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Brilliant festive ads are "a bit thin on the ground this year" says INITIALS Marketing executive creative director Nick Presley, adVENT Day:20

By Nick Presley | executive creative director



The Drum article

December 20, 2012 | 4 min read

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 INITIALS Marketing executive creative director, Nick Presley.

Let me be clear. I love Christmas. I love that there’s so much we moan about - family, weather, pissed people on trains, re-runs on the box, over-priced presents, the list of things we moan about is endless – but Christmas is an anchor point in our lives that deep down we all cherish. Which brings me to the task at hand. Choose a festive ad I love or loathe.Well the former is a bit thin on the ground this year, and paradoxically, so too is the latter. Don’t get me wrong – I think there’s a shedload of shite around this year, as well as well the odd beacon of proper festive cheer. John Lewis, of course, is excused from the naughty step for obvious reasons. And Morrison’s - whether or not I like it (and on second helpings, I think I do) mums will appreciate the humour. And Sainsbury’s, just for the soulful soundtrack. But just like my old mum’s mince pies, things are starting to dry up before the first crumb has hit my mouth (see, I love ‘em, but still moan about them). To get me in the mood I watched every ad, in every commercial break on ITV from 8.00-10.00pm last night. About 50 of them.

Coke. That lorry really needs an MOT I’m thinking. Argos it? Same campaign it runs all year, with a bit of tinsel. Perfume ad after perfume ad after perfume ad after perfume ad. How many horny men and women getting it on can a man take on a wet Tuesday night?

Next, Next. Nice track, nice editing, nice fake snow scene. Just…so nice. Bailey’s. Sweet visual juxtaposition and a tag line, which tickles, but, like the product, maybe a little too sickly. Asda, yet another supermarket holding up a mirror to the nation, but not as well angled as the Morrisons offering.A car ad shot in the middle of summer with no festive spirit on show at all. Then lordy oh lordy what’s this? A summer ad for baby milk, with a bit of snow chucked in to make it feel festive. They might as well have just stuck a pair of reindeer antlers in post production on the baby being suckled by its mum. WHSmith, yawn.

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Barclaycard…mmm…got my attention in an Ikea (now we’re talking, but not a Christmas ad) meets Toy Story kind of way, but I struggled to work out what they were actually selling.And so it goes on.I can’t help thinking all the nation’s efforts this summer have sucked some of the creativity out of this year’s festive ads. But though I’m being characteristically bah humbug about the sea of sameness that is washing over our screens, moaning about festive ads is now as much part of our Christmas tradition as turkey and Dad’s old socks with holes in being used as stockings (doesn’t everyone?).And I for one wouldn’t want it any other way.Cheers. Nick Presley is the executive creative director at INITIALS Marketing. Nick has over 25 years’ experience working in the industry and is in love with brutally simple ideas, and the odd complicated one. Prior to joining INITIALS Nick helped set up Woo Communication, the sales promotion and experiential marketing company within Engine. Nick’s hobbies include playing golf, cricket, skiing, surfing and debating the merits of every movie ever made.WCRS' creative director Billy Faithfull takes on Chanel No.5's "Bradvert" in his 19 December adVENT.

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