2015 has been a great year for festive adverts, companies have really put a lot of thought, and in some cases money, into them. We’re going to take a look at some of the highlights of this year and take a look at which one showed the spirit of Christmas best of all.

John Lewis – “Man on the Moon”
John Lewis has set a high standard every year with their festive adverts but last year saw them reach new heights with a penguin love story! This year they tackled the subject of loneliness by producing an advert about a young girl who sends a lonely man on the moon a present for Christmas.

The main problem with this advert is watching it a few times over. I admit that the first time I watched this advert it blew me away, and I was very impressed with the scenery and music. However, on closer inspection, it just wasn’t the same. For example, the elderly man gets the telescope sent by the girl, looks through it and immediately sees the girl. Firstly, this is highly unlikely and secondly, it is very weird and awkward for the viewer to watch. The sentiment and themes are there, but it just isn’t executed in the right way for me.

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 Sainsburys’ – “Mog’s Christmas Calamity”
This year, Sainsbury’s decided to go for a comedic Christmas advert featuring a well-known literary cat called Mog, who, many will remember from the books by Judith Kerr. Mog almost ruins Christmas for her family but manages to save it just in time. Narrated by the wonderful Mel Giedroyc, it is a very charming and funny advert and is certainly one of the best offerings of 2015. However, it falls down slightly with the length of the full advert. At almost three and a half minutes long, it loses its finish of being an advert, and instead, feels like a short sketch for a TV programme.

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Coca Cola – “The Holidays Are Coming”
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a mention of the famous Coca Cola truck and the catchy “The Holidays Are Coming” tune. The truck conducted its annual trip across the UK for people to take Facebook cover-photo-worthy selfies, and for some, the truck has become the icon of Christmas. The main problem it has is that it has become too familiar and, despite being brilliant and festive, doesn’t offer many new aspects.

Currys / PC World – “Spare The Act”
The new adverts for Currys / PC World are amazing for two reasons; Jeff Goldblum features in them and they are genuinely funny adverts. They show the awkwardness of some common scenarios that occur over the festive period and have Jeff Goldblum give his input on them.

An example scenario is a family squashed up on an old sofa, and Goldblum’s solution, is for the family to picture watching the best television in the world (obviously, according to the ad, one that Currys PC World sell). There aren’t many things wrong with these set of ads, apart from the heavily advertised products, which get in the way when all you want to see is Jeff being funny! However, the five scenarios are very fun and relatable. Plus, it’s always a pleasure to see Jeff Goldblum anytime he is on-screen. “Spare the Act” is certainly a strong contender for this year.

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The Winner: The Co-operative Food – “Ice”

It is helpful, when considering which is the best advert, to ask: what is the perfect recipe for a Christmas advert? A dash of comedy, a wintery setting and a charitable tone seem like the perfect ingredients for one. Each of the above adverts have elements of these, but only one of them truly sums up a British Christmas and the kindness of those around us.

It’s very possible you haven’t even noticed this winning advert whilst watching television. It hasn’t had hundreds of thousands of pounds spent on it, nor does it feature any cute animals, but what it does show, is the true spirit of Christmas in a 60-second nutshell.

Two guys who need ice decide one of them should go to the local Co-op and get some but after stepping outside, he realises it’s very icy outside on the street. He walks past a neighbour’s door that he will probably have walked past every day without really taking much notice of it, and arrives at the shop. Once he has found the ice he desires, he sees some other basic foods, and immediately thinks of the elderly neighbour and buys a simple, and cost-irrelevant, bag of shopping. He walks back home and drops the shopping outside the man’s door, knocks, and walks away without being seen and presents his friend with the requested ice.

“There are so many things right with this advert; the act of not caring if the man knows who it was from, but just knowing the elderly gentleman had good food in his home”

The setting of the advert is a true homage to a British winter; ice that makes you skid around whilst walking, and not the fake-looking snow you see on most other adverts that is only ever truly seen in places such as Lapland! Even the soundtrack is perfectly fitting for the advert. It’s not a common pop hit in a change of key that most ads use, but “Bolero”, a song that is associated with ice through British ice dancing duo Torvill and Dean’s gold medal winning Olympic routine in 1984.

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The Verdict:
A true advert needs to seem real, it needs to make you think, and it needs to make you smile. The Co-op “Ice” advert does this very simply and very effectively.

Luke Norman

Images: “Holidays Are Coming”, Coca-Cola, “Man on the Moon”, John Lewis, “Mog’s Christmas Calamity”, Sainsbury’s, “Spare the Act”, Currys/PC World, “Ice”, Co-operative Food

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