Behind the windows of this very special Drum adVENT Calendar you’ll find a different member of the creative industry venting their feelings on a Christmas ad, or ads, they love or loathe. Today it’s Executive Creative Director at Holler, Will Pyne.
So, I’m at Holler HQ looking out of my window, which overlooks the pretty Tesco megastore on Warwick Avenue. I'm looking at a recently upgraded neon Tesco sign that sits on top of a car park. But this is no ordinary sign. Oh no. It's an adapted Christmas Tesco sign, one that's been adorned with a green Christmas hat. Yes, that’s right. The Christmas hat sits at a jaunty angle on top of the O, an angle that nods to festive japes and seasonal joviality. So while writing this piece, looking at this sign, it's confirmed to me that big-brand Christmas creativity is firing on all cylinders. Hmmm.
This sentence aside, I’m not, I repeat not going to use any of my word count on the wet-as-a-melting-snowman, chronically over-hyped, never knowingly over-shared John Lewis Christmas ad. Instead have a look at these two; one is a shining star and the other a tramp’s stocking.
Father Christmas is synonymous with Coke. Coke the drink that is. And the white stuff, thinking about it. Every year the infamous bearded fella turns into a coke monster. A giant, scary monster of a man, his sunken eyes testimony to the party drain of Silly Season. That’s what I’m getting from this rather odd and (unintentionally) funny ad for Coca Cola. When I get some downtime on that pointless last half day at work, I’m going to splice this ad with the last scene from The Wicker Man. Or maybe the Ghostbusters marshmallow chap, both of which I am convinced were inspiration for this strange little job. Still, I’m sure it’s a hit with the kids. My favourite part of this particular Coke Christmas experience wasn’t the ad itself, but this fantastically dry comment underneath:
“Not enough trucks, not the awesome holidays are comin' build up, this has officially ruined Christmas for me”
Morrisons on the other hand has hit the Christmas advert sweet spot as far as I’m concerned. Casting is on the money with what’s-her-face from This Is England as our hapless protagonist. Could be a man in reality of course, but they’ve gone for woman ok? Ditch the sexist accusations, friends and move on. The humour is typically British but it feels original at the same time and let’s be honest it doesn’t get much better than the ‘woman on bird’ boxing ring scene (You love a bird innuendo at Christmas, yeah?) DLKW’s effort is bleak, surreal, heart-warming and nostalgic at the same time and is a top-notch evaluation of British Christmas. It does what us Brits so very good at: making fun of ourselves. And set against a backdrop of twee slush this heavy dose of funny realism is a roast chicken dinner.
Will Pyne is the joint founder and executive creative director of Holler, part of the Leo Burnett Group. Will started his career at Seven Worldwide before moving to Zinc, he then followed this with a stint at Leo Burnett before starting Holler.
Was Mr Kipling's Nativity Scene ad offering the by-product of a Cannes-obsessed culture? M&C Saatchi's Mark Goodwin thinks so in his 17 December adVENT.