Christmas TV ads have become big business for brands, with the top names on the high street jostling for that acclaimed top spot. Every year, the anticipation of the John Lewis advert becomes more and more intense. Will it be a tear-jerker? What famous song will they re-create? How many views will it get on YouTube? Every year the critics (and the public) are divided on who has produced the ‘best’ Christmas TV ad – arguments rage in workplaces, homes and drinking establishments across the nation.
Brands see this as an opportunity to drive customers online and in-store – showcasing their wide variety of Christmas must-haves, as well as any products that are produced specifically for the TV ads. Who can forget the £95 Monty the Penguin toy that sold out within 24 hours of launch?
However, this year, there seems to have been a small shift in the intent of the Christmas TV ads. Yes, M&S has still stuffed its ad to the brim with product and John Lewis has a Man on the Moon range, but there is a definite emphasis on the spirit of Christmas in this year’s ads.
The Co-Op has produced a low-key story showing a young man helping out an older couple who don’t dare adventure out in the ice to pick up a few essentials. TK Maxx suggests buying a little something extra for those people who make up part of our daily lives but would normally go unnoticed at this time of year. John Lewis has teamed up with Age UK to encourage us to reach out to the thousands of elderly people who find themselves alone at this time of year. And my personal favourite, Sainsburys, with the unfortunate Mog who almost ruins Christmas until the kindness and generosity of her family’s neighbours saves the day, all in support of Child Literacy with Save the Children. These TV ads serve to remind us that Christmas isn’t just about getting the latest gadgets or fashion item, stuffing our faces with food and watching Home Alone for the millionth time.
And with all the events that have taken place in 2015, it’s nice for big brands to end the year on a positive note – reaching out to your neighbours, nearest and dearest, local communities and those who may need a little extra help this year.