Accessible Marketing

A marketers view on the 2016 Christmas Ads

by Judith Hutchinson

The big brands have well and truly launched their Christmas ads and I have been watching them with interest.  As they say on strictly – the scores are in….

John Lewis

Probably the most anticipated ad of the year.   #BusterTheBoxer is a move towards the feel good factor. Presumably the emotive brief was to make people smile (heaven knows we need it after the year of death and political change that was 2016)

If I’m going to nitpick I would say it did initially strike me as being slightly weird and unrealistic – not in the sense that foxes, squirrels and badgers wouldn’t be bouncing around on a trampoline but in the sense that nobody (surely) sits facing the telly with the window open on a dark night (close the curtains and get cosy!) and it never ever snows on Christmas Eve (well not where I’m from anyway).  I also feel the music would be better suited to a holiday brand – it’s not about flying it’s about jumping?


This ad is begging for parodies – already we have seen the US election parody of it and Argos have come up trumps with their yetis on a trampoline video . And as for the funny folk at Tennents Lager hehe!

I’ve also seen people uploading videos of their trampolining pets (JL what have you started) and their own dogs jumping around when they see Buster jumping!   All this will continue to get people engaging with the brand and spread the feel good factor (provided no real animals are hurt at least!).  Even before the ad was launched some were fooled by the snowglobe John Lewis ad that a student submitted for his A level coursework – more good PR for John Lewis!

Whilst this ad is not, in my opinion, the best John Lewis have produced they are to be commended on the way they have integrated this across the board including the use of in-store snap-chat filters, twitter stickers, virtual reality in store at their Oxford Street branch and the accompanying imagery they are using across social channels.

I’m liking their continued link with charities and this year they have used several animals, rather than one penguin or a telescope, which at £15 a pop may mean you get people buying more than one.

Time will tell (and any future profit warnings) as to whether JL have managed to pull it off this year.  There seems to be plenty of other brands hot on the heels (or should that be paws) of Buster….


I can’t lie this ad immediately struck a chord with me – I like #kevinthecarrot and not just because he got excited about seeing the John Lewis ad but because he looks cute and says ‘great’ when he gets caught on the grater (it’s the little things eh?).

There is just one thing about this ad that irks me – you wouldn’t lay out Christmas dinner on Christmas eve?  Imagine how cold that mash would be (urgh!).  But I do think Kevin has legs and could really go places Aldi just needs to ensure they are integrating their ad with their offline and social media activities as well as they possibly can.


I like the animation and the voice over being James Corden was a good choice – there’s something christmassy about his voice and I can’t decide if it’s because I like the Christmas Gavin and Stacey episode or whether him narrating the gruffalo (which is always screened around this time of year) makes me think of Christmas.   I’m a working parent so I get where they were trying to go with the #christmasisforsharing message.


I do find the ad too long and whilst I appreciate the sentiment if my husband thinks the greatest gift he can give is himself they’ll be trouble!

Marks and Spencer 

There’s something very Helen Mirren about Mrs Claus don’t you think?   This ad is very obviously aimed at women as it’s basically saying that women save Christmas (true).  It’s a move away from their normally product driven advertisements and a very firm move towards emotive brand advertising.    The reason I #lovemrsclaus is her choice of reading material!   Creative but I’m not sure it draws enough out about the M&S brand.


I like the concept of treating people who would normally work on Christmas day but already I have noticed Boots getting some stick on social media for not including policewomen.   A great sentiment but perhaps could have been better executed by telling more personal stories and possibly taking this to another level in terms of their bigger CSR plan.


I know there are plenty of people liking this ad but…. I just don’t.  A death defying Robin who rewards himself with a mince pie – let’s hope your mince-pies live up to the hype Waitrose.   And do Robins live in pairs in the winter (yes, yes OK more nitpicking)?

The rest..

I like the Christmas related stats but I’m not sure Morrisons can claim to make Christmas – surely I do?

As for Ikea are they telling us it’s only people in high rise flats that buy their furniture?  Their Christmas ad doesn’t seem to be gaining traction and I suspect life for that particular lady is not wonderful everyday! Perhaps more of a feel good factor needed here although I can appreciate what they were trying to do.

From a personal sense I think Aldi is my winner and from a marketing point the bottom lines will tell us.


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