Tom Holgate – Senior Digital Executive

It’s that time of year you’ve all been eagerly awaiting, the Pace Christmas ad review – you lucky devils.

This year, a record £6.8 billion will be spent on Christmas advertising, up 4.7% from 2018. Television advertising has seen a slight decrease of 1% as brands move more of their budgets into online, radio, and cinema campaigns.

However, a reduction in television ad spend hasn’t slowed the Christmas ad competition. If anything, things are fiercer than ever, and brands this season have created a loveable dragon, rapping household items, and conjured the return of E.T in a bid to attract our attention.

Let the countdown begin.

6. Aldi

Aldi is really getting its use out of this death-defying carrot. God only knows how long his contract is! This year, customers queued from 6:30am to buy Kevin the Carrot merchandise from Aldi stores.

Although he looks like he’s enjoying it in the ad, I would imagine he’s pretty exhausted from being tied up and threatened throughout each festive period for the past…quite frankly I’ve lost count how many years. So, let’s do him a favour and stop the Kevin fixation so the man can consider settling down with Katie and their lovely orange children.

In all seriousness, I think Aldi’s attempt this year is too samey. The budget food store needs to mix things up a little more to stand up against some of the competition we’ve seen this year.

5. Ikea

This is the first time Ikea has been featured in the Pace Christmas ad review. Welcome, Ikea, make yourself comfortable.

The Ikea ad generated some mixed opinions here at Pace HQ. Some loved it, some…not so much. Me? I’m on the not so much side.

In my mind, the main criteria for a Christmas ad is that it’s Christmassy. Other than a tree, I think the Ikea ad is really lacking in this department.

Some might argue that the timing was ideal;  the brand released its ad early to put Ikea in the minds of those shopping for Christmas decorations. However, I’m not convinced.

I don’t think Ikea’s ad was bad. I just think it would do better without the Christmas decorations, and in a Spring, Summer, or Autumn campaign.

Sorry, Ikea but your campaign timing is tired, your Christmas ad is fired.

4. M&S

Coming in hot with some festive dance move inspiration. M&S has brought us its Go jumpers campaign this Christmas, with the catchy tag line, ‘Pack it up, pack it in. Let Christmas begin’.

This ad feels a bit different to the usual M&S approach. It’s more light-hearted, less Paddington, more party-on.

The ad shows some more-tasteful-than-usual Christmas jumpers and a nice combination of family and work scenes. It also has the added benefit of some fresh new moves to bust out at all those parties you’ll be going to, thanks M&S.

3. Hafod hardware

If you haven’t heard of the Hafod Hardware Christmas ad, we are here to help. This independent family run Hardware store has created its very own Christmas ad on a shoestring £100 budget.

Value for money wise, we have a clear winner. I doubt the likes of Sky and John Lewis managed to squeeze their ads into a budget so modest.

The wrapping skills on show weren’t half bad either, well, on par with what I can do anyway.

The message of the ad is great, we all need to be kids at Christmas and enjoy the little things.

Well done to Hafod Hardware for that glimpse into your wholesome store. Have a very merry Christmas.

2. Sky

Another newbie on the Pace Christmas ad review is Sky.

Sky is a really strong contender this year. It encompasses what the brand does really nicely and puts an emphasis on bringing family together, all tying in with what Christmas is really about.

Lucky for us, it doesn’t stop there. Sky has given us a real treat this Christmas by reuniting E.T. with earthly friend *E.T. voice* Elllliott.

Not only that, Sky used the actual actor who played Elliott in the original film. I wonder if they got Spielberg involved, too?

As an E.T. fan I really enjoyed this ad, and I think even those that haven’t seen E.T. can appreciate it.

1. John Lewis & Partners

I know what you’re thinking.

“How cliché, John Lewis in first place.”

Honestly, I’m usually a John Lewis Christmas ad cynic, but I think this is well-deserved.

This year the high-end home store has teamed up with its partner, Waitrose & Partners, to go back to its roots using a merchandisable character – this year in the form of a lovable dragon called Edgar.

The boffins in the John Lewis Christmas ad department really know how to play those heart strings. I’m going to put it out there, I think this John Lewis ad is the best one it has produced in a very long time. *runs to the nearest store to buy an Edgar toy*

I’m even happy to put aside the fact that Edgar seems to have a real arson problem, especially targeted at children. Just look at him light that Christmas pud, it’s a small price to pay.

Agree with what I’ve chosen for my favourite Christmas ad? Or do you think a different ad should take the top spot? Let us know on Twitter.