Tom Holgate – Digital Executive

At the risk of using a cliché, my favourite time of the year has come back around. “Why?” you say. Well, because I get to write the Pace Christmas ad review – the one part of the year where watching Christmas ads counts as work! For job applications enquire here.

This year has seen a drop in the Christmas ad ratings, with just 29% of campaigns achieving three or more stars out of five – half as many as last year. Some marketing experts are putting this down to people being less receptive and a little less Christmassy, due to Brexit, and other external factors, while others argue that it may be because of a drop in the quality of the ads themselves.

So I wanted to investigate. Let’s start reviewing these ads!

7. Twitter UK Christmas Film 2018 – #NotARetailStore ft. @JohnLewis

In last place – the Twitter Christmas advert. I know what you’re thinking – Twitter? Christmas advert? For those of you who don’t know, there is a man from Nebraska in the Twitter-sphere who owns the profile handle @JohnLewis, causing some hilarious confusion for users who contact him about stock availability and other store enquiries.

Acknowledging this quirk of their platform, Twitter created an alternative ‘John Lewis’ Christmas advert that I wanted to include on the list, as it’s a funny and creative play on the department store’s usual blockbuster, and is definitely worth a watch.

But let’s be honest – it’s not very Christmassy. Sorry Twitter, someone had to come last!

6. KFC UK Christmas Advert

KFC has gained a lot of coverage this year, all in the aftermath of the great chicken shortage of 2018. The brand created a fantastic campaign in response named the ‘FCK Bucket’, and here it is again with its very own take on a Christmas advert.

Granted, this isn’t your average Xmas ad – in fact, the only Christmas element is that there is snow in it. However, it’s light-hearted and amusing. The wild west themed ad follows a brave chicken on its turbulent adventure across the snowy wilderness, and if that’s not enough to ruffle some feathers, it’s then finished with a Mexican standoff against a Turkey. It’s good stuff.

5. Aldi – Kevin the Carrot and the Wicked Parsnip

Aldi has come back this year with yet another one of Kevin the Carrot’s adventures. He’s a popular carrot, so popular in fact, that the Kevin the Carrot toy launch created queues at Aldi stores across the UK, with one customer tweeting succinctly: “Cannot believe the carnage this morning to get a Kevin the Carrot”.

This year Kevin the Carrot’s tabletop adventure involves saving his family from an evil parsnip called Pascal. My main concern with this is it feels a bit like parsnip discrimination and I’m not into it. I think parsnips are a misunderstood vegetable, and that’s just not gravy.

The Pace team felt so bad for Pascal, we decided to create a parsnip awareness video to break the misconception that all parsnips are evil. Watch it below:

4. TK Maxx – The Neverending Stocking

Bill Nighy is back, narrating another slightly bizarre Christmas ad from TK Maxx. This year’s ad had a lot to live up to, after last year when TK Maxx promised real snow deliveries to people who found a special snow globe in-store.

Sticking with the Dr Seuss theme, this year TK Maxx is promising to provide people who find a neverending stocking in-store or online with a year’s supply of Christmas presents. *Runs to the nearest TK Maxx*.

The ad itself is engaging and the music is brilliant. I admire TK Maxx for its originality, and I also like the way the stocking becomes a pet. I’m unsure how I’d feel about it burping in my face but if it popped out some new sneaks I’d be cool with it.

All in all a good ad, and worthy of 4th place.

3. John Lewis – #EltonJohnLewis

The famous John Lewis Christmas ad is the one we all eagerly await and very rarely does it disappoint. This year’s advert presents the story of how it all began for Elton John.

I was surprised to see that John Lewis didn’t use a character they could merchandise in this year’s ad, so that was nice. I wonder if they’ve started selling pianos? Anyway, I digress.

Personally, I really enjoyed the ad, but I think that there are some stronger contenders to this year.

I hope you don’t mind, Elton, that I put down in words, how wonderful your ad is, but only good enough for 3rd.

2. Waitrose – Fast Forward

Firstly, Waitrose has nailed its target audience here. Let’s just say it’s a very ‘Waitrose’ family in the ad.

It’s great to see Waitrose and John Lewis ads being merged this year, and that the brands have a sense of humour. It’s a bit too real though – I can imagine myself showing my parents something similar to this and neither of them having a slight bit of interest in it (they love me really). Although, in my situation the Stollen would most likely be a nice bottle of red.

I admit that my placing of this advert is subjective, but it resonated with me and for that reason it takes the silver.

1. Sainsbury’s – The Big Night

Sainsbury’s has done a great job with this ad – it’s about as heart-warming as it gets. The kids played a great role, especially the singing star, and the proud parents also provide a great contribution to the feel-good factor.

Can we just take a minute to appreciate the plug? (1:21 mins in). I’d like to say to whoever came up with that, bravo. I’ve replayed that part about 6 times, and it’s got gif written all over it. I would have given this ad a podium finish because of the plug alone.

Well done, Sainsbury’s – for achieving a first place podium finish in the Pace Christmas ad review, I hope you feel honoured!

See you next year, folks. Stollen?

So that’s it from me! Tweet us to let us know which Christmas advert is your favourite. I hope this post helped to spread some Christmas cheer, and I’d like to wish you a Merry Christmas on behalf of the team here at Pace.

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