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2019 Christmas Ad Review

It's that time of year again - late Autumn, a few days after Bonfire night - which means the floodgates have legally opened and every self respecting UK retailer is stoking the PR fires with their marquee Christmas ad campaigns.

So I thought I'd join the party with a lighthearted review of the playing field.

Currently Aldi's Kevin the Carrot from McCann Worldgroup is in the lead but with a few more heavyweights yet to hitch their sleigh to a D-List celeb (I'm looking at you, John Lewis & Partners) there's all to play for over the coming weeks as the Christmas spirit (and several million credit cards) take a battering.

I'll happily add in your recommendations if you find any utter dogs out there that I've missed.


Two ads for M&S - the first #GoJumpers uses House of Pain's Jump Around in the least likely Xmas pairing since God & the Virgin Mary. The second ad pairs Paddy McGuinness and Emma Willis tasting food in what is likely to be the most generic, 'ad by numbers' effort this season.

ODD/ Grey London


The archetypal Lidl ad - no bullshit, just value - a wander around their aisles and some Christmas cheer simmering on the stove. Inoffensive, harmless and on-brand. Should do well.



A light-hearted 90 second ad leads to introduce 6 'Bootiques' offering gifts for 'hard to reach' people in your life. It's witty, relevant and crisply produced. It’s also mercifully free of any vacuous celebs



Two ads for Debenhams - the first stars X Factor/ IACGMOOH also-ran Fleur East (?) and rhymes ‘Tricky’ with a gift for ‘Nicky’ & a ‘Generic’ present with baby ‘Eric’. The second spot is for advent calendars. Weak.

In House


Called 'Home Shame' the spot has a 'humorous, irreverent take on festive hosting'. It's basically some naff Grime singing nick nacks taking the piss out of a families poor decorative choices. Harsh, but amusing and nicely differentiated from the norm, as we’ve come to expect from the flat pack supremoes



Russell Sprout and his Brummy gang of 'Leafy Blinders' are boiling with rage about the much loved and now recycled Kevin the Carrot. The Robbie Williams standard 'Let Me Entertain You' covers the music as various fruit and veg take supporting roles. Fun, light-hearted and actually has things in it people might buy.

McCann UK


Now ASDA can't claim the 'value' supermarket crown they’ve gone all Hollywood to catch up with the big boys. An epic (of sorts) mini movie about capturing Santa's magic and the love to be shared from a brother to his younger sister. No idea what it’s selling, other than seasonal good cheer, but there's no D Listers and it feels warm and cosy, so a decent effort all round.

Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO


Harking back to days of yore when young folk would pore over the Argos Catalogue marking up their wishlist that would, unsurprisingly, never make it onto Santa's sleigh, 'The Book of Dreams' ad shows a father and daughter playing their matching drum kits as they enjoy and share their dream gifts. Works a treat, aided by Don’t You (Forget About Me) by Simple Minds to give the whole thing a bit of Breakfast Club sentimentality.

The & Partnership London


Data thieving, home listening, world dominating bastards Amazon have thankfully not tried to personalise their dominance of a previously loved holiday. They’ve brought their singing boxes back, warbling a dehumanised auto-tuned version of Solomon Burke’s classic 'Everybody Needs Somebody to Love'. If Christmas is dead, and these cardboard sarcophagi may well be its coffin.

Lucky Generals

John Lewis

The big one. Or at least it used to be. If ever Bill Nighy's tragic character in 'Love, Actually' was to represent something, it would be the steady decline in the lovability of JL's Xmas ads. As it's not live yet, here's an estimate:- rehashed pop song from the 90s sung by a contemporary female artist (e.g. FKA Twigs/ Adele/ Dua Lipa), a sentimental, heart string tugging mini movie featuring cutsie animals and a barely affordable but highly desirable product at its core. Rinse, repeat. I may be wrong - we'll find out later this week.

Adam & Eve/ DDB

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