By our Lead Designer Andrew Bennett.

 

It’s that time of year again: last minute shopping, massive food shops, children’s choirs belting out renditions of Wham’s Last Christmas. So, in true Christmas fashion, we’ve decided to do a round-up of the best and worst festive brand campaigns this year, so you don’t have to. You’re welcome!

 

THE NICE LIST...

 

Twitter

Let’s face it, John Lewis has had the monopoly on the Christmas advert scene for a while now. While this year’s advert didn’t quite live up to the hype, Twitter decided to tell the untold story of John Lewis, the guy who gets mistaken on Twitter for John Lewis (the store) and it’s pretty amazing.

 

Sky

In an uncertain world, Sky wanted to ask the big question this festive season: is Die Hard a Christmas movie? Partnering with music and comedy duo Cassetteboy, they go about answering the question. We’ll let you decide the answer.

 

Virgin Trains

Virgin trains gave us a real winner this Christmas season, with their mental health campaign on platforms from Glasgow to London. They emblazoned quotes from Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life straight onto the platforms to encourage kindness, calmness and festive warmth during Christmas travels. Nicely done. 

 

 

Iceland

The biggest Christmas advert story this year has to be the Iceland ‘Rang-tan’ advert created in partnership with Greenpeace. Highlighting the damage done by palm oil farming in Borneo, it told the story of a young orangutan whose home is being destroyed, so palm oil farms can be planted. The advert was banned for being political and so it never aired. It achieved its goal though, becoming the most talked about ad this year and arguably the best.

 

Google

It goes without saying that Home Alone is one of the best Christmas films of all time. And this year Google teamed up with Kevin McAllister himself, Macauley Culkin, to do an advert for Google Assistant that recreates classic scenes from the movie. Guaranteed to put a smile on the face of every '90s kid who grew up watching it.

 

 

THE NAUGHTY LIST...

 

Boots

Creating something compelling which tugs at the heart strings is really hard. Boots had a good go at it but although its intentions are good, does it deliver?  Traditionally a Christmas advert has to be emotional and engaging, we can think of countless ads that do this - Mog The Cat for Sainsbury's, Bear And Rabbit for John Lewis and #reindeerready for MacDonald’s. The jury's out on whether this one from Boots creates a compelling enough emotional response.

 

Irn Bru

Ok, in fairness this is actually a classic - but it’s on the naughty list because it took Irn Bru 12 years to create the sequel to their original The Snowman ad. 

 

John Lewis

Normally John Lewis has the best advert of the year. This year’s attempt proved to have a lot in common with Marmite amongst audiences. It lacks the cuteness and emotion of previous campaigns, instead deciding to follow the story of Elton John's hairline. Watch it, you’ll see what we mean. 

 

Sainsbury's

We love the Sainsbury's Christmas ad this year. Sadly, a small number of the general public didn’t quite like it. The unlikely star of the Sainsburys advert was a little boy dressed as a three-pinned plug jumping into a socket, which prompted dozens of complaints to the advertising watchdog over health and safety fears. 

Not everyone thought it was all bad though - some thought the two-second clip of the ‘boy plug’ was better than the entire John Lewis campaign, so Sainsbury's can hold onto that this year.