Holidays are coming….

•Disclaimer – this post isn’t about Coca-Cola…. But it is about CHRISTMAS!

Yes, it is only November 13th but Christmas is next month, NEXT MONTH. I mean where has 2017 gone? Even the Berkshire countryside has started to shed it’s beautiful autumnal leaves in preparation.

If you’re one of those people that can’t stand getting into the festive spirit until December 24th then I strongly suggest that you look away now, because it’s happened, the John Lewis Christmas advert is here – and that means we are now officially locked into the festive period – no questions asked. John Lewis has officially opened Christmas 2017.

Being a design agency, it’s obvioulsy part of our contracted hours to keep abreast of the ad-game (isn’t it?) and we’ve noticed that it’s not just John Lewis that is monopolising the Xmas Ad market this year; the other big retailers have come out swinging with their 2017 offerings as well. So, the real question is – who did it best?

Ever since the tear jerking epic effort of their 2011 The Long Wait advert, John Lewis has held the title of most loved Christmas ad and has managed to keep on delivering year on year. This is no mean feat considering the time, money and effort that most major, and lower league, retailers put into their Christmas advertising campaigns, so it’s safe to assume that the JL communications teams really feel the pressure as advert debut day approaches every year.

So now that #MozTheMonster has made his debut as the new proposed star of Christmas 2017, he might find that he’s got some rather competitive company this season as Asda, M&S and Aldi have all unveiled equally as powerful and emotive advertising campaigns at the same time. So, what does this mean? Does John Lewis still hold the crown or has the retail giant been beaten at its own misty-eyed Xmas game? Well let’s break it down and investigate…

John Lewis


The John Lewis advert is a short tale of an unlikely friendship between a young boy and the imaginary monster that lives under his bed – said monster being Moz.

As with all festive JL ads, the soundtrack is of course a sultry cover by some kind of uber-trendy, melancholy artist. This year the honour was bestowed upon Manchester natives, Elbow who have dutifully recorded a haunting rendition of The Beatles song ‘Golden Slumbers.’

The advert unfolds to reveal the antics that Moz and Joe get up to after-hours – this involves much fun, laughter and piggy backing. Non-too surprisingly, these late-night playdates leave Joe feeling very tired during the daytime. So Moz, being the kind and caring monster he is, solves the problem by gifting Joe a night light that once switched on causes Moz to disappear. (I’m not crying you are).

Now it seems that the main goal of a successful JL advert is to make people cry – and I have to say, until I heard the reassuring snore of Moz at the very end of the advert, myself and the rest of the Maidenhead office, were on the verge of an emotional breakdown. But do the masses agree? Has John Lewis delivered this year and kept the crown?

The advert received a really mixed reaction online with twitter users complaining that the advert wasn’t emotive enough and newspaper headlines have accused JL of approaching the 2017 campaign with a ‘will this do?’ attitude – so not quite the overwhelming adoration that I’m sure the John Lewis team were hoping for…


Asda – not the first name you think of for a memorable Christmas advert, but this year the superstore has gone all Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on us and created a Willy Wonka inspired workshop that a young girl and her grandfather manage to sneak their way in to. Already pretty magical, right? Inside the workshop they discover the secret recipes that make up a spectacular Asda Christmas – including Reindeers powering Xmas pudding food mixers and a Gin room that shoots out gin as you walk through it (hmm can I get a quote on one of those for my hallway please?).

All in all, the combination of CGI animation and a real-life awe-inspiring set make for a visual spectacle that shows Asda’s commitment to being a major player in the big-festive ad game this year.

Despite being the first Christmas advert to launch in 2017 however, and promising 4 more 30 second follow up ‘episodes’, Asda isn’t enjoying as much online reaction as some of its supermarket counterparts – but nevertheless it has shown its teeth as a future festive advertising heavyweight so watch this space for 2018…


Aldi have gone for consistency this year and brought back Kevin the Carrot – and I’m kind of here for it. I like Kevin, as root vegetables go, he’s actually pretty relatable – and this time around, he’s in love.

Kevin, our heroic orange protagonist, is minding his own business on a train (one presumes heading home for the holidays) when he spies Katie (also a Carrot) on the train. Overcome with love at first sight, Kevin tackles the treacherous terrain across the carriage, dodging a varied amount of food based obstacles on his way, before eventually falling into the arms of his new-found love.

What is especially great about this advert are the subtle references to romantic blockbusters including Titanic and The Bodyguard that are included, plus, and this is the real kicker, it’s narrated by none other than Jim Broadbent. I mean they couldn’t have done better if they’d had Santa Claus himself on the microphone. There isn’t a single festive family blockbuster that Broadbent’s name isn’t attached to, and Kevin is likely to feel the benefits of co-staring with such a national treasure.

Again, in comparison to the buzz surrounding its competitors, Aldi’s offering is still sitting just below the top spot – but I have high hopes for Kevin and I really hope he survives another Christmas dinner to make it back to our screens next year.


Ok so I really have saved the best until last here. M&S have pulled out all the stops for 2017 by combining their Xmas advert with the release of the new Paddington Bear film. Yes, they are actually using PADDINGTON BEAR in their advert – I really would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when that news dropped in the John Lewis press office.

Not only is he in the advert, but Paddington manages to single handedly save Christmas when he mistakes a burglar for Father Christmas and inadvertently makes him return all of the presents he’s stolen – it’s festive AND rehabilitating – bravo M&S, bravo.

And it’s not just me who has fallen for the M&S advert hook line and sinker, take a little sniff around on social media and you’ll see that public sentiment is fully behind the campaign as well. So, I think It’s fair to say that M&S might have taken the crown here – I mean using the OG Paddington Bear is kind of a mic drop moment after all…

So, there you have it folks – Christmas is hurtling towards us full tilt and John Lewis are probably sobbing away into their matching #MozTheMonster Xmas jumpers as we speak…

Need some alternate non-xmas advert inspiration? Take a look at some of the design, digital and strategic campaigns we’ve been creating for our lovely clients throughout Marlow and beyond!