Tuesday, 11 November 2014

The one where I review the Christmas ads

Work was crazy last week. I write about adverts, and the first week of November now seems to be when all the big U.K. advertisers release their Christmas commercials. I sat through, and then wrote about, at least a dozen festive offerings, then felt surprised when I went back into the real world and everyone wasn't making mince pieces or watching the snow fall prettily outside.

I'm sure virtually everyone in the UK has seen the John Lewis ad by now, but I'm going to post it here for the benefit of my non-UK readers. I like it, even though I know it's highly manipulative and designed specifically to appeal to me, the middle-class mother. The Doctor said it looks as if it was directed by Richard Curtis, and I agree (it wasn't. The director, Dougal Wilson, has done many of John Lewis's "hits", including The Snowman). Some people (including the lovely Melissa at Talk About York) said the little boy in it was too good to be true, and of course she's right, but an ad featuring grumpy tired kids who don't want to do their homework probably wouldn't have worked as well. A minority still said it left them cold -- one Facebook friend of mine said she just kept thinking the grubby penguin toy needed a good wash.

Marks and Spencer's, ad, meanwhile, is just as whimsical but not quite as winning, in my opinion. It concerns a couple of fairies who go around spreading their magic dust to better everyone's Christmas. I particularly noted that they manage to get a bunch of kids, who are sitting around watching TV and on iPads, outside playing in the snow.But that wasn't enough to make my eyes smart.

Maybe laughter is better than tears? Mulberry's ad is the one that made me laugh the most. Even though I'm not into fancy handbags, I love the humour and the portrayal of the snooty family.

 Waitrose, meanwhile, has a child who's bad at baking being saved by the lovely people at Waitrose. Now I sympathise with this child. I was/am rubbish at baking too. But if I went down my local Waitrose and asked for help with making biscuits, I can't really believe they wouldn't stare at me like I'm a crazy woman. Anyway - it's nicely done, and if you didn't know, the choir singing Dolly Parton's "Try" is made up of ordinary people who uploaded clips of themselves warbling the song.

Finally Vodafone has a bunch of people singing "Let it Go," in their Christmas ad this year. I wonder if they thought this would be a hit for anyone with small children? But perhaps these parents are fed up with hearing the bloody song, and will groan when they hear it yet again? 

Which is your favourite? Have you seen another one you like?


Iota said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Iota said...

I clicked away from the M&S one when I came across it a few days ago, because really, truly, I can't cope with grown-up women being fairies. Perhaps I was attacked by one as a child or something, but there's just something so incredibly icky about it. So that gets a big thumbs down from me.

I agree, the Mulberry one is funny. The Waitrose one is... well, I'm annoyed with Waitrose because I went through the process of being one of their nominated charities for the month, in May, and we STILL haven't received the money, even though I keep phoning and asking. I got people to go and shop there so they could drop a green token in the box for us, so it's really not on to be so niggardly about paying up - I put extra business their way. I jolly well hope they're reading this. I phoned today, and was told "it takes a long time because it has to go down south". What, by carrier pigeon? And no, I don't like their ad. Totally unrealistic that a child would be that patient and persevere so much on their own. Worse than grown women as fairies.

Yes, Iota is having her Grinch moment right here on your blog. Except I DO like the John Lewis one. In previous years I've found the JL ad a bit saccharin sweet, but this one manages to avoid that, perhaps because of the grubbiness of the penguin toy, which I'm sure everyone will have noticed. Incidentally, some ad agency should be quick off the mark, and produce a sequel in which the mum washes that toy.

Clare Taylor said...

Interestingly, based on what you wrote, I didn't even bother to check out the M&S one - but quite like all the others. Maybe because they remind me of home?

Melissa said...

I didn't really enjoy any of them except the John Lewis one - despite my comments on my blog. What a fascinating job you must have! (Thanks for the link by the way)

Elaine - I used to be indecisive said...

Iota sent me this way after I mentioned the fact that I feel I have been ambushed by the Christmas ads!
I quite like the John Lewis one, but I think it is almost too similar to the last two years' ones. I don't like the M&S one at all - I'm not sure what message it is sending, but it's not one that appeals to me. I hadn't seen the Mulberry one until I saw it here and I think it might be my favourite - I like the humour in it. Unfortunately I quite like the Waitrose but not too much. Possibly because, as a primary teacher, from the opening scene I just kept thinking 'but school Christmas fund raisers just don't work like that'! It looks pretty enough though.
I don't think I've seen the Vodafone one, and I can't get it to play here. I quite like the Sainsbury's one and think it is topical because of the 100 year anniversary of WW1, but thought it went on too long. Tesco's is nice and simple, and I quite like it.
However - are any of these ads going to make me rush to those shops to buy my gifts, more so than if I hadn't seen their ads? No.

About Last Weekend said...

OMG, I am a sucker for Richard Curtis and anything like it so almost wept at the top one. Also did not see that ending coming!
I am easily sold to as you can see

Trish Burgess said...

I hadn't seen the Mulberry one but it appealed to me. Am also a fan of the JL adverts and was totally hooked by Monty. But I always smile when I hear everyone talk about the JL Christmas ads because when I worked for them in the 80s and 90s they didn't advertise at all - no TV, newspapers, nothing. Times have changed.