We might not like to admit it, but November is here already and with it, the battle for king of the Christmas adverts has already begun. And guess what? We LOVE it.

We can imagine how it goes once spring starts to wind down and the ambiguity of the summer month start to creep in. The anxiety of every marketing team working for a leading retailer rises. Sleepless nights ensue followed by what we can only imagine are tense zoom calls, toe-curling reactions to storyboards, and no doubt overly emotional responses to every single piece of feedback or brainstorming session. We get it, playing the Christmas advertising game in the big leagues is not for the faint of heart, but boy oh boy do we like to watch the creativity unfurl across our screens when November hits.

In this blog we’re looking at the big three that have launched straight off the bat this month, John Lewis, M&S and Disney. Here’s our hot take on how they’ve done…

John Lewis

Naturally, we’re beginning with the blueprint for the tear-jerker Christmas advert, Mr John Lewis himself. Now, for the last few years, JL has been a bit shaky on nailing what was once its winning formula, so it’s safe to say that critics have waited with bated breath for 2021’s offering. The result? An intergalactic love story set to the schmaltzy dulcet tones of Lola Young singing 80s classic Together in Electric Dreams. Told through the eyes of a young boy who stumbles across an alien companion in need, what follows is a cutsie love story that sees the protagonist showing his alien friend all the best earthly Christmas traditions before she flies off forever with his (pretty cool) Christmas jumper. Classic. You won’t be seeing that again Nathan I’m afraid pal.
Is it a well put together modern mash-up of ET meets Love Actually? Sure. Does it slap as hard as Power of Love Mr and Mrs Snowman or make the tears flow like The Long Wait did? Not so much. None the less it does make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside when the snow begins to fall and a grumpy neighbour gets wound up, so a solid 7.5 out of 10 from us.

Marks & Spencer

This isn’t just a Christmas advert, this is an M&S Christmas advert, and if there’s one thing the retailer knows how to do it’s to throw some money at the problem and see what comes up. The end product is a VERY personable animated Percy Pig (hats off to the delectable Tom Holland’s voice for bringing the little porker to life) who follows a tinkerbell-esque Dawn French around to look at all of M&S’s tastiest Christmas treats.
Now, what we like most about this advert is the marketing campaign around it. The store ran a successful social campaign online in the run-up, #whoispercypig, to tease the new voice of Percy, which turned out to be Spider Man himself. Kudos to whoever secured the bag for that deal. While the story isn’t exactly profound when it comes to Christmas theatrics, the launch of an animated mascot feels like a nice change of pace for the brand and (hopefully) lays the foundation for more creativity to come. We’re giving M&S a nice round 8 of our 10 for this one.

Disney ad

Not one we usually include in the Christmas advert analysis, but this year Disney has come out swinging with an emotive, all-around club banger of an advert that quite literally ticks all of the Christmas feels boxes. Titled, The Stepdad, the advert follows the animated festive adventures of a man moving in with his partner and her two children. Viewers are then transported on a nostalgic journey through Disney’s back catalogue as we see well-known characters like Buzz Lightyear, Ella, Elsa and Moana come to life as the family bond over Disney classics together at Christmastime. And all set against a thumping soundtrack of Love Runs Deeper by Gregory Porter.
It’s wholesome, it’s well put together and it’s an ingenious way of reminding people that Disney films really do make up a large amount of family time at Christmas. Bravo Disney, you’ve positioned yourself as a front runner this year, it’s a 9.5 out of 10 from the Pistachio team!

Well, there’s our run-down of the top three Christmas ads for 2021 so far, stay tuned as we’re sure they’ll be many more worthy contenders to add to the mix as the weeks roll on towards the big day. In the meantime, if you’re stuck on what to do for a last-minute Christmas campaign of your own, why not get in touch with us today, we’d love to hear from you.