Black Friday has been and gone. Cyber Monday is behind us (is that still a thing?). So it’s probably safe to say all the 2023 Christmas adverts are now out and frolicking in the wild, spreading their glittery goodness across our TVs and our phones. We’ve donned our uncomfortable novelty jumpers and sat down by an open fire, mulled wine and yule log at hand, to watch them all and share some of our thoughts on a few of these festive miracles.
Christmas Adverts – Our Take On The Class of 23
BY Richard Revell | Journal | 28/11/2023
So, first question: are you ok Tesco? Do you need to talk to someone? The supermarket giant’s offer this year involves people turning into Christmas decorations, an advert which would make even Noel Fielding wince and think ‘that’s a bit weird’. They’ve fallen into the classic trap of doing something ‘wacky’ to stand out, but with no actual purpose behind it. I’ll be honest, it’s a long way from Prunella Scales and Jane Horrocks.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like if they did a reboot of The Matrix sequels, but instead of Agent Smith, the antagonist was Father Christmas instead? Coca-Cola seems to have done just that, with Santa duplicating himself until the whole world is nothing but copies of himself. The reveal that we’re actually seeing people’s inner Santa, and we should all be nice to each other (preferably while drinking sugary bottles of flavoured carbonate) is actually quite heartwarming though, and the truck cameo at the end is a nice touch.
It’s not easy to jump on the Christmas bandwagon when your product has literally nothing to do with the season. KFC’s marketing team have obviously come to the same conclusion, so have implemented the classic expectation subversion trick, which is a clever touch, though I’m not so sure why they’ve chosen the Italia 90 theme as the backing music.
You’ve got to feel for the John Lewis team. They knocked it out of the park a few times years back with their Christmas ads, and now they’ve got an unmanageable weight of expectation on them to do the same every year. 2023’s offering seems to be a mash-up of their greatest hits – we’ve got the little lad waiting impatiently, a monstrous friend causing havoc, someone sadly looking from the outside in at all the fun happening without them, and an international superstar providing the music (though this time it’s Andrea Bocelli rather than Elton).
Marks & Spencer
This is not just a Christmas ad, this is a Wrexham FC ad.
Not one of the big names when it comes to Christmas retailers, but this is one of the best ads out there, thanks to the inspired move of bringing in Aardman. They’ve produced an ad with Sean the Sheep and crew down on the farm that gives you some genuine laughs, a bit of pathos and a nice festive feeling, all in less than 90 seconds. And they’ve called it Baa-bour – of course Baa-bour!
The German supermarket chain hit gold a few years back with their Kevin the Carrot ad. Not only did it strike a chord with the nation, with customers fighting each other in the middle aisle to get their hands on the plush toy version at stores up and down the land, it also gave them a great set of characters that they could do anything with year after year. 2023’s ad is Kevin in the Christmas Factory, right about the same time there’s large publicity for the Wonka film. Pure coincidence or is that just my imagination?
This ad is well urban and down with the kids innit (this is absolutely authentic street lingo I’m reliably informed). Which is good because it’s true to their brand. On first glance it seems as if they’re just selling a carrier bag, but it’s actually telling the story of how it’s a constant part of people’s lives, there at all the important moments, in that really annoying way that bank adverts do.
I love this ad, mainly because I never know what to buy my nan for Christmas, and now they’ve given me the perfect idea. Don’t know why getting an octogenarian a sledge hadn’t occurred to me before …
Oven glove puppets singing? Lots of lovely food to look at? The original version of the song, rather than some drippy acoustic version? Visuals matching the lyrics? Yes please. Ok, it does immediately remind me of the Piranha Plants on Parade level of Super Mario Bros. Wonder but that’s no bad thing at all.