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Elton, Sleighs and Nativity Plays: A Christmas Review


INFLUENCER: The&Partnership's Liz Oakley shares highlights from 2018's Christmas ads

Elton, Sleighs and Nativity Plays: A Christmas Review

It must be the second week of November, and thus peak week for releasing Christmas ads. Whether it’s Iceland’s impressive global coup or the super-long X Factor-style pause before John Lewis finally unleashed this year’s much anticipated extravaganza, or the questionable driving skills of a carrot, there’s plenty to pick from. So let’s delve into a few of the highlights.

KFC Showdown

This insight is bang on. Turkey might be an annual tradition, but it’s a one-trick poultry. Chicken is here to stay. If you haven’t seen it, the ad leads to a stand-off between a chicken and a turkey. What a feast of simplicity and humour. I’m jealous. And slightly hungry. 

Aldi Truck

Talking of food, this Christmas carrot doesn’t have bells, it has balls. Big carroty ones. Taking on the might of Coca-Cola is a brave move and it made me sit up and take notice right away. Another year lots of people might have been talking about it, but…

Iceland’s Banned TV ad

Genius. I was a fan of the Greenpeace ad when it first came out. A beautifully crafted animation that highlighted the plight of the ‘Rang-Tans’ in the rainforest. Adorable without being too preachy. But then it got served up for Christmas by Iceland. Which jarred with me.  

But whether I agree with what Iceland did, or whether I believe they really expected it to run on TV, you can’t argue that it’s a marketing masterstroke. The whole country’s talking about ‘the Iceland ad’ (Greenpeace who?) and most impressively, reappraising Iceland as a brand. And they didn’t have to pay out a penny on airtime. 

Heathrow Homecoming

Which leads us nicely to Heathrow. It’s tricky hitting the mark between originality and sentimentality but I feel like Heathrow have got it right. The lovable Bears are back but this time they’re abroad, set for a Christmas alone. Sounds a bit twee on paper but the funny observations and beautiful animation deliver just the right amount of ahhhhh. 


Ikea Italy

Talking of which, the next stop is Italy and a sweet spot for Ikea. Two shoppers get stuck in the Ikea lift over Christmas, but clever use of their purchases make it feel like home. Again, simple idea and very charming. There’s a lot to be said for the low budgeters this week. 

John Lewis Elton’s Piano

But one that certainly hasn’t had to tighten any purse strings is the long-awaited John Lewis ad. And what an epic it is. Full marks for the extravaganza and the sound – and to John Lewis for holding back on the branding until the very end. In fact, they held back so much, they don’t even sell the product. And there’s no merch. Unless you count tickets to Elton’s new tour..? 

Liz Oakley is senior creative at The&Partnership

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The&Partnership, Fri, 16 Nov 2018 12:07:56 GMT