Friday, 2 December 2016

02/12/16 - Christmas Ads

Oh look, it’s December. That means everything has to be all about Christmas, yes? OK, so let’s take a look at the Christmas adverts that have emerged so far. As ever, it’s a bit of a mixed bag…

We have to start, as tradition dictates, with the John Lewis ad. They’ve been top dog in the mawkish sentimentality charts for years now, so we expect their 2016 festive outing to be something special, right?
Er, no, unfortunately not. It’s a bit shit, actually. My principle takeout from it is one of squeamishness, in that there’s no way in hell I’d let my daughter play on a trampoline that had recently had so many filthy creatures shedding their rank spores all over it.

Flagrantly disregards the fact that some animals hibernate, too. Honestly.
OK, moving on… next up we have the Sainsbury’s effort.
This is much better – beautiful animation, very engaging. You almost don’t notice that it’s THREE AND A HALF BLOODY MINUTES LONG. Because it’s worth watching, it really is.

H&M’s advert is probably the best of the bunch. (No, this list isn’t ranked in any logical way. If you feel like building to your own personal crescendo, maybe leave this one and come back to it later.)
It was directed by Wes Anderson. That’s pretty much all you need to know.

‘Santa Forgot’ is the Stephen Fry-narrated animation for Alzheimer’s Research UK, and it’s a wonderful reworking of the traditional Christmas feelgood extravaganza, cleverly subverting expectation to swing your emotions in another direction. Proper little tearjerker.

Of all the brands you’d expect to make it big in the Christmas TV ad rankings, you could probably keep reeling them off for days before arriving at Heathrow Airport. But look, it’s actually rather lovely:

I’m contractually obliged by my employer to point out the brilliance of the McDonald’s Christmas ad. But I would even if I wasn’t, because it genuinely is ace. And now I’m getting loads of people asking whether the doll in the advert is available to buy. (It isn’t, sorry. You’re thinking of John Lewis. STOP THINKING ABOUT JOHN LEWIS, IT’S OVER.)

I’m similarly obliged to sing the praises of this festive Co-op effort. But again, it actually is excellent – given that the world has swung into unprecedented depths of evil in 2016, what with Brexit, Trump and the continued popularity of Honey G, it’s gratifying to find that The Co-op are perhaps the only retailer who aren’t complete bastards.

Ooh yes, the Marks & Spencer one! Have you seen this? It’s glorious. Love this. Another three-minuter, but well worth the effort.

This thing from German supermarket EDEKA makes a useful Christmas point; don’t overlook your kids in the pursuit of getting everything organised for the festive season – you have to keep focused on the true meaning of Christmas. (No, not Jesus. No-one’s into Christmas for the religious angle, that’s boring. Family, that’s what it’s all about. And presents, and getting smashed, and eating too much. But mostly family.)

The annual yuletide emotionfest for the Spanish State Lottery is a great one for fans of widespread mendacity against confused old ladies.

Apple’s Christmas ad is basically just that bit from the end of Elf where they all start singing together in the street… except, er, with Frankenstein’s monster. Seriously, look:

This shitty Lexus ad from the US makes the useful point that forgery is justifiable if it means getting free stuff. A festive message.

Another shit car ad from America, this ones aims to convince you that Mercedes-Benzes are the only cars that can be driven in the snow. (And it also tacitly implies that you’re better off dating within your social strata – if your dad’s got a Merc, don’t try to take a poor girl to the movies. Urgh.)

Macy’s. Hmm. I’m not sure if I like this or not. It’s beautiful to look at, they undoubtedly threw a huge budget at it… but the bit where the Santa balloon winks had me cringing hard. And why the fuck isn’t the old man surprised when the enormous balloon turns up at his house? I’d be bloody terrified.

Lots of ad-wankers have been quite scathing about Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot ad, but they can all sod off, tbh. It made me smile, and that’s basically the point of Christmas ads. (Well, aside from selling shit.) I like his reaction when he grates himself.

Harvey Nichols? Yep, this is registering pretty high on the WTF-o-meter. Genuinely bizarre.

If had released this five years ago, it would have been massive and people would have been saying ‘Ooh, it’s the Christmas ad of the year’. But nowadays this kind of thing just gets lost in the noise. I mean, yeah, it’s OK.

Wanna hear an elderly lady gargling? TK Maxx have got you covered. Oh, and this one’s got a dog in it too, because adverts have to have fucking dogs in them now.

Amazon aim to solve the global epidemic of colossal religious dickheadery by showing a priest and an imam having a cup of tea together. There’s a bit of unnecessary will-they-won’t-they sexual tension, plus a completely unbelievable bit when they both order the same gift for each other through Prime, and neither of them has the logical reaction on delivery that any normal person would have of saying ‘Shit, I must have had it delivered to me by mistake instead of him’.

Oh, and of course it wouldn’t be Christmas without Coca-Cola’s fleet of massive red lorries. Except that… no, there’s no ‘Holidays are coming, holidays are coming’ trucks here – just a bunch of people finding bottles of Coke and drinking them without pausing to consider that they might actually belong to someone else. Even Santa does it, the bastard.
(Coca-Cola disabled embedding for some reason, so you'll have to click here.)

...and that’s your lot. Yeah, there are lots of other Christmas ads, but this could go on forever, frankly.

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