Saturday, 6 December 2014

Which is your favourite Christmas advert of 2014?

Saturday, 6 December 2014

There have always been festive commercials on television, but the adverts have become increasingly expensive and genuine treats on British television. Department store John Lewis is widely credited with starting the trend in 2007, but it wasn't until their 2011 advert "The Long Wait" (about a boy impatiently waiting for Christmas morning, with a twist on the reason why) that they caught the public's imagination. Other retailers began to follow their lead, producing cinematic seasonal adverts, often packaged with gentle pop songs that could in turn become No1 hits in the run up to Christmas. But which of the big-name adverts are your favourite of 2014?

JOHN LEWIS: 'Monty the Penguin'

Having begun the modern trend for such things, John Lewis's adverts remain the benchmark for most viewers. The arrival of this season's offering, "Monty the Penguin", became an event on a similar scale to the release of a summer blockbuster. There was even a Twitter hashtag (#montythepenguin) that helped the advert go viral, spreading the John Lewis brand name overseas. And yes, they're also selling Monty stuffed toys at ridiculous prices. It's become even more of a commercial enterprise, but thankfully the advert's lost none of the charm we now demand. Tom Odell's track "Real Love" is also charting high.


This one's more of a short film than a mere advert, clocking in at almost four-minutes. It had an entire primetime commercial break to itself during X Factor. Brilliantly timed to coincide with the centenary of WWI, this advert works as both an uplifting festive message (Christmas is for sharing), and a beautiful re-enactment of a famous wartime moment when English and German troops bonded over a sing-song and played football on Christmas Day.

M&S: 'Follow the Fairies'

Every bit as beautiful as you'd expect from the upmarket department store, this is a good advert about two fairies called Magic and Sparkle spreading some Christmas magic around a snow-covered Britain. There isn't a clever twist and the use of 'Fly Me to the Moon' doesn't have you racing to iTunes, but the #FollowtheFairies hashtag actually reveals M&S have been travelling the UK doing good deeds in the fairies' name. You can watch some of the wishes they've granted here, and it's a nice touch.

WAITROSE: 'The Gingerbread Stall'

The upscale supermarket has gone for something heartwarming and focused on a sense of community, as a young girl's put in charge of making gingerbread biscuits at a Christmas stall for school. If 'you own something, you care a little bit more' they say. The track is a rendition of Dolly Parton's "Try", sung by ordinary members of the public, to once again promote the idea of everyone coming together. You can buy the track and proceeds go the Trussell Trust, Age UK and Great Ormond Street Hospital.


Some children happily race around a Debenhams department store, having a fun time trying on all the clothes and playing with toys… until they find exactly what they're looking for. Debenhams want shoppers to share their own #foundit moment on social media and through the website, too. Not the greatest advert of the season, but I do like how the music's made Paul McCartney's "We All Stand Together (The Frog Song)" almost bearable. Almost.

BOOTS: 'Special Because'

The story of various people travelling to see loved-ones for Christmas, because relatives are special and worth making the effort for, see?

TESCO: 'Lights On'

The popular supermarket chain have gone for the spectacle and excitement of getting ready for Christmas, with festive lights and fireworks displays. Similarly to M&S, this advert is also the foundation for the supermarket to trek around the country doing good deeds. In this instance, making some of their stores extra-Christmassy, as you can see here with their trip to Wigan.

ARGOS: 'Get Set for Advent'

A bog-standard "Christmas advert", simply selling the store's wares in a colourful and catchy way. The use of Run DMC's "Christmas in Hollis" certainly helps stop you changing channel when it comes on.

ALDI: 'Everyone's Coming to Us'

The budget supermarket, like many before it, have plumped for a traditional ditty and scenes of people tucking into Christmas dinners. Complete with a last-second cameo from Jools Holland on piano, despite the fact he's more identified with New Year celebrations because of his music show before midnight.

LIDL: 'The Little Present'

Aldi's biggest rival Lidl also chose families eating Christmas nosh as the focus of their ad campaign, although it lacks a catchy song. The "acting" here does feel more genuine, however.

HALFORDS: 'Nothing Beats a Bike'

To the cycling and motoring superstore chain now, who chose to dramatise a popular moment many children have on Christmas Day when they've just unwrapped a new bicycle.

VERY.CO.UK: 'Step Into Christmas in Style'

The catalogue company have opted to shrink ambassador Fearne Cotton to thumb-size, and have her fool around with other tiny models inside a festively-decorated home. The oddly catchy music is "Thimbles" by Beuys Toys, which you can download for FREE here!

VODAFONE: 'Power to the Festive'

Are you sick of children singing "Let it Go" from Frozen? Tough. Vodafone have based their Christmas around customers singing it, as you can now access Sky's NOW TV service through Vodafone (which has Frozen on the Sky Movies package).

COCA-COLA: 'Holidays are Coming!'

John Lewis, who? Let's be honest, Coca-Cola's festive advert with a truck festooned with lights has been a staple of yuletide for years now, and has come to mean Christmas is upon us for many people. Coke's delighted their "holidays are comin', holidays are comin'... " chant has inveigled itself into the British psyche, as the actual Coca-Cola truck's on a nationwide tour.


The catalogue's ambassador, ex-popstar Myleene Klass, turns into a sexy genie giving everyone fantastic gifts, to the tune of Sam and the Womp's unexpected hit "Bom Bom". Um, Christopher Biggins cameos as a panto Dame.

Which is YOUR favourite commercial of the season? VOTE in my poll below, which closes in a week!