The Drum have summed up such a wonderful list that I needn’t compile my own this year, although I have added a few notable Aussie ads in there for your viewing pleasure.
Whatever happens in the next month or two, Christmas 2020 will be like no other before it. As advertisers grapple with how to stand out during the festive season, you can keep up to date with the best seasonal creative right here.
It might be November but it’s already beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
Mince pies have tentatively started to appear on the supermarket shelves, as of yet unlit festive lights dangle in waiting in cities across the world and brands have started airing their Christmas ads.
So far we’ve seen Disney get in on the action with a tearjerker to rival John Lewis’ crown, while Dobbies has unveiled an unexpected, abstract campaign from ODD.
Boots has also launched a charity-focused push from Ogilvy centered around the issue of hygiene poverty. Elsewhere, Barbour has returned to the popular children’s book Father Christmas, written and illustrated by Raymond Briggs. And Burberry’s London-based singing and dancing spectacular is has broken through the Christmas bubble to a roar of applause.
Papa John’s: Giving More This Christmas, London.
In an effort to raise awareness and support two of the most prevalent issues the UK is currently facing, hunger and homelessness, Papa John’s is launching its ‘Giving more this Christmas’ campaign, which sees the pizza delivery chain donating a chunk of their creative and marketing budgets to Crisis and the Trussell Trust.
To put the money which would have otherwise been spent on creative designs and production costs to better use, Papa John’s instead, enlisted help from internal staff to design and create the assets for its Christmas 2020 campaign.
Lidl: A Christmas You Can Believe In by Karmarama, London
Building on the success of Lidl’s Christmas campaign last year Big On A Christmas You Can Believe In, this year’s advert uses an amusing parody in an animated world to support the same sentiment.
The ad nods to the unbelievable and unrealistic nature of Christmas ads whilst interrupting these Christmas advertising tropes, and side-stepping them for great Lidl products, at great Lidl prices.
The campaign sits within Lidl’s ‘Big On’ creative framework launched last year with advertising agency Karmarama and looks to highlight the brand’s commitment to being ‘Big on’ quality and always ‘Lidl’ on price.
Deliveroo- Christmas is on, London
Celebrating its first ever major UK Christmas campaign, Deliveroo’s latest spot ‘Christmas is On’, was created in-house by the food-delivery company, and highlights that no matter what uncertainty lies ahead the next few months, Deliveroo will be here to deliver this Christmas.
Throughout November and December, a brand new festive menu on Deliveroo features exclusive dishes from loved chains to local neighbourhood favourites. From Pret’s legendary Christmas sandwich to Burger King’s Festive BBQ King and Pizza Hut’s Christmas Pizza, these limited-edition dishes are available only on Deliveroo.
The campaign also celebrates the festive grocery favourites available for delivery on-demand in as little as 20 minutes from mince pies to prosecco, from the likes of Co-op, Waitrose, Aldi and Morrisons.
Burberry – ‘Singing in the (London) Rain’, London
Fashion house Burberry is making a splash this Christmas with a timeless rendition of Singin’ in the Rain, infusing the Gene Kelly classic with the brand’s distinctive urban edginess.
Produced by RiffRaff Films and directed by MegaForce, the classical climatic dance-off has been choreographed by dance collective (La)Horde, amping up the thrill factor by introducing falling blocks of ice for the fleet-footed quartet to circumnavigate.
Evading a descent into tired schmaltz and cheese the short film brings the 1950s straight into the 21st century with a hailstorm on London’s Petticoat Lane.
Keen to fashion more than just a video, Burberry is aiming to celebrate its capacity to provide social good, signified by a partnership with footballer and activist Marcus Rashford to finance a network of British youth centres.
Boots – ‘What the World Needs’, Ogilvy London
Boots has launched its Christmas campaign, centred around acts of kindness, care and great value for all. Boots ‘What the World Needs Now’ campaign recognises that it has been a year like no other and acts of care and kindness are what is needed most.
To help, Boots will provide hygiene essentials to some of the millions of people in the UK living in hygiene poverty, with a donation of £1m worth of products to The Hygiene Bank. Boots is also inviting customers to donate hygiene items to support those most in need this Christmas.
American Egg Board: The Gift of Eggs by BBDO
American Egg Board’s new campaign, ‘The Gift of Eggs,’ pokes fun at holiday extravagances in order to celebrate what really matters during the season — family, friends, special memories together and food.
The campaign’s two short films upend trite holiday gifting advertising, like the perennial car with a big bow in the driveway, by adding a comic twist to remind consumers that just a dozen eggs can open the door to incredible possibilities.
The 15-second films, created in partnership with creative agency Energy BBDO, are called ‘Giant Bow’ and ‘Proposal.’ The former plays off over-the-top holiday car commercials, showing a family surprising their dad with an extravagantly wrapped carton of eggs in the driveway; the latter leans into jewelry store holiday clichés, revealing that the holiday proposal is not with a diamond, but an incredible egg. The tongue-in-cheek films will run on social and OLV and were shot following social distancing protocols
Zalando – We will hug again by Anomaly
Against the backdrop of a challenging year of uncertainty and separation, Zalando is celebrating the hug as the ultimate expression of human connection and solidarity. Created by Anomaly Berlin, ‘We Will Hug Again’ is devised to convey a feeling of optimism and hope across Europe.
This message of hope will be depicted across numerous formats. Firstly, it will be brought to life through a series of Hug Portraits which will appear as large unbranded murals in visible urban locations across Europe. It will also include a heartwarming film, ‘100 Years of Hugs,’ directed by Vincent Haycock, and set to the track ‘Godspeed’ by Frank Ocean.
Barbour: Father Christmas to The Rescue by Illuminated Films
For the second year running, Barbour has returned to the popular children’s book Father Christmas, written and illustrated by Raymond Briggs.
The film follows a young boy whose dog has chewed his father’s beloved Barbour wax jacket. The boy writes to Father Christmas to say that he doesn’t want a present this year, he just needs his help to repair his father’s jacket in time for Christmas. Father Christmas realises he can’t mend the jacket himself but has the bright idea of taking it to the Barbour factory in South Shields to see whether they can assist. The Barbour customer service team set to work repairing the jacket and give it a rewax too, so it looks as good as new.
The film is based on the true story of Dudley the dachshund who chewed his owner’s much-adored Barbour jacket. His owner sent it back to Barbour with a note from Dudley to say he was sorry.
Disney: From Our Family To Yours by The Walt Disney Company
Disney’s Christmas charming Christmas ad is inspired by the themes of traditions and family togetherness in a year that has upended both. Exploring the relationship between a gran and her granddaughter, the animation is certain to tug at the heartstrings.
Running across 26 markets in Europe, as well as Australia, New Zealand, North America and parts of Asia, ‘From Our Family To Yours’ holds the same production values as any Pixar movie would.
Based on insight from consumers that traditions, family and nostalgia were the most important things to them in the run up to this Christmas, the short sees the introduction of two characters – a grandmother, Lola, and her granddaughter.
Dobbies: The Joy of Dobbies by ODD
Dobbies has departed with Christmas tradition to launch ‘The Joy of Dobbies’ brings to life the magical experience of a trip to the retailer during the festive period.
Abstract, impactful and unexpected, it features a bauble-filled hot-tub, sledging poodle and raining mince-pies. All an entertaining ode to the fact that nothing that beats the feeling of a trip to a Dobbies garden centre at Christmas.
At its core is a disruptive marketing strategy from ODD that centres around short, shareable film content that will catch attention on TV as much as stand-out online. The films also feature original scores from acclaimed Jazz musician, Ola Onabulé.
Waitrose & John Lewis – Give a Little Love
Inspired by the kindness we saw throughout the pandemic, the Waitrose and John Lewis advert was created by advertising agency adam&eveDDB, and isn’t just a celebration of different forms of moving art – from animation and claymation to CGI and cinematography – it’s made up of nine different vignettes created by eight different artists who are leading experts in their particular art, including Chris Hopewell, who has created music videos for Radiohead and Franz Ferdinand, and French animator Sylvain Chomet.
The unique approach was chosen in a spirit of kindness towards the creative industries, which has been hard hit by the pandemic. Instead of a single production team, multiple artists were selected, giving employment to many people across our creative community.
Sainsbury’s Gravy Song
Sainsbury’s takes a heartfelt look at food, family and memories in three-part Christmas advert collection, starting with the ‘Gravy Song’. The spot tells how a father and daughter’s excitement for Christmas gets them talking about Dad’s gravy and his “famous” gravy song. The song brings back memories of years gone by, as the daughter tries to cope with the embarrassment of her Dad’s singing, whilst admitting her love for the gravy (and the song, really).
In a year when Christmas feels more uncertain yet more needed than ever, the collection of nostalgic adverts aims to celebrate culinary memories with loved ones and transport us through time by centring around three personal stories of modern British families and their connection to Christmas food. It’s another one to be created by Wieden+Kennedy.
Tesco – No Naughty List
Directed by Raine Allen-Miller from Somesuch and developed by BBH, Tesco’s festive offering this year absolves us of our sins by saying, “After a year like this, we believe there is no naughty list. So go on Britain, treat yourself to the best Christmas ever”. We can live with that.
We see a few characters admit they bought too many loo rolls. While others confess to poor video call etiquette. But the supermarket tells us to indulge anyway, as we “deserve it”. It’s a cheeky, fun spot all backed by one of Britney Spears’ classics, Oops I Did It Again.
Three: Your Phone’s Seen A Lot This Year by Wonderhood Studios, London
Three’s holiday campaign, directed by award-winning director, Simon Ratigan, shows 2020 through the eyes of our phones – from heart-felt kisses on video calls to working from home and virtual quizzes, all voiced by a choir that sings what unrelenting hard work it is to be a phone.
In the end, the lead drops her trusty phone, just in time to get a deal on a shiny new one from Three.
Coca-Cola – Give something only you can give
The two-and-a-half minute clip follows the story of a dad trying to deliver his daughter’s letter to Santa against all odds.
And it was actually directed by Oscar winner Taika Waititi, who has worked on films such as JoJo Rabbit and Thor: Ragnarok.
notonthehighstreet.com: The Magic of Small Things by Friendly Giants
Notonthehighstreet, the UK’s curated online marketplace for the UK’s best small creative businesses, reveals its first airtime TV Christmas advertising campaign in three years.
The ad, which focuses on ‘The Magic of Small Things’, taps into the national, pandemic-accelerated shift towards supporting small, local businesses, and to cherishing simple moments of connection that have become even more important in 2020.
Aldi: Kevin’s Out in the Cold by McCann UK
Aldi has finally premiered its Christmas ad from McCann which sees Kevin the Carrot return to screens to mark the start of the festive season, bringing with him some much-needed wonder and magic.
The country was left on tenterhooks and rooting for the plucky carrot’s safe return following his appearance earlier this week in a teaser advert. Just days ago, Kevin set the sky alight, Top Gun style, in a fighter jet escapade with co-pilot Turkey.
He was left perilously adrift with a flaming parachute, leaving fans asking Where is Kevin, and will he manage to get home to Katie and family in time for Christmas?
Myer – Bigger than Christmas, Clemenger BBDO, Melbourne
Myer is helping put the joy back into 2020, with a Christmas campaign via Clemenger BBDO Melbourne, encouraging Australians to come together to celebrate all of the moments they’ve missed out on this year and make this Christmas even ‘Bigger than Christmas’.
From birthday parties, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, anniversaries, Easter, and weddings that have had to be put on hold or celebrated in isolation – Australians will be packing it all into one day where they can celebrate it all.
To launch the campaign, Myer have today released an original Christmas carol that reflects on the events and occasions that were a little different this year, using iconic Aussie satire and sunny-side up sense of humour.
The campaign will come to life across all facets of the major Australian retailer’s communications including: advertising, visual merchandising, stores and digital platforms. It also showcases Myer’s ultimate, curated, one-stop Giftorium experience, which includes an exclusive partnership with Disney. In addition, Myer Gifticians will solve all gift giving needs to suit all ages and budgets, there will be complimentary gift wrapping along with the option for customers to round up their purchases at the point of sale, with proceeds going to charity.
David Jones – The home of Christmas for 182 years, Sydney
David Jones is waving goodbye to 2020 and warmly welcoming the festive season with ‘The Home of Christmas for 182 years’, a nostalgic Christmas campaign inviting all Australians to celebrate 182 Christmases with the iconic department store.
Founded in 1838, David Jones has seen almost 200 years of Australia’s heritage through its famous windows. From the perspective of looking out, not in; ‘The Home of Christmas for 182 years’ celebrates two centuries of Christmas shoppers peering through the glass, uniting the years with a sense of joy and delight.
Michael Hill Jewellers – It truly is the thought that counts, CHE Proximity
Michael Hill Jeweller has launched its Christmas brand campaign in collaboration with CHE Proximity, based on the premise of helping a loved one rediscover their sparkle.
The film shows an all too familiar chaotic evening routine for mum, kids, and the family dog, which culminates in a bedtime story.
Mum resonates with the lead character who, ‘at the end of a year of endless debacle’, realises that she had ‘lost her sparkle.’
This doesn’t go unnoticed by her kids, and on Christmas Day, mum spots a thoughtful little treasure trove labelled ‘to mummy’, with a purple Michael Hill box.
Marks and Spencer: This is M&S Christmas Food by Grey London’
In a year when charity funding has declined almost 25%, this Christmas M&S Food has announced it will donate £2m to good causes, saying it’s not a year for “Christmas advertising fairytales”.
Central to this, M&S Food is shining a light on a number of important charities, partnering with nine world-famous actors who have added their unmistakable voices to nine brand new Christmas food ads, shot in its signature ‘food porn’ style.
The star-studded voiceover cast — which includes Tom Hardy, Olivia Colman, Helen Mirren and Chiwetel Ejiofor have all chosen to work with M&S, selecting charities close to their hearts to which M&S Food will make a donation on their behalf.
And M&S is doing the same for customers. Every time a customer signed up to its sparks loyalty scheme shops at M&S in-store or online at M&S.com, it will donate to their selected charity, from a range of 35 different causes.
M&S Food will also donate an additional £1million across a diverse range of charities including Shelter, Together for Short Lives and the 35 Sparks charities that M&S supports. Through Sparks, M&S has donated £7.3 million since 2015.
Very.co.uk: Christmas is this Very moment’ by Grey
Very.co.uk has launched a funny Christmas campaign, its first from Grey London, which encourages people to embrace every single moment in the countdown to December 25 instead of focusing on the clichéd portrayal of Christmas day.
The charmingly honest film sends the message that the best thing about Christmas is not just Christmas day but the combination of all the wonderfully festive moments in the build-up to Christmas, from Christmas lights and the all-important tree to Christmas jammies.
Javier Campopiano, chief creative officer Europe and creative chairman London at Grey, said: “It’s a different Christmas message, a message that offers the unfiltered point of view of someone who truly loves everything about Christmas, every single bit that makes it such a magical season.
“Not only is it different to what the brand and its customers have seen before, but we’re confident it’ll resonate right now when we’re facing the prospect of a very different festive period.”
Argos: An Evening with AbracaDaisy & The Incredible Lucy
Despite scrapping its paper catalogue in June after 47 years, Argos has brought out the second chapter in its ‘Book of Dreams’ campaign, which once again taps into the nostalgia that people feel for flicking through the pages of its Christmas gift guide.
Though the original ‘Book of Dreams’ is currently out of print, Argos has brought out a Christmas gift guide to replace it. In the spot, two girls spot a box of magic tricks on the pages of the guide, which transports them off to the furthest reaches of the imagination, to a world where they have their own extraordinary magic show.
Last year saw Argos introduce the ‘Book of Dreams,‘ dropping its playful ‘Christmas Fool‘ character in favour of a more family-oriented spot. Both were created by The&Partnership.
“Last year‘s Christmas ad performed extremely well for us,” explains Argos‘ senior campaign manager, Rob Quartermain. “This year, we‘ve taken that idea on another step. It felt like a really powerful and strong idea and something that‘s uniquely Argos.”
Amazon: The Show Must Go On by Lucky Generals
This year Amazon tells the inspiring story of a determined young ballerina who inadvertently brings her community together amid the challenges of this year.
Set to an arrangement of Queen’s ‘The Show Must Go On‘ the film features 17-year-old French ballet dancer, Taïs Vinolo as her character is forced to train from home due to the pandemic.
While her dreams of dancing a lead role are cancelled due to Covid-19, she doesn’t let this hold her back and she continues to practice her routine – dancing wherever and whenever she can. Inspired by her resolution and resolve, her sister and the community around her pull together to give her a stage and an audience in an emotional finale.
Last year, Amazon released a Love Actually-style spot, that featured a little girl playing Everybody Needs Somebody to Love, a flirty couple and its hallmark singing parcels.
TK Maxx: Lil’ Goat by Wieden+Kennedy
For its Christmas ad this year, TK Maxx has introduced ‘Lil’ Goat’ – a sassy, enviably dressed little goat.
As ‘Lil’ Goat’ struts across a snowy landscape, her farmers watch her go by. The wife questions her husband, “Did you buy the goat a designer outfit?” Gary, instead of conforming to the stoic farmer type, looks on tenderly with a tear in his eye and replies, replies proudly, “Yes, she’s had such a hard year. She bloomin’ well deserves it if you ask me”. The ad concludes with the jubilant goat sliding freely across the icy terrain, embodying the off-price retailer’s spirited and often humorous nature to deliver an important message – after the year we’ve had, everyone deserves to feel special this Christmas.
Last year TK Maxx adopted a daredevil skier called TK to show how shoppers can enter autopilot in its stores.
Lego: And I Think to Myself… by Lego Agency
The Lego Group celebrates the magic of the everyday as experienced by children through play. It showcases families coming together and experiencing the joyful, humorous adventures that children create and explore as they build, unbuild and rebuild with Lego products.
Part of its ‘Rebuild the World’ brand campaign, the playful storyline is set to a bespoke reimagining of ‘What a Wonderful World’
In the whimsical adventure, every story, animal and vehicle in the fun-filled celebration of children’s creativity are based on existing Lego products; princess knights calm dragons, astronauts celebrate their marriage with dinosaurs and giant chicken, and a Star Wars AT-AT takes a nap mid-crusade.
Pepsi Max: Christmas Refreshed by Truant London
Pepsi Max has partnered with rap artists Kamakaze and TrueMendous for its new Christmas spot.
‘Christmas Refreshed‘ sees Pepsi shatter old Christmas traditions, offering an alternative view. ‘Traditional is so cliché‘ the rappers declare, and throughout the ad longstanding Christmas tropes are replaced with cool alternatives – a sledge is replaced by a hench soundsystem, a festive jumper transforms into a sick Pepsi jacket.
TBWA: Ian Wright & Family by Portal from Facebook
Portal from Facebook launches a brand new holiday campaign with national treasure and footballing legend, Ian Wright.
Each family moment in the campaign showcases how a different feature of Portal is helping the Wrights feel like they’re hanging out together. From the AI-powered Smart Camera, AR filters, through to Group calling and Rooms, Portal’s technology allows the family to focus on what matters; coming together during the holidays and keeping their family traditions – like making fun of Dad – alive.
Asda: That’s An Asda Price Christmas by AMV BBDO
This year, Asda was one of the first of the major supermarkets to launch its Christmas ad.
With England on the eve of its second lockdown, many are looking to the festive season to bring a little cheer to the end of 2020. Featuring the tagline, ‘the Christmas we all need, at the prices we want’ the spot sees the return of Asda super-fan Sunny and his wife and children as they try to bring some seasonal cheer to their Scrooge-like next-door-neighbour, Christine.
The spot has won praise for its no-frills approach to this year’s festivities, acknowledging that “Christmas is going to be different this year so let’s really make the most of it.”
Walkers: A Sausage CaRoll by Elvis
Walkers Crisps has released its Christmas offering starring YouTuber and Christmas No.1 holder, LadBaby, with supporting rolls from East 17’s Tony Mortimer, Walking in the Air singer Aled Jones, and Walker’s mainstay, Gary Lineker.
In the spot, the gang performs a medley of Christmas carols with lyrics adapted to herald the arrival of Walker’s new sausage roll flavoured crisps.
The ad was created in partnership with The Trussell Trust, the charity which supports food banks across the UK. The crisp brand has pledged to help LadBaby raise more money than ever in its name this Christmas. Walkers had already pledged £1m to The Trussell Trust earlier this year, as the charity needs more support than ever due to the ongoing effects of the pandemic.