#FridayFive: Five of the Best Christmas Campaigns 2018

Friday Five

Guess who finished for the Christmas holidays today?! Me, obviously. I handed in my second assignment of final year on Tuesday, received an attendance warning email on Wednesday and received the mark for my first assignment of final year on Thursday (I got a first!).

I officially finished university for Christmas on Tuesday when I submitted my assignment, but I started back to work at my old Internal Comms role that I had during my second year of university on Wednesday morning. My first 9-5 since July. It hurt. Waking up at 7am on Thursday morning and this morning also hurt. It’s just too cold at that time of the morning.

Believe it or not, I feel so much better working 9-5 than I do when I go to uni for two hours here and there. I was so looking forward to coming back to the relaxed structure of uni, but I felt so much more in routine these past three days than I have the past three months. I’m excited to get back to work in January and finally have a proper routine in place for myself for the remainder of final year.

Anyway, back to talking about Christmas! I’ve included a mixture of TV campaigns and out-of-home campaigns in this round-up and you can let me know your favourite Christmas advert of this year in the comments section.

1. Sainsbury’s: The Big Night

Long ago, in the days of Top of the Pops and weekly chart shows, the biggest buzz around Christmas was finding out who had claimed the title of that year’s Christmas No. 1.

Recently, it seems there is more buzz around companies releasing their Christmas TV advertisements and then as a nation, collectively deciding who’s is the best. Every year, the John Lewis ad is most anticipated as we’ve seen classics such as Man On The Moon, Buster the Boxer and Monty the Penguin.

Unfortunately John Lewis failed to deliver on impact this year, even with Elton John as star of the show. Was there a hidden agenda to promote his upcoming movie? This year’s ad just didn’t seem to resonate with the public, and many weren’t left feeling ‘moved’ as with previous years advertisements.

This year’s award for best Christmas advert (in my opinion) has to go to Sainsbury’s, if only for the three second child-dressed-as-plug feature. Nothing says Christmas quite like a child dressed as a plug flinging itself into the giant socket on the wall. With an all-children cast, it showed a Christmas performance by a school class which resonated around the country, reminding us of our own primary school Christmas plays and performances.

I also think Sainsbury’s had one of the best ever Christmas adverts in 2014, showcasing the truce during World War 1 on Christmas Day, 1916, where opposing soldiers played a game of football together. I had no idea of the event, only for this advertisement, commemorating 100 years since it took place.

This year’s advert was heartwarming and got us feeling Christmassy, along with a few laughs. So long #ThugLife, hello #PlugLife.

Sainsburys Plug Advert

2. Virgin Trains: It’s A Wonderful Line

This was one of the best campaigns I’ve seen in a long time, and so brilliantly done. I think it was especially meaningful as the town where I come from has seen a rise in suicides and attempts along railway lines that run through Lurgan recently. In Northern Ireland, suicide is an epidemic and numbers are rising year on year, yet our government is more concerned with an invisible border that splits the north from the south and how Brexit is suddenly going to make it visible. *Breathe*

Virgin Trains has printed quotes from the movie It’s A Wonderful Life on platforms all around the UK to advocate for mental health and suicide prevention. The movie shows a man who struggles to cope with a life that hasn’t gone to plan. He starts to think that the world would be better off without him, and so, is shown what the world would look like if in fact, that did happen. Even though the movie was released in 1946 it is relevant now more than ever, with a huge problem surrounding male mental health in the UK.

The quotes can be seen on platforms along Virgin Trains’ West Coast route, including Liverpool, Manchester, London and Glasgow. They will appear for 14 nights in 14 locations this December.

3. Iceland: Rang-tan

Thanks to social media, Iceland’s ad that was banned from being shown on TV, became one of the most talked about adverts this Christmas.

I am however, a little confused. I can 100% remember watching this advert in the cinema before seeing a movie very recently. It was either one of the fifty times I went to see A Star Is Born, or more than likely, when I went to see The Incredibles II. Unless the advert was approved for movie screenings, just not TV? I’m all for the message, but I was a little bit concerned the ‘banning’ may have been a publicity stunt on Iceland’s behalf if it actually had been approved. But I’m sure we would have been made aware of this if this happened to be the case.

The story of Rang-tan doesn’t have much to do with Christmas, but tells us about the use of palm oil in foods and its threat to orang-utan habitats. With the help of celebrities like James Cordon tweeting about the Greenpeace video, it has now amassed over 30 million views.

Would the advert have had the same effect if it hadn’t been banned? I certainly don’t think so. It does show the wonders that a viral video can do and the people that it can reach, but there is no magic potion to make something go ‘viral’. You can’t predict what takes off as it just has to be seen by the right people at the right time in order to be shared and re-shared. I do agree that everyone should see this advert and that we have to take things like this, and climate change very seriously. For me, climate change is a more pressing matter than Brexit. As is the mental health crisis. Can’t we just get rid of Brexit altogether and focus on more important things???

4. Tiffany & Co.: #AllYouNeed

The ultimate gift became a lot more achievable last year when Tiffany & Co. released its first ever fragrance. A lot of people experienced the magic of having a little Tiffany Blue box under their tree last year along with the Tiffany ribbon.

This year, to celebrate the new Tiffany Intense fragrance and to promote Tiffany & Co. as the perfect gift for Christmas, a giant 43ft Tiffany & Co. inspired tree was erected in London’s St. Pancras train station. And it’s scented.

The tree is decorated with 600 replica bottles of the signature fragrance, 600 hand-crafted paper Iris flowers and 600 white and silver Tiffany Blue baubles. The main attraction, though, is a 17-foot robot made of Tiffany Blue Boxes propped atop of a ladder as it adds the finishing touches. Underneath the tree, you’ll find a Tiffany fragrance shop, which offers gift-wrapping and personal engraving.

If you’re anywhere near St. Pancras or simply passing through, it’s quite a spectacle to see and will be in the station until January 4th.

5. Lidl: It’s a Lidl bit funny

Responsive Marketing is one of my favourite types of Marketing, when executed well. Lidl were very quick off the mark to jump on the back of the negative feedback to the John Lewis Christmas advert. As mentioned above, this year’s John Lewis advert focused on Elton John (The Boy And The Piano), claiming the reason for his musical prowess was down to the piano he was gifted as a child one Christmas morning. The song used throughout the advert: ‘Your Song’.

You know how it goes, ‘It’s a little bit funny…‘ ‘Little’… ‘Lidl’… You see where this is going. Unless you pronounce it ‘Lee-dl’, in which case you are wrong. With the advert now out on TV, John Lewis started advertising pianos for sale at the small price of £872. Bargain.

The below image was published on Twitter in rapid response and met with lots of praise and chuckles in the comments. Sorry Elton, but some of us musical geniuses started out on a keyboard and are doing just fine, thank you very much.


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