2017 Christmas Advert Run-Down
- by Harriet Sail
- 20 Nov 2017
Hold on to your reindeers, because here is Career Moves’ run down of the biggest Christmas adverts 2017 has to offer. Prepare for spoilers left right and figgy pudding.
Marks & Spencer:
Marks & Spencer relied on a trustworthy recipe this year to cook up a Christmas storm. A well-loved children’s classic combines with a villainous character becomes a selfless individual celebrating the power of Christmas goodwill, and the dependable human/non-human bond we have seen in countless successful Christmas adverts.
All three of these components are guaranteed yuletide winners. Paddington bear inspires audiences across the generations; he reminds adults of their own childhood memories, and captivates the children of today following the recent box office success of Paddington 2. The character arc from that of a selfish villain into the bringer of joy is also tried and tested in stories such as the Grinch and A Christmas Carol. Finally, the connection between creature and human has had proven success in John Lewis’s 2014 Monty the Penguin advert, the Heathrow Airport teddy bears of 2016, and the 2015 Mog the Cat Sainsbury’s story. Mix this all together with an extra pinch of sentimentality and nostalgia, and you’ve got yourself a smash hit! (And an aggressive demand from the nation’s under-ten population for a Paddington Bear of their own: conveniently available in M&S stores everywhere.)
Tesco’s ‘Turkey Every Which Way’ advert follows a different theme to the sentimental, cutesy creature formula that so many of the favourite adverts adhere to. Put down your pitchforks though, this is one of the best for 2017.
It is so likeable is because instead of portraying a perfect, magical Christmas fantasy, the advert holds a mirror to the ugly sides of the season: and celebrates them as well. Controlling mothers-in-law criticise the basting, blasé teenagers survey the turkey indifferently, and a stressed-out mother shouts at her family. Seeing the characters within the advert act like real life, dysfunctional families is hilarious. This warts-and-all depiction evokes real, personalised memories of past Christmases for each viewer: endearment and nostalgia mix together with the realisation that everyone’s Christmases are actually very similar: never the make-believe scene that other adverts (for instance Coca-Cola’s rosy-cheeked darlings meeting Santa) promise.
For years John Lewis has been at the top of the Christmas advert hierarchy, enough excitement and suspense builds up to rival the biggest film releases of the year. But 2017’s Moz the Monster has been met with mixed reviews.
Firstly, the premise of the story is completely conflicting. Viewers watch the friendship between Moz and Joe (the classic adorable child that makes a Christmas advert a tearjerker) blossom, all for it to be ripped away at the end when Moz disappears. We are supposed to be happy about this because Joe now has a pretty nightlight and falls asleep. If, say, Moz the Monster was friendly and loved Joe, but scared him into sleepless nights, the nightlight would be understandable. The gift would be a selfless act of goodwill meaning that Joe could sleep, despite Moz losing his friend. The confusion arises because Joe loves Moz too. Children don’t care about getting their eight hours; that is a matter for their parents to worry about. So, when Joe happily falls asleep at the end with Moz the Monster gone. The advert loses its integrity because but Joe doesn’t seem to miss Moz. There is not a truly happy ending, as there have been in John Lewis’s past successes.
People don’t understand it. YouTube superstar Zoella told her 11.8 million twitter followers that she too was confused by the plot, and thought that the ad lacked emotion. Others, however, loved the storyline and thought it was classic John Lewis gold, calling it ‘absolutely brilliant’. If you haven’t already, watch it here and make up your own mind!
After the huge success of their 2016 ad, Kevin the Carrot has returned on the hunt for special someone to kiss under the mistletoe, again narrated by award-winning Jim Broadbent. Seemingly referencing the recent release of Kenneth Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express, Aldi take hold of the excitement around the star-studded film and lay it onto their own, rather more orange feature. Although, I would argue, not as refreshing and amusing as the original, Kevin the Carrot is back with a delightful bang.
As many retailers do, the loveable character can be bought in cuddly toy form, available to purchase instore and online. In 2016, proceeds from Kevin the Carrot went to the Barnardo’s children’s charity. For 2017 Aldi are continuing the donation, this year benefitting the Teenage Cancer Trust.
Sainsbury’s’ advert this year is real people (and a couple of well-known faces) singing a song all about real Christmas. Far too wordy and impossible to learn, the song still manages to be catchy and memorable. Like Tesco, it has followed the route of truth, revelling in the homemade nativity costumes, the way nothing is quite like your own mum’s cooking, and how those paper crowns just never seem to fit properly. Sainsbury’s makes us realise that these imperfections are what truly makes Christmas special. Leave the perfect, prissy present wrapping to someone else; let them keep their gorgeous mince pies: I’ll take dodgy sellotaping and burnt pastry any day!