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Our Favourite Christmas Ads In 2020

It’s that time again! The trees are up, the panettone is in the oven and that can only mean Christmas is coming. As marketing buffs, what we love about Christmas is….the adverts! Christmas adverts have become quite a staple around this time of year, they’re warm, they’re often sentimental, and they get everyone excited to make new memories.

This year, Christmas will be quite different for everyone, so it’s interesting to see the ways in which companies are going to cater to addressing the Coronavirus pandemic and what the key messages are this year. And so, in this blog post, we are going to be talking about the big players of Christmas adverts, how will their 2020 adverts compare to previous years?



John Lewis – Give A Little Love


The John Lewis Christmas advert is a well-talked-about favourite every year. Some would perhaps go as far as saying that the John Lewis advert signals the start of the Christmas season and they wouldn’t be wrong. They are known to be emotive, make the audience tear up, and for using cute subjects such as animals, or young children in their adverts. Previous John Lewis icons have included Moz the Monster, Excitable Edgar the Dragon and the Man on The Moon. 


Teaming up with sister-brand Waitrose this year, the advert has been a little different. Give A Little Love consists of 6 different animation styles paired with sections of real actors and the plot is a series of kind gestures that each little character does for someone near them who’s maybe not having the best day. As always there’s the signature cute caricatures, the emotive signals and the emphasis on kindness. Although there is a clear focus on the theme of community – a good way of relating the advert back to the pandemic. In that aspect it’s mirroring all the amazing help we gave each other as a community, John Lewis is highlighting the best part of an extremely hard time, and that is how they make audiences shed a tear. 


Some may say John Lewis played it safe this year but their ability to capture the community feeling that has swept the nation is admirable and one that will leave you feeling warm inside. Watch it for yourself below!

And so, John Lewis is a household name once again this Christmas. In some nostalgic sense, the John Lewis ad has given many a sense of security, in a time of such inconsistency and turbulence, this Christmas one thing remains – and that’s the John Lewis advert.



Disney – From Our Family To Yours


2020 has seen many things, and one of the most optimistic parts has been the first-ever Christmas advert from Disney! To be honest, we found it surprising that Disney has taken so long to make a Christmas advert, considering a good classic Disney movie is essential during Christmas time. From classics like The Nightmare Before Christmas to the modern icon, Frozen – Disney really embodies the holiday spirit!  


The advert is called From Our Family to Yours which emphasises traditional family values. The plot follows a woman named Lola, who enjoys Disney and Christmas crafts with her grand-daughter, however as time goes on the tradition fades and Lola is left alone. Until her grand-daughter organises her a festive surprise, filling her room with the traditional lights they both used to craft and manages to repair a very worn out Mickey Mouse toy which belonged to Lola. Lola is overjoyed and the two embrace and remember their family values and traditions. 


As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, many people have been separated from their families especially during the lockdown, and so this big emphasis on family time, family values and being together will be appreciated a little more this year. Disney has made everyone hold their loved ones a little tighter, and spend a little more time together. The advert is animated, but the plot and themes can be enjoyed by all ages. We dare you to watch this without shedding a tear. Definitely, a contender to be #1 ad of the holiday season!



Sainsbury’s – Gravy Song


This year, Sainsbury’s has taken a far more personal approach to their Christmas advertising. The first of a 3 part series, Gravy Song follows a conversation between father and daughter speaking about hoping to see each other for Christmas, and especially the special gravy the dad makes for their Christmas lunch. Onscreen, we see vintage style camcorder films of different Christmas memories, really emphasising the personal touch, the family aspect, and the anticipation of reuniting after so much time apart in lockdown. This is perhaps the most relatable ad, it’s a depiction of a very normal, everyday family who are planning their family Christmas the same as many people across the country. And in this way, Sainsbury’s have been really direct with their addressing of the pandemic. There’s that association of a good meal with family and friends, still emphasising their quality food without being too pushy. 


This ad is not without controversy though. In this advert, the focus is on a black family, something that we, unfortunately, do not see enough of. The comments underneath the initial post featured many racist comments claiming that a black family on screen is not ‘representative’ of Britain or British values. Something Sainsbury’s, we and many businesses have come together to refute and in fact, we think Sainsbury’s will gain a greater buy-in some many communities by taking this stance. 


Overall, the advert was enjoyable and relatable. It’s clear that Sainsbury’s is targeting mainstream families who are likely to shop at their stores for their all-important Christmas dinner.



Coca Cola 


Oh, Coca-Cola, you had so much promise but alas you just fell short this year. This year’s advert follows the story of a little girl who gives her father a letter to post to Santa Claus on his way to work. Her father forgets to post the letter and rushes to hand-deliver it, after a long gruelling journey he delivers the letter to Santa, who then gives him a lift home in his red Coca Cola truck (obviously). The father opens the letter only to realise all his daughter asked for was his safe return for Christmas. 


Now the direction and cinematic aspects are on point, going from the seas to the mountains and back. However, in an extraordinary year, this advert just feels too ‘normal’. This advert could have worked for any other year and we feel like Coca Cola have really missed a unique opportunity for marketing here! This, with the cancellation of the truck tour, feels like a bit of a letdown. Although Coca Cola has said in an official statement:


“We know this will be disappointing news for lots of people, for whom the Truck Tour marks a fun, festive moment to get together over the Christmas period. Throughout the pandemic, our main priority has been to support our people, our partners and communities. That’s why, when lockdown began, we decided to pause all our marketing globally and focus our resources towards relief efforts around the world.”


And so we could argue that Coca Cola have embodied the true spirit of Christmas: kindness, giving and helping the community.



And so that’s it, folks! That’s our Christmas ad round-up. This year is very different, as many companies have acknowledged, the campaigns have been different, and it’s nothing we are really used to! So that leaves the question to you: what is your favourite campaign this year? And why?

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