It’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas ads … time to engage your heart (and yes, wallet)

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One of the old chestnuts, and not the fun kind that get festively roasted an on open fire, that comes out is every Christmas is how evil it is that this most iconic of festivals has been completely and utterly commercialised.

And while, yes, perhaps we have taken all the materialistic aspects a little too far, the truth is everything in the world gets the same treatment and yet somehow doing it to Christmas is a travesty?

Whatever your feelings on the issue, the key thing for me is how much thought goes into Christmas ads and how they often works of storytelling art in and of itself; sure they’re there to sell us stuff but so what? They make things feels cosy and warm and festive and that’s what appeals the most and makes them must watch items during the most wonderful time of the year.

JOHN LEWIS & PARTNERS

The British retail group produces THE ad of the season and while it’s held to a very standard, it rarely disappoints because they are just so damn creative and clever, not to mention incredibly heartfelt. This year’s ad, which was announced with a teaser – yes, that’s how much hype is attached to it; it gets teasered like a movie or TV show – is about a boy named Alfie who finds a box that promises to grow him the perfect Christmas tree. Who couldn’t love the idea of that? Alfie certainly can’t resist it but what he gets is an idiosyncratic a treat as you could hope for which unnerves his family but which Alfie wholly embraces, with the ad pointing out that while the traditions around Christmas may change, that the heart behind it remains which time with family and friends and making everyone feel loved and included. The joy is infectious and it absolutely nails what all of want from the season in the most delightful moving and creatively offbeat of ways.

What led to the creation of the ad? Why, thank you for asking …

ASDA

Granted ads from the British supermarket chain may not be quite as iconic but hey, for 2023 ASDA secured the services of one Michael Bublé, second only to Mariah Carey as the modern musical face of Christmas (albeit with the always present traditional elements), who urges the chain’s shoppers to “Make this Christmas Incredibublé“. The ad is funny, playful and very Christmassy and good lord if it doesn’t make you want to fall face first into a tray of fruit mince pies!

TESCO

Can you honestly resist the spirit of Christmas? This British supermarket chain says “No Ho Ho!” and serves up an ad, and lots of festive goodies, that features a family, and indeed a whole neighbourhood literally ending up looking like Christmas. It’s bizarre but in the best possible way …

AMAZON

Yes, yes there are a million things you can say about the American online behemoth but this is the ad if you want to feel wistful and happy and just plain cosily festive. It reminds that it’s never too late to indulge our inner child and if it means ordering something online, then all the better. But oh my heart …

ALDI

The discount supermarket chain is known for its goofy, quirky, hilarious and their Christmas effort fits right into the pleasingly idiosyncratic groove, offering up some tasty adventures with Kevin and the Christmas Factory which is all kinds of fun and cuteness, all wrapped up in a lovely nod to Willy Wonka …

M&S CHRISTMAS FOOD

They’ve done it with Wrexham and now Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenny are here as Left and Right Mitten to take in all the culinary wonders of the perfect Christmas. With expositional delight and wit in abundance, this is one ad that will likely having you kicking off the festive feasting early, and laughing all the way to the kitchen …

LIDL GB

Christmas is about giving and Lidl goes all out in their ad to soak up and encourage the generosity with an ad that sees a raccoon making one young child’s Christmas warmly, lovingly magical. It tugs on the heartstrings but it’s sweet and goofy too and continues the British love affair with telling a sentimental story in their festive ads …

TK MAXX

Do farm animals deserve designer gear for Christmas? Why yes they do in fact and in the world of TK Maxx, you can give hedgehogs beanies and ducks wellies and come out with a wallet still bulging. Sure, they want you to buy clothes from them, but with animals this cute and an ad this funny, how can you not?

BARBOUR

Yes Shaun the Sheep! Christmas isn’t Christmas without some heartfelt Aardman whimsy and the online clothing retailer has sweet stop-motion fun to spare with Bitzer, Shaun and the Flock having all kinds of work to do to make Christmas just-so …

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