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Campaign Spotlight: Christmas Special

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Everyone wants something different from a Christmas ad. Whether its traditional or modern, emotional or fun, or just completely different, we all have a favourite kind of campaign that gets us in the festive mood. Here at ALF, we’ve chosen our top picks of the festive advertising season and want you to help crown the winner. Scroll down to access our poll, cast your vote and wait to see which will be revealed as the most-loved Christmas ad in our final weekly newsletter before Christmas!


Heathrow Airport ‘Heathrow Bears’ / Havas London

Advertisers must have seen their return on investment on their 2016 festive campaigns as we saw many, including Aldi, Intu and Very to name a few, bring back already established characters for their festive spots. But none of these resurgences works quite as well as Heathrow Airport’s, which revived its travelling teddy bear characters for its 2017 spot. Last year we were introduced to Mr & Mrs Bair who returned home for Christmas and were greeted by their grandchildren at the airport. This year’s spot gives us an insight into how the bears first met, using nostalgia – incidentally a tool utilised in a lot of this year’s festive spots – to help us feel part of their romantic life journey.



M&S ‘Paddington and the Christmas visitor’ / Grey London

As far as the battle of the department stores goes, M&S’ ad blew iconic Christmas campaign creator John Lewis out of the park when it enlisted the help of family favourite character Paddington Bear for its festive effort. The endearing spot sees the innocent bear rumble a burglar without knowing it, when he mistakes the large man with a bag full of presents for Santa Claus himself. The robber ends up thanking Paddington for helping him redeliver the stolen presents (although some viewers have suggested that he says something a little less savoury!).



Tesco ‘Everyone’s Welcome’ / BBH London

How many ways are there to cook a Christmas turkey? Tesco uses this question as the basis of its Christmas spot which allows the retailer to show the diverse range of people who celebrate the holiday and their unique ways of doing so. From struggling to squeeze it into a tiny oven to chucking it on the BBQ, no matter what the turkey technique, Tesco hopes to assure that it’s the one to provide the goods this year.



Boots ‘Show them you know them’ / Ogilvy & Mather

Interestingly, both House of Fraser and Boots took a similar approach to their Christmas spots, with both retailers taking the viewer back in time to tell the tale of two sisters growing up through a series of Christmases. However, Boots’ spot edged ahead by demonstrating the sentiment of its strapline ‘show them you know them’. If there wasn’t already enough ‘smellies’ gifted each Christmas, Boots is sure to make a few more sales with the help of this touching campaign. 



Waitrose ‘Snowed in’ / Adam&Eve/DDB

Waitrose headed to a remote pub in Yorkshire to film its Christmas campaign this year. The black and white film sees local villagers enjoying a drink on a white Christmas morning when they find themselves snowed in. In typical northern fashion, everyone pulls together and lays on a festive spread which is about to be devoured, just as the rescue team arrive at the door to announce that they’ve cleared the snow freeing them to go home.



Amazon ‘Give a little bit’ / Lucky Generals

Last year, Amazon’s tale of the gifting between an imam and priest was named the most effective Christmas ad of 2016 and was also the winner of ALF’s annual Christmas ad poll. This year, the online giant takes a more light-hearted approach to its festive campaign which depicts the journey of a series of Amazon packages as they prepare to travel across the world to be gifted at Christmas. The magical ad brings the boxes to life and sees them take part in a rendition of Roger Hodgson's anthem ‘Give a Little Bit’. If it wasn’t possible to think of a cardboard box as cute, it is now.



Sonos ‘A Very Sonos Christmas’

Although Sainsbury’s attempted to go down the musical entertainment route again in its Christmas spot this year, we felt like Sonos took this theme to the next level. The audio equipment manufacturer’s festive work consists of a three-and-a-half-minute film directed by Jason Koenig, which sees a quiet Christmas day turned up a gear when one family member demands Sonos’ smart speaker to play Dee-Lite’s ‘Groove in the Heart’ across all the speakers in the house. What ensues is a quirky dancing frenzy which gets all of the family up on their feet.



Jigsaw ‘Together Through The Years’ / The Corner

Jigsaw enlisted the help of students at the National Film & Television School for its stop-motion Christmas spot. Another ad that uses the theme of ‘Christmases over the years’, the spot takes the viewer into a world of fabric and tells the story of two neighbours who anonymously leave each other gifts each year until they finally meet face to face in 2017.



Migros ‘Finn’ / Wirz

We know we are UK-focused at ALF but we couldn’t help but bring this sweet alternative Christmas tale by Swiss supermarket Migros to you this year. The spot turns our attention to an important, but often overlooked, element of the festive shopping season: the little workers inside cash desks that slave away scanning and ‘beeping’ our copious purchases. The film documents a day in the life of one of the miniature creatures at Christmas time and shows him longing to be part of the festivities which he sees in the outside world. However, one day a human shop assistant discovers him and makes his Christmas by letting him spend it with his fellow checkout chums after lights out.



TalkTalk ‘This is Christmas’ / CHI & Partners

TalkTalk’s spot continues its ‘This Stuff Matters’ campaign which depicts the ‘Merwick Street’ family’s home life in ‘fly on the wall’ style. Fittingly, we get to take a look at the family’s Christmas celebrations in the telecoms provider’s festive spot. Rather than the rose-tinted, snow-covered, twinkling Christmases we see in most ads, TalkTalk’s gives a raw impression of the big day which, if not as spectacular, feels more relatable. From detangling the Christmas lights and struggling to wrap gifts, to novelty hats and slippers and tender embraces in the kitchen, the ad takes us through the whole rollercoaster of emotions that Christmas brings.



So, which ad gets you itching to hang up the tinsel and reaching for a mince pie? Click here to cast your vote!