Christmas ad campaigns have become a key part of the holiday zeitgeist. For 2017's offering, The Drum spoke to the industry to talk about their favourite festive advertising campaigns.
Following is a list of what the industry experts picked out as the best of the best.
Dino Burbidge, director of technology and innovation, WCRS - The Drum Creative Out Of Home Awards
Greenpeace UK - Alternative Coca-Cola Christmas Advert
As far as I’m concerned, Christmas ad season starts when the Coca Cola “Holidays are coming” soundtrack is heard in the wild. Sure enough, a colleague had it blaring out over their laptop speakers. I scooted my chair over and settled in to see if anything had changed this year. That’s when I realised I was watching the Greenpeace parody Christmas ad – having a direct poke at Coke. A cheap shot maybe but it did have everything the mainstream ads didn't – a point, a message, a surprise and most of all, something I could buy this Christmas… less plastic.
Anna Carpen, executive creative director, 18 Feet & Rising - The Chipshop Awards
Iceland - Christmas ad campaign
The Iceland 2017 Christmas campaign really makes me laugh. They’ve clearly had a lot of fun with the voice overs and aren't ashamed of what they are selling this Christmas. It’s tough when you don’t have as much cash as big supermarkets like Tesco, but this campaign shows you can use this to your advantage and still gain massive cut-through.
By choosing to wait until December to go live with the campaign the brand has also concentrated media spend into a shorter period, and the ads also don’t have long enough to get too annoying for consumers at home. These also feel very different to the tear-jerker story-style ads that have dominated over the last few years.
Reuben Turner, creative partner, GOOD Agency – The Marketing Can Change the World Awards
BBC - The Supporting Act
For me the clear winner is the BBC’s short film The Supporting Act. It’s not trying to sell us anything. It’s not trying to ‘beat’ other ads. It’s reminding us all to have a better, realer, more human Christmas – and acknowledging that we all have pressures and distractions in life that make that hard. It’s for a brand that we genuinely believe in. And above all, every frame feels like it’s made with generosity, not desperation.
Sarah Neal, creative director, HPS Group – The Drum Scottish Creative Awards
Vodafone - Love Story
As a nation of Christmas ad critics, the pressure is on for brands to give us something special at Christmas. What is the gift I expect a Christmas ad to deliver for my brand loyalty?
Simple. A feeling. Make me smile. Make me cry, just make me feel something, it’s Christmas after all.
The Vodafone Christmas love story did just that, it made me feel. What could be more romantic at Christmas than being quoted lyrics from It’s a Wonderful Life by a mysterious stranger?
Talking about data allowances in a romantic fashion without sounding clumsy is a big ask, but who better to nail it than Martin Freeman. Reeking of British Love movies that have gone before it, the product is bang at the heart of facilitating this seemingly perfect and timeless romance.
In fact, I liked it so much I jumped on YouTube to watch all six parts. I felt warm, fluffy and festive but most of all gripped by the tale.
James Cross, creative director, BBC Creative - The Drum Cream Awards
Cards Against Humanity Saves America
Christmas is a time for giving and taking in ad land. Boots’ ‘Show Them’ spot, John Lewis’s ‘Moz’, Aldi’s ‘Kevin’ and Iceland’s ‘Gilded Turkey’ all gave generously. But on Saturday night we (BBC Creative) unleashed ‘The Supporting Act’, and without too much bias, I believe we took Christmas - in less than 48 hours, we racked up more views than Moz n’all.
But, ignoring that and stifling megalomanic laughter for a moment, Christmas is all a bit John Lewisy isn't it? So the best work has to break the mould, or the bauble, if you will.
Take a bow ‘Cards Against Humanity Saves America’ because your work is just genius. Aside from being culturally bang on, it’s original and completely unexpected - it gives us all want for Christmas, peace and good will to everyone, and takes it away from Donald Trump.
Sarah Kiefer, director of business marketing EMEA, Spotify – The Drum Marketing Awards
There are three Christmas ads that have stood out for me this year:
Now TV’s ad is not overtly Christmassy but manages to convey the flexibility of its streaming offering in a simple and quirky way that feels right for the season and brand.
Paddington was the perfect choice for M&S. The powerful story arch makes it seem like a mini movie.
The BBC’s Supporting Act is natural heir to last year’s The Greatest Gift. A message of togetherness without talk track, the brilliant Symphony from Zara Larsson/Clean Bandit (currently at 453 million streams on Spotify…), is made to feel fresh with a remix from Steve Mac.
And of course Spotify’s campaign also rocks. But I’m biased.
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Entries for the awards in the first half of 2018 are now open.