boxes and we see Mrs Bear shaking her head in the background (behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes springs to mind!)

The advert finishes with Mr and Mrs Bear looking so small and fragile searching for a familiar face in the crowd. Two children with grins as big as Christmas itself come running towards them and hey presto Mr and Mrs Bear turn into grandma and granddad and it’s hugs all round.

Coming Home really does hit the spot and we just love it!


Which did you love?

The list could go on and on but we have to leave it somewhere. Some of these big brands really took us to Christmas and back but which were your good, bad and ugly Christmas ads? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page or Tweet us.

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