The Christmas advert phenomenon and some of 2019’s festive favourites

They’ve become a Christmas countdown staple and this year is no exception, with advertisers racking their brains in the hopes of claiming the crown as this year’s favourite festive advert. Account executive Danielle Hall takes us through a few of this year's Christmas crackers with her round up of festive adverts from 2019.

Step into Christmas

If you ask most people what makes them start to feel in the festive spirit, the odds are they will say seeing the first seasonal adverts on TV signifies the countdown to Christmas. From the age-old classics like the Coca-Cola truck, to the famous John Lewis ads, we’re treated to a plethora of story lines and soundtracks to ensure you’re feeling festive before December has even rolled around.

But what is it about Christmas adverts that have us waiting with bated breath to see what wonders retailers have in store?

The Christmas campaign timeline

Adverts have been on our screens since the 1950s, but it took 40 years before we saw a dedicated Christmas campaign.

The undisputed original “Christmas advert” crown goes to Coca-Cola with its 1995 ‘holidays are coming’ ad, which has run every year since. Crowning it as a firm favourite among the population and signalling the start of Christmas for many.

That is until 2007, when a (not so) new kid on the block came along to challenge for the Christmas crown – John Lewis.

Since the retailer’s Christmas ad launch, we’ve seen the likes of a lovelorn snowman, a trampolining dog and, this year, an excitable dragon called Edgar grace our screens, taking us on emotional journeys we didn’t expect to go on – but now anticipate every year.

However, John Lewis is not alone. Over recent years the Christmas advert industry has become a multi-million pound one, dedicated to trying to create the ultimate seasonal spectacle that not only warms our hearts but also leaves us reaching for our wallets.

The supermarket skirmish

Each year our TV screens are filled with a variety of festive spectacles, no matter where your grocery shop loyalties lie – and this year is no exception.

Let’s start with discount supermarket chain Aldi and its homage to the popular TV show Peaky Blinders.

This year sees us reunited with Kevin the carrot as he gets involved with a turf war against brussel sprouts. This is the fourth year in a row we’ve seen the return of the charismatic carrot, supporting the age old saying that if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.

Time travel is the theme for Tesco this year, who celebrated its 100th anniversary throughout 2019.

Its offering sees driver Joel travel through the years delivering groceries to the likes of Dickensian children, Winston Churchill and even the Queen herself.

But it isn’t just Tesco who’s celebrating a milestone this year. Sainsbury’s turned 150 in 2019 and its advert takes a bit more of an epic approach – giving Santa his own superhero origin story.

We follow the tumultuous life of Nicholas the Sweep, wrongly accused of stealing an orange and being shunned from society. Through the ad we see how his journey leads to him becoming St Nick himself.

From rainforests to Disney

One of the challenges of creating a Christmas advert every year is making something new, fresh and engaging.

This year a shout out must go to Iceland which has partnered with Disney to create a Frozen inspired advert that couldn’t be further from 2018’s offering. We’re transported to Arendell where Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven enjoy a game of charades explaining what their favourite thing about Christmas is.

It undoubtedly had big shoes to fill after last year’s advert – created in partnership with Greenpeace – ‘Rang-Tan’ beat John Lewis to the top spot as the most watched Christmas ad of 2018 – despite being banned from TV.

But will it make it to the top spot for the second year running with this family favourite, or will John Lewis take back the mantle?

The unsung heroes

Online retailer Very.co.uk is celebrating the joy of community in this year’s ad. Not only does the brief, 40 second clip feature returning stars from previous years, it also addresses a strong seasonal message about elderly loneliness at Christmas. The ad is set to a very special soundtrack – The Social Singing Choir from Margate.

Formed in 2018, the choir brings together people from all different walks of life to create a community and help them feel good through the power of music.

Its rendition of Rudimental’s 2012 hit ‘Feel the Love’ is the perfect accompaniment to an advert all about togetherness – and it truly tugs on the heartstrings.

The tear jerker

You may remember last year the internet was taken by storm after a Christmas film made on a budget of just £50 reminded us all of the true meaning of Christmas.

‘Love is a Gift’ showed a young man listening to the final tape recording made by his late mother to listen to at Christmas and the budget production was heralded as the ‘ad of the year’.

Fast forward twelve months and filmmaker Phil Beastall has done it again with the creation of ‘Made for You’. It follows the long-distance relationship of a male couple who can only stay in touch via social media and shows what happens when they’re finally reunited on Christmas Day.

If you haven’t seen it yet then be warned – many have been left reaching for the tissues. Upon the release of the short film, Phil said that ‘Christmas is a time for happiness, love and belonging’, and I for one, am inclined to agree with him.

Did we choose one of your favourites? Join the conversation and let us know on social media what your favourite ad from this year is @cartwrightcomms.

By Danielle Hall

Danielle spent more than four years working as a broadcast journalist and presenter before moving into PR. Her journalistic approach to the industry means she knows what newsrooms want to hear allowing her to secure strong coverage for clients. Her videography skills also give her the tools to provide strong and engaging content across all platforms.