Woohoo the Christmas ad, it’s that time of year again! My favourite time of year for blog writing, as it’s time for me to review the top retail Xmas ads. It’s become a bit of a tradition!

Tesco is as predictable and uninspiring as ever, the less said the better, Argos is colourful and catchy but of no creative note. I’ve left out the ones that bang on about how good their produce is….. only to be expected from a supermarket. After all it’s a christmas ad FGS, a brands chance to show off and do something meaningful – let their agency use imagination and spend the budget creatively!

So without more-ado here goes…..

#5 Aldi
Kevin the carrot
Agency: McCann UK

Disappointing after Aldi’s parody of John Lewis’ The man in the moon ad, this is really nicely animated and very sweet but just doesn’t have the humour of last year. Narrated by Jim Broadbent it tells the tale of Kevin the carrot scaling the xmas dinner to get to the mince pie by the fire, so he can meet Santa Claus. He ends up being dangled in front of his reindeer to hurry them up as they fly through the air! A nice twist but just not as memorable.

#4 Sainsbury’s
The Greatest Gift
Agency: AMV BBDO
Pulling on our heart strings again, Sainsbury’s gives us the beautifully animated The Greatest Gift. Featuring a dad who has no time to buy presents for his family and focussing on the busy life conundrum we all have to cope with. He concludes the greatest gift for his family would be him (a bit arrogant I thought! :-) and proceeds to make clones of himself at the toy factory he works at who can carry out his normal daily routines and free him up to be with who’s most important. Why didn’t he just take toys home from his factory to give to the kids I wonder? Anyway nice animation and with James Corden supplying the vocals it has been a top hit.

The Greatest Gift by James Corden has been released as a single in support of Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, and is available to download on iTunes.

#3 John Lewis
Buster the boxer
Agency: Adam&Eve DDB

Designed to make us laugh, rather than cry Buster the boxer is enjoying enormous success with top youtube viewings. I like, I don’t love it; it’s good fun and CGI has done a fantastic job getting the animals to leap around on a trampoline! (Never work with children and animals…. and they’ve managed both!). In a year of change and unrest it lifts the spirits wonderfully. Telling the story of the dog Buster who having watched foxes, badgers and even a hedgehog (nice touch) beat him to the trampoline out of the window on xmas eve, manages to beat little girl Bridget to it on xmas morning. It ends with the line Gifts that everyone will want…..

Which leads me to You don’t always get what you want the excellent Trump/Clinton parody, face-swopped by joe.co.uk. Ironic and actually bitter sweet literation of Buster, with Hillary being pipped to the post by a Trump dog! Inspired. Not a proper xmas ad obviously but worth a mention.

#2 Waitrose
Home for Christmas
Agency: Adam&EveDDB

A departure from the norm this year for Waitrose (last year was christmas food on show with brand ambassador Heston Blumenthal). Again beautifully shot with the help of CGI creation by special effects house The Mill. It follows a robin’s journey home for christmas to join his mate and enjoy a christmas treat left out by a little girl who is waiting for his return. Based on real-life migration from Scandinavia to UK. The journey is epic, and so is the ad. I really like this and prefer it to Buster the boxer as it’s so lovely to watch.

“We’re really proud of the plucky little fella and his plight to get home for Christmas,” said Richard Brim, executive creative director at adam&eveDDB. “It’s a warming story that speaks to the spirit of togetherness in the festive season and the joy of just coming home. It feels like a great way to wrap up a great year for Waitrose.” The Guardian

#1 M&S
Christmas with love from Mrs Claus
Agency: Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R

My personal favourite,  it’s festive and moving with just the right sentiment and humour. Our lovely heroin Mrs Claus, played by Brit actress Janet McTeer saves the day by striking into action to deliver some new trainers to Anna, a secret present requested by her younger brother. She sends her hubby off on his sleigh and then goes to her red themed lair, flying off in a fab red helicopter, dressed in red of course. Great touch at the end when Santa returns to find her reading Fifty Shades of Red on the sofa as if nothing has happened!

Celebrating the female and how they get things done, this is an ad for our times. Mrs Claus looking stylish and elegant in M&S wardrobe the ad has many levels. Most excellent……