Christmas ads 2021
Welcome to The Drum’s Christmas ad round-up for 2021. Here you’ll find all the latest ad campaigns from around the world.
The Christmas advertising season is upon us, but you’re not alone in thinking it feels earlier than usual.
In the face of global supply chain problems coupled with fuel and driver shortages, some retailers are opting to drop their festive marketing earlier than they might have done in the past.
But for others – like Very – an early kick-off was always part of the strategy for Christmas 2021 as it looked to double down after last year’s lockdown dampened celebrations.
Here’s where you’ll find all the latest ads from major brands around the world.
Agency: AMV BBDO
Guinness is lighting up 22 pubs across the country this December to celebrate their returning role as hubs of the community and places of joyful times this festive season.
Created in partnership with AMV BBDO, the campaign also sees The Guinness Pub Choir making their debut performance covering the classic Elvis Presley hit Always On My Mind.
Neil Shah, head of Guinness GB, said: “The past 18 months has been incredibly tough for the hospitality industry, so we want to do all that we can to make sure Guinness supports locals. Our ’Light Up the Local’ Christmas campaign is about celebrating pubs as the beating heart of our communities where people can come together with their mates over a pint of Guinness in the run-up to Christmas.“
Agency: BBDO San Francisco
’Welcome to Hope, USA’ is the festive campaign from financial services company Wells Fargo and the creative team at BBDO San Francisco.
This holiday season, the bank aims to uplift and support the small businesses that are so important to our society.
As well as working with non-profits, Wells Fargo is teaming up with community leaders and locals in 16 cities across the country to help spruce up business districts amid the prime holiday shopping season.
Walkers and Comic Relief have teamed up this Christmas to remind everyone that talking, sprinkled with a dash of humor, can have a positive impact on mental wellbeing.
Created by VCCP, the ad opens with the main character, Larry, arriving at a festive family get-together. Larry is accompanied by an emoji that subconsciously displays what he’s truly feeling as he puts on a brave face while mingling.
In the final scene, Larry joins his mate in the kitchen for a catch-up and a truthful conversation about how he's really been getting on. It’s a reminder to not always take someone’s answer of ’I’m fine’ at face value.
The video ends with radio presenter Roman Kemp delivering the tagline: “It’s good to share…just not your crisps.”
Agency: Publicis Conseil
French retailer Carrefour is spreading the Christmas spirit this December by putting solidarity at the heart of its festive campaign.
The ad is an ode to everyday heroes and, to coincide with the launch, the chain will donate 500,000 meals to various associations.
”The health crisis has amplified our responsibility in the fight against food insecurity, and it has also highlighted the importance of the social contact some people need even more during the Christmas holidays,” explains Caroline Dassié, executive director of marketing, brand, data and customers at Carrefour Group.
She’s behind you…RuPaul’s Drag Race UK series 2 winner, Lawrence Chaney, has been appointed Scotland’s first official ‘Fairy Godmaw’ by Irn-Bru. The drag queen has long been a fan of Scotland's favorite fizzy juice, stating that it was a 'dream come Bru' to become the nation’s Fairy Godmaw: “The last year of my life has felt like my very own fairytale Panto – I went from getting £15 a gig to performing in front of thousands in my Glasgow hometown, writing a book, winning a BAFTA and going to Hollywood to film my own show.
Agency: BBC Creative
To celebrate this year’s Christmas festivities, the BBC’s in-house creative team has gifted us with an almost 4 minutes long film highlighting what the big day looks like in homes up and down the country.
From loud embellished jumpers to early morning bucks fizz to cheery holiday jingles, the spot focuses on everyday people and offers a relatable reprise from more typical holiday campaigns.
Throughout the film, there are nods to various BBC shows available to watch on iPlayer, such as Top Gear and Call The Midwife, and ends with the tagline: ’This is our Christmas. This is our BBC.’
Is your dog the next Pupweiser?
Budweiser is getting into the holiday spirit while celebrating the four-legged best buds in your life. The annual Pupweiser contest, a national search to find the goodest boy or girl to feature on Budweiser’s 2022 holiday cans, is underway and will run until December 15.
With every entry, the beer brand will donate $1 – up to $25,000 – to the ASPCA, a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing cruelty to animals.
‘Tis the season to slay it’ is George at Asda’s first standalone Christmas partywear campaign and is aiming to help cement the retailer as a credible player within the high-street fashion landscape.
In the film, viewers see the lead character enter a traditional pub during the festive season. Knowing how society sometimes receives gender nonconforming and trans people, the fashionista becomes worried about their stand-out sequinned outfit.
Triumphantly we see them push through the feared judgment and dance their way into changing the whole atmosphere in the pub to one of celebration. In the words of the campaign, they ‘slay it’.
In 2021 George at Asda donated £100,000 to Diversity Role Models, which collaborated with it on this campaign, to help it with its bid to end LGBT+ bullying in schools.
British comedian and Man Like Mobeen star Guz Khan fronts Virgin Media’s festive spot, reimagining the traditional role of Santa.
‘Chri23rdmas’ aims to deliver the magic of Christmas day 48 hours early with a whole host of prizes available to win on December 23, which include VIP box tickets to see Coldplay, an unforgettable trip to Richard Branson’s luxury lodge and an exclusive dining experience curated by Jimmy Garcia.
Agency: Spark Foundry and Jungle Creations
December babies, it is time to reclaim your birthday. Spark Foundry and Jungle Creations have launched a tongue-in-cheek digital campaign for Mexican-inspired brand Taco Bell UK, cutting through the noise by inviting people not to talk about Christmas.
According to the fast-food brand, each year an average of 55,000 birthdays are forgotten due to being close to the big day. Sadly, we hear stories all the time about individuals who don’t enjoy the Christmas period because of this.
This new spot highlights, in a humorous way, how people have had countless overlooked birthdays and missed presents, but Taco Bell UK wants them to reclaim the celebrations and disrupt the usual festivities to make their December birthday front and center.
Agency: Don’t Panic
London-based creative agency Don’t Panic has collaborated with homelessness and housing charity Shelter in an emotive spot highlighting that many people will be spending Christmas without a place to stay this year.
In the film, viewers see the relationship between a mother and daughter, who are driving in their car on a winter evening. In a lighthearted moment, the mum begins to joyfully sing Wham’s festive hit Last Christmas to her teenager after discovering that their car radio doesn’t work. It also quickly becomes apparent that the bags in the back seat are not gifts, but in fact the duo’s belongings.
Just as the mother is about to give up on a Christmas sing-a-long with her daughter, there’s a warm moment between them as the teen joins in with the catchy tune and presents her mother with a small present.
As the car pulls up, it’s revealed that they are both spending Christmas in their vehicle, parked in a lonely, cold car park.
Agency: Illumination and Comcast
For its 2021 holiday campaign, Xfinity is highlighting the importance of resilience, togetherness and tradition in an original short film that will debut during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC in the US on November 25.
The Christmas spot, created by Illumination, features the stars of the award-winning studio’s upcoming animated movie Sing 2.
Agency: TBWA/Media Arts Lab
Apple has enlisted father-and-son duo Ivan and Jason Reitman to direct its heartwarming holiday commercial. ‘Saving Simon’ tells the story of a young girl who heroically attempts to keep her much-loved snowman, affectionately named Simon, preserved throughout the entire year.
TBWA/Media Arts Lab also worked with the tech giant on the spot, which is the latest installment of the ‘Shot on iPhone’ series.
Agency: VMLY&R Lima
Nothing will stop people celebrating Christmas this year, not even the endless shopping or random gifts from family members can detract from the joy of all being together.
VMLY&R Lima’s festive spot for Blanca Flor celebrates a sweet treat that’s a firm favorite this time of year, the fruity Panettone cake and the wonderful feeling of sharing it with loved ones.
Agency: DDB Budapest
’The Biggest Gift’ is the Christmas 2021 campaign from Deutsche Telekom, developed by DDB Budapest and directed by Stina Lütz.
The festive film explores the relationship of a young boy and his grandfather who have not seen each other for a long time, but kept close thanks to the fun online interactions between them during the year, until the moment when they finally see one another again on Christmas Day.
The ad ends with the line ’The greatest gift is being back together’.
Posten (the Norwegian postal service) is sending a message of inclusivity this holiday season with a new Christmas campaign showcasing Santa as you’ve never seen him before.
Shattering established tropes, the campaign marks the 50th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality in Norway, as well as Posten’s commitment to a diverse workplace.
‘When Harry Met Santa’ brings the joy of love to viewers by way of a chance fireplace encounter that sparks an enduring relationship between Harry and Father Christmas, who are doomed to meet just once a year.
Agency: Publicis Conseil
This festive season, network provider Orange is launching a campaign with Publicis Conseil that celebrates being reunited with loved ones this year after a series of lockdowns and long months without seeing each other.
The heart warming tale follows the daily life of an adorable snowman who is forced to stay inside his frosty refrigerated house the full year until winter returns and allows him to meet his friends outside.
The 90-second symbolic film was directed by François Rousselet.
For its first solo Christmas ad distinct from the overall Amazon brand, Amazon Prime Video EU has stuck to the established industry formula – a minimalist cover of a classic song (Nat King Cole’s Smile as performed by Joy Crookes) and a tale of togetherness featuring a CGI sidekick.
Amazon Prime Video worked with Spanish Agency CYW to make audiences fall in love with a snarling hyena called Hattie. The plot is familiar but weird. From her zoo enclosure, Hattie becomes hooked on TV and is cast aside by her peers as a result. She moves in with zookeeper Carl, who just wants a pal to watch the TV with. Our fluffy Christmas mascot bares her teeth several times – she’s either smiling or snarling. This adds some much-needed tension missing from more saccharine works.
Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity is launching its annual Christmas appeal with an emotive and beautifully animated spot created by Adam&EveDDB.
‘One Step Closer To Home’ is the story of a young patient named Henry who has been in the hospital for two years. In the film, we see him collecting magical colorful socks that miraculously help him grow taller the more he puts on.
Illustrator: Cari Vander Yacht
Diageo, maker of Guinness, Johnnie Walker and Baileys, has launched a global responsible drinking campaign designed to make people stop and think about overindulgence during the festive period.
‘Know When to Stop‘ features beautiful illustrations by Cari Vander Yacht, who said: “I wanted to visually capture the sort of manic nature of ‘too much of a good thing’, which was central to the overall idea of moderation. I like tales of human folly, so I tried to capture that in a festive, over-the-top way.”
Rapper and Migos star Quavo stars in the debut holiday campaign for sports retailer Lids.
‘Fitted Santa‘ features the musician sitting in his very own Santa throne at a Lids store reading The Story of Fitted Santa, where the special hat travels from person to person, including being handed out by Quavo himself, to spread the holiday cheer.
Agency: Publicis Luxe
Cartier has teamed up with a whole host of famous faces including Willow Smith, Jackson Wang, Lilly Collins and Monica Bellucci for its 2021 holiday campaign.
‘Love is All‘ celebrates the joy of togetherness that this festive time of year brings. The film was directed between Paris, Los Angeles and Shanghai by British director and fashion photographer Charlotte Wales.
Waitrose has become the latest brand to show its hand for Christmas with the unveiling of some festive star power to communicate its place as the home of the best Christmas food.
Drawing on the personalities of Extras star Ashley Jensen and celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal, the commercial promotes the funny side of festive food, bringing some much-needed seasonal cheer.
Centered on the message that ‘the best bit of Christmas is the food,’ the campaign by Adam&EveDDB showcases the stomach-rumbling treats available to fill your Christmas table.
Catherine O’Hara, who plays Kevin McCallister's mom in the 90s Christmas movie Home Alone, once again realizes she's lost Kevin in the Chase Freedom Unlimited holiday campaign, but plot twist: it's not the Kevin you think it is.
It's actor and comedian Kevin Hart.
The spot was produced by Droga5 and directed by Jake Symansky (Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Funny or Die Presents).
November 15: Make-A-Wish UK
Director: John Turner
Make-A-Wish UK, a charity that grants life-changing wishes to critically ill children, has launched its festive campaign ’Light Up The Darkness’.
The film features a group of children that the charity supports and artistically depicts the innocence that’s often ripped away by critical illness while highlighting the power that a wish can bring to light up the darkest of times.
The spot was directed by John Turner and voiced by actor David Walliams.
DoorDash is tapping into that moment we‘ve all felt, the ‘oh no‘ feeling of forgetting to get someone a holiday gift.
In the short video, viewers are privy to a moment of panic that a party host feels when a guest turns up who she hasn‘t bought a present for. Luckily, the event thrower has her mobile phone in hand and is able to use the DoorDash Gifting service to remedy the issue.
Hot on the heels of its Domin-Oh-Hoo-Hoo campaign, pizza chain Domino’s has launched its first-ever Christmas ad, and in true brand style it’s doing so with a twist.
Created by VCCP, the video commences with people enjoying a typical Christmas carol service in a local town hall when unexpectedly the lead choir boy nervously breaks into an angelic yodel ’Domin-Oh-Hoo-Hoo’ which translates to ‘Domino’s after the show?’ One by one, the rest of the choir begin to join in with the festive singing, much to the puzzlement of the conductor and audience.
”The beauty of pizza is that it’s a meal that is great for sharing. At Domino’s, we love being part of reunions among friends and family, and are excited to offer a slice of festive pizza during this magical time of the year,” said Sarah Barron, chief marketing officer at Domino’s.
”Our yodel debut worked incredibly well and we’re excited to bring our first ever Christmas ad to fruition with a yodeling choir.”
Sainsbury’s 2021 holiday campaign is encouraging us all to make it ‘A Christmas to Savor’. The spot from Wieden+Kennedy airs on TV in the UK today and features some instantly recognizable voices.
As the video commences, we hear the soulful sound of the Etta James classic hit At Last while the camera pans around a bustling room showcasing a whirlwind of merriment and activities.
Viewers see a grandpa in his chair having some trouble cracking open a nut with shards flying everywhere, children cheekily snacking under the dining table, a dog jumping up and down excitedly and two buddies enjoying a sing-song at the piano – albeit poised in hilarious positions with some questionable facial expressions.
Tesco is positioning itself as a standard-bearer for the national mood this festive season by putting on a stiff upper lip in its determination to ensure the UK celebrates a very Merry Christmas no matter what the world throws.
Created by BBH, the tub-thumping campaign is set to the pulse-setting beat of Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now, encouraging people to set aside life’s troubles and celebrate with abandon – irrespective of Covid-19 restrictions
Christine Turner and Kevin Masters of BBH commented: “After the last one, this Christmas had to be a cracker, so our campaign is a rallying cry to show we’re made of harder stuff this year, and nothing’s stopping us. And who better to show this than our scooting gran weaving her way through a joyfully defiant nation as they tackle anything thrown at them.”
Agency: VCCP London
’We’re better, connected’ is the festive brainchild of O2 and agency partner VCCP London featuring an army of reliable and loyal robots with one mission this Christmas: to connect people across the country and help tackle data poverty.
The heartwarming ad brings customers on a journey of connection, as the ’Bubl’ army tiptoes into the homes of those without access to the internet, encapsulating the nation’s mood that Christmas is a time to celebrate treasured moments of connection rather than material goods.
Jim Capp, creative director at VCCP London, said: ”Over the last 18 months in particular, the internet has kept many of us connected to friends, family, entertainment and work. It’s an essential, but we’re incredibly conscious that millions still are without access to those simple connections – unable to work, bank, learn online, keep in touch with family and friends. Imagine that. With Christmas being a time when connection is more important than ever, we’re proud that this campaign is supporting the National Databank in donating data to those who need it. That’s the true spirit of Christmas in my eyes.”
Agency: Leo Burnett
The latest installment of the ‘Reindeer Ready’ campaign dropped this morning and marks the fifth time the fast-food brand has worked with creative agency Leo Burnett on the art direction and script.
This is the heartwarming tale of a young girl, Matilda, and her lifelong relationship with her imaginary friend Iggy. The pair bond over their love of Christmas and all the rituals that occur around the season. As the film progresses, we see Matilda grow into a confident young woman and, unfortunately, Iggy gets slightly forgotten about. If you‘ve seen Toy Story, you‘ll get it. The concept comes full circle when a scene in a McDonald‘s restaurant reminds her of her old friend once more.
Agency: VMLY&R Hungary and Bold Budapest
Vodafone Hungary decided to focus on an untraditional theme for Christmas this year: loneliness.
In the short film, created by VMLY&R Hungary, we see an elderly widow having friendly chats with the butcher, sharing stories with the postman, and never-ending conversation with the florist and his neighbors in the elevator.
Viewers begin to realize that the older gentleman has no one he can share Christmas Eve with at home. But the story ends on a happy note when the phone rings and the neighbor's family come over to share the joy of Christmas with him.
Agency: McCann UK
Aldi has unveiled its highly-anticipated Christmas campaign ‘A Christmas Carrot’ which features England striker Marcus Rashford as a cheery radish, festive icon Kevin the Carrot and new nemesis Ebanana Scrooge.
Created by McCann UK, the ad is a charming take on Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol and follows the story of grumpy Ebanana Scrooge who is very much stuck in his ways. Viewers see him trudging through the snowy streets towards his home and shortly after falling asleep, he is abruptly woken by the Spirit of Christmas (Kevin the Carrot) who takes him on a journey through the wintry town to remind him of the true joy of the season.
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy
Mariah Carey has switched sides from Walkers Crisps to McDonald’s for her latest stint as a fast-food ambassador by introducing the Mariah Menu.
The American singer will serve as the festive face for the brand as it offers US diners 12 days of deals from December 13 to Christmas Day itself.
Anyone making a $1 minimum purchase via the McDonald’s app during the period will receive a different free menu item each day, from a cheeseburger (Carey’s personal favorite) to chocolate cookies.
This is part of the brand’s Famous Orders series by Wieden + Kennedy, which ropes in celebrities such as BTS to promote its menu with the notion that there is something available for everyone, no matter how famous you are.
Agency: BBDO Minneapolis
Is everything better when wrapped in bacon? Rapper Coolio votes yes.
This holiday season, Hormel Black Label Bacon is helping people take any old gift up a sizzling notch with the release of its bacon-scented wrapping paper.
”There’s this great insight around bacon as this indulgence that makes everything better. It’s something crave-able, something different, something ownable by our brand,” said Sam Hovland, senior brand manager for Black Label Bacon.
”We may be open to considering selling it in the future – this is a unique opportunity for us to help our fans be the talk of the holidays.”
Agency: DentsuMB UK
Coca-Cola today debuted its new holiday campaign, part of its ongoing ‘Real Magic’ global brand platform. The campaign includes a holiday ad that drives home the concept of togetherness, a revival of the Coca-Cola Holiday Caravan – which was canceled last year due to the pandemic – and new virtual Santa sightings.
‘Chimney’ tells the heartwarming tale of a young boy who mobilizes a group of friendly neighbors in and around his apartment complex to fashion a makeshift ‘chimney’ out of cardboard boxes to welcome Santa. The final box at the tippy-top of the chimney is, of course, a red Coca-Cola box.
Creative agency Above+Beyond has launched a 10-hour virtual log fire on YouTube that raises money for Shelter’s Christmas fundraising drive.
Capitalizing on YouTube’s boom in virtual fireplace footage, Above+Beyond has struck a deal with Google AdSense for the homeless charity to retain the ad revenue.
Above+Beyond chief executive officer Zaid Al-Zaidy told The Drum the concept solves the “complex” mechanics of traditional fundraising, which relies on audiences having to stop and fill in their details.
“This idea is really seamless. Any member of the public can do this, it’s all within our ability to make a difference,” Al-Zaidy said. “When you hear about it there is no excuse not to do it.”
Agency: Fox & Hare
The Big Issue, an organization that offers people who are experiencing homelessness or who are vulnerably housed a means to earn an income, is launching a public appeal this Christmas to encourage the public to support its vendors who will be facing a hard winter this year amid quieter high streets.
Working alongside Fox & Hare, ‘The Big Wish’ is highlighting the stark difference between the fantastical wishes many people make for Christmas and the reality of the vendors’ wishes; often things that we all take for granted.
“Campaigns like ‘The Big Wish‘ have the power to make lasting change to a vulnerable community, building awareness of vendors‘ Christmas wishes that The Big Issue strives to make a reality. We are very proud to partner with The Big Issue to make Christmas wishes come true,” said Craig Hare, chief executive and co-founder at Fox & Hare.
Deliveroo is riding to the rescue of flummoxed gift-givers with some animated suggestions for the ultimate present in a festive-themed television campaign.
Positioning food as the must-have gift this Christmas, the seasonal campaign proves the adage that the quickest way to the heart is through the stomach with a range of fast-food alternatives to the traditional Christmas turkey.
Luxury retailer Harvey Nichols has unveiled its hotly anticipated window display for the 2021 festive period. The artistic display features modern stained-glass panels, flooded with light to reflect a glorious pattern of Christmas-colored hues inside and outside the windows.
Each panel is adorned with twinkling lights and beautiful hand-painted baubles that wrap around the flagship store.
“In true festive style, our 2021 Christmas window scheme was designed to help spread holiday cheer by using uplifting colors to evoke emotion, joy and happiness. We wanted to create something that would bring a smile to customers‘ faces, and what better way to do that than with bright mood-enhancing colored patterns that appear both inside and outside our stores,“ said Janet Wardley, head of visual display at Harvey Nichols
Ahead of the festive period, Disaronno International UK is celebrating Tia Maria’s newest product, the creamy liqueur Tia Maria Matcha.
While not your average Christmas spot, the 20-second film features a group of people showing off their own unique style through the creation of graffiti artwork on brick walls. The last frame of the ad is a bartender making cocktails – a sight many will be familiar with in the holiday season.
“It has been a big year for us – launching Tia Maria Matcha in our first year as a UK entity has allowed us to bring a coffee shop taste to homes across the UK. We wanted to celebrate the legacies and innovations of both of our core brands and are very excited to be bringing our commercials to UK consumers this winter," said Marc Richardson, country director at Disaronno International UK.
Agency: Lucky Generals
Amazon has kickstarted its Christmas campaign with the angelic voice of Adele helping to promote the kindness of strangers amid the annual consumer frenzy.
The global campaign has been created by Lucky Generals and recounts the story of a young woman forming a new friendship with her neighbor while attempting to resume a normal life following recent upheavals.
Communicating the value of kindness over any material gifts, the campaign highlights how it is the people around us who make Christmas truly special.
Agency: Adam & Eve
Region: UK, US, Canada, Germany
Peloton has released its 2021 Christmas spot titled ’When Your Workout Is a Joy, It’s a Joy to Work Out’, which is a modern retelling of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol and features comedian Brett Gelman as Scrooge.
Set to the iconic The Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack by Danny Elfman, the ad – created by Adam & Eve – shows Scrooge evolving from one the grumpiest of characters into someone who brings joy and happiness.
“This year’s holiday campaign embodies the evolution of the Peloton brand, showcasing more of the richness and fullness of the Peloton experience. It taps into the core insight that Peloton makes fitness – which can sometimes feel like a chore – enjoyable and fun,“ said Dara Treseder, senior vice-president, global head of marketing and communications at Peloton
‘King of the Streets’ is JD Sports’ festive 2021 spot and features cameos from stars including Maya Jama, KSI, Jadon Sancho and Trent Alexander-Arnold.
The fully integrated global campaign aims to reflect the authentic role that JD Sports plays in youth culture today.
Creative agency Cake teamed up with production partner Pretty Bird to execute the holiday spot, which is also a celebration of the retailer’s 40th year. With a nod to its Mancunian heritage, the spot premiered during Saturday’s Manchester derby on Sky Sports.
What will Christmas look like in the future? Lidl's new festive spot gives us a glimpse of what the supermarket has in mind.
‘Big On a Christmas You Can Believe In’ was created by ad agency, Karmarama, the fun spot starts in the present day where we see a family sitting down for a traditional Christmas dinner with all the trimmings.
Viewers are then taken by surprise with another scene of the same group at the table, this time set decades in the future, complete with a cutting edge turkey-carving laser and the news that some family members have moved to the Moon.
“After a challenging couple of years, the nation wants to look forward not back, which is why we’ve set our light-hearted ad decades in the future." said Claire Farrant, marketing director at Lidl GB.
Vodafone UK has teamed up with creative agency Ogilvy in its 2021 Christmas ad which highlights the issue of digital poverty.
According to the telecommunications company around 1.5m UK households, approximately 6% of the population, do not have internet access. To provide a solution, Vodafone is calling on viewers to give ‘The Gift of Connection’, aiming to inspire the nation to help those living in digital poverty by donating old devices.
“This year our Christmas campaign brings to life the joy of giving after an enormously challenging 18 months. We've created an uplifting campaign that harnesses the generosity of the nation at Christmas. We want to invite people to join our quest to tackle digital poverty and do so with a motivational and positive message." said Max Taylor, consumer director at Vodafone UK
Agency: Wonderhood Studios
Three UK is celebrating a nation of dog lovers in its new festive spot. In the video, which was developed with Wonderhood Studio, viewers see a rescue dog who is more than camera-ready as its owner photographs him in various Christmas-inspired outfits.
“Our new advert encapsulates why Life Needs a Big Network; to capture all the fun, small moments that happen in your life – and in this case, often with your pet.” Said Aislinn O’Connor, marketing director at Three UK
The spot is part of Three’s ‘Life Needs a Big Network’ platform was earlier this year and is being brought to life through an integrated approach with executions across TV, VOD, Press, PR and social, and in-store.
Agency: Havas London
Asda’s Christmas campaign has been choreographed by a Dancing on Ice star and is set to Boléro, the song made famous by British ice-skating duo Torvill and Dean, as the retailer looks to stand out this festive season.
The campaign has been dubbed ‘Asda on Ice,’ with a 60-second ad, which will run from November 5, sitting at its heart.
The spot follows a family gliding through a series of Christmas moments; from the school Christmas play to festive dinners and the office party. The whole thing plays out to Boléro – made world-famous by Jane Torvill and Christopher Dean’s 1984 Winter Olympics routine.
Asda, and its creative agency Havas, even hired three-time Dancing on Ice winner and the show’s current associate creative director, Daniel Whiston, to choreograph the advert.
Agency: McCann Manchester
Retailer Matalan has launched its Christmas campaign titled 'Real Moments, Real Magic'.
The warm and uplifting series was created by McCann Manchester and aims to demonstrate the emotional connection many people feel during this season through three different characters in various festive scenarios.
“This spot has everything Christmas - tinsel, disco balls, party lights, dinosaurs, gold sequins, but most importantly people at its heart whose Christmas narrative encapsulates the true spirt of Christmas," said Imogen Tazzyman, executive creative director at McCann Manchester.
Agency: BBDO New York
The protagonist for Macy’s holiday campaign is Tiptoe, a special little blue reindeer on the verge of realizing her ultimate dream – to join Santa’s Sleigh Team.
To officially kick off the magic of the holiday season, Tiptoe will march down Manhattan for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade as a puppeted animated balloon. The 60-second film will launch during the parade, along with robust supportive content, including interactive digital features across Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. An extended 90-second version will also appear in cinemas.
Agency: The Pharm, the WPP partnership team dedicated to Wallgreens Boots Alliance
Boot’s Christmas effort is called ‘Bags Of Joy’ and stars Bafta-nominated actress Jenna Coleman as the titular Joy. Viewers get to follow her journey as she discovers her bottomless bag of gifts and uses it to bestow Christmas presents upon everyone she cares for.
You can read The Drum’s interview with chief marketing officer Pete Markey on the campaign strategy here.
Agency: House of Fraser in-house in collaboration with What’s Possible Creative Studio
House of Fraser ‘rebranded’ as ‘House of Festive’ for a Christmas ad campaign that it hopes will remind people of the joy of gifting and shopping.
A spokesperson for House of Fraser said: “Showcasing House of Fraser as the ‘House of Festive,’ it brings to life luxurious and joyful festivities, while demonstrating our incredible product offering – cementing House of Fraser as the ultimate place to shop this festive season.”
Agency: The Rest
Sports Direct’s ‘Go All Out’ is the retailer’s second foray into the festive world of Christmas ads. The action-packed spot features footballer Jack Grealish, US Open winner Emma Raducanu and grime artist Big Narstie, and aims to encourage Brits to get up off the sofa, go outside and play sport – even when the elements are against them.
During the film viewers see a snowball fight with some tongue-in-cheek moments – including Jordan Pickford using his ball-handling abilities to hit Jack Grealish with a cheeky shot from behind, Jessica Ennis-Hill masterfully evading a line-up of players armed with snowballs, and golfer Andrew Johnston showing off his skills by driving a ball high above the rooftops.
Directed by Alex Motlhabane and Lewis Levi from The Rest, the £6m campaign is to be supported by TV, out-of-home (OOH), social media and in-store, and will debut with flagship TV spots during Gogglebox, Taskmaster and The Big Narstie Show.
Agency: Wieden+Kennedy London
Retailer TK Maxx has teamed up with Wieden+Kennedy London to create a joyful Christmas spot that will have you rockin’ around the tree.
The overall theme is taking ‘Christmas To The Maxx,’ and the campaign aims to capture the spirit of making this holiday season feel extra special.
The ad tells the story of an unexpected hero, an awkward teenage boy called Laurie getting ready to perform at a Christmas comeback concert in his local town hall. Laurie’s skills soon become apparent when he performs a special cover of Walk This Way by legendary rock band Aerosmith.
This is the sixth year TK Maxx has worked with Wieden+Kennedy London, and the TV campaign will also be supported with print, digital, social and PR, and a pan-European partnership with TikTok.
John Lewis, like many others, has taken the decision to launch its Christmas advert earlier than usual this year to meet growing consumer demand for an early festive period. ‘Unexpected Guest,’ created in partnership with long-term ad agency Adam&EveDDB, charts the fleeting friendship of 14-year-old Nathan and space traveler Skye.
The ad sees Nathan introduce Skye to key Christmas traditions, like sharing a mince pie, watching films and playing in the snow. Nathan’s parting gift as Skye returns to her home planet is his light-up Christmas jumper.
Smuggler is the production company behind the project, with Ewen Brown serving as producer alongside Mark Molloy, who directed.
The music behind John Lewis’s Christmas ads has become just as anticipated as the films themselves, and this year it is 20-year-old South Londoner Lola Young who takes the helm with a cover of Together in Electric Dreams, which was first released by Philip Oakey and Giorgio Moroder in 1984.
Agency: Grey London
Marks & Spencer has launched two ads this Christmas – one for food and one for home and fashion. Promoting its festive food collection is an animated Percy Pig voiced by Tom Holland, who is awoken by a fairy godmother voiced by Dawn French.
The retailer leveraged TikTok to maximize its exposure of the spot, with a teaser of its food commercial, accompanied by the hashtag #whoispercypig, posted for its 130k followers.
To support the campaign, M&S has taken over Waterloo Station, filling all ad spots and installing a gift train that features within the clothing and home ad. A cover wrap for tomorrow’s Metro has also been taken, along with hand-painted murals in Edinburgh, London and Manchester.
Both TV ads launched on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, with primetime debuts during the Pride of Britain Awards, going head-to-head against John Lewis’s Christmas ad premiere.
Agency: 72andSunny New York
Region: US, UK
Online marketplace Etsy has released its holiday season campaign titled ‘Give More Than a Gift.’
Two separate spots were created for the US and UK market, with the shared focus being on the relationships – expected and unexpected – that make an impact on our lives and the powerful way a gift can say something truly meaningful.
The campaign will run across over 50 cable channels, broadcast networks, streaming/OTT/VOD (such as Hulu, Roku, Sky, ITV Hub), digital video and podcasts, plus the support of paid social.
Agency: In-house, The Lego Agency
Production: Stink Paris
The Lego Group’s Christmas ad celebrates the magic and creative potential of children’s imaginations in a spot that takes viewers on a journey on how play can bring people together and overcome challenges.
Backed by a reimagined version of The Foundations’ pop classic Build Me Up Buttercup, the film sees giant bees scaring away Lego Star Wars stormtroopers, a fire-fighting dragon spraying water rather than flames, and cacti given glamorous Lego tile jackets so they can cuddle up to balloon dog friends. Shoppable formats will be used to help gift-givers easily find the Lego products that inspire the children in the film.
Agency: Friendly Giants
‘Gift The Extraordinary’ is the Christmas effort from Notonthehighstreet, a curated online marketplace for small creative businesses in the UK. The creative aims to capture the excitement and anticipation of consumers who want to celebrate Christmas with loved ones for the first time in two years, hero-ing the ‘extraordinary’ qualities of each and every person in the country.
Photographer: Cédric Viollet
Westfield is trying to re-engage customers this year after suffering from lockdown closures over Christmas in 2020. The integrated campaign is built on the insight that Westfield is a place where people can come together and that this year will be more traditional and nostalgic as people anticipate a return to normality for festive celebrations.
The creative will be amplified by a unique Instagram ‘sparkle’ AR filter, encouraging people to share pictures with the hashtag #ThatWestfieldFeeling.
Director: Jocelyn Antequil
Iconic department store Selfridges is getting shoppers ready for the ‘Christmas of Dreams’ with a new enchanted short film and magical window displays.
The festive campaign blends a range of creative references, from Busby Berkeley’s 1930s golden age of Hollywood to classic 1950s technicolor film musicals.
Characters in the slightly surreal film were brought to life alongside much-loved British actress and singer Jane Horrocks, with drag artist and sculptor Juno Birch.
The digital campaign is supported by in-store launches in London, Birmingham and Manchester, and on selfridges.com.
Director: Mark Romanek
Region: US, global
This holiday season, Gap has joined forces with global pop superstar Katy Perry to highlight the importance of love, kindness and acceptance with its new campaign ‘All Together Now.’ Perry’s remix of The Beatles classic All You Need Is Love sets the optimistic tone for the campaign.
Devised by Gap global creative director Len Peltier and renowned American filmmaker Mark Romanek, the Christmas spot amplifies the power of music and storytelling to convey a sense of joy that brings people together during the festive season.
Region: France, global
Disneyland Paris was also quick off the mark in getting the holiday emotions flowing with a sneak peek of its Christmas ad being teased on Twitter last week.
The video shows a family surrounding a Christmas tree exchanging gifts when someone is presented with a very memorable present – tickets to the famous Disney park.
This year, the iconic theme park is set to return to traditional holiday festivities and the new campaign hopes to entice guests to come and take part in the celebrations.
A magical gift that everyone will love… Get an exclusive first peek at our brand new Christmas TV advert! ✨ pic.twitter.com/3XHj1HHWgI
— Disneyland Paris EN (@DisneyParis_EN) October 20, 2021
Hobbycraft’s ‘Moments We Make’ campaign encourages viewers to embrace the special moments this festive season and enjoy crafting every detail of Christmas with loved ones. The advert will air across video-on-demand (VOD) services and social media.
Creative agency: Grey London
Media planning: Dentsu
Very was first out of the blocks with its Christmas ad launching on October 1. Reaction to such an early release was mixed.
The 30-second advert played on its earliness though, with confused trick-or-treaters turning up at a house decked out for Christmas and a mum giving her kids chores as they try to stay on Santa’s nice list.