The festive season is almost upon us – which means it’s time for advertisers to up their budgets and start producing shiny snow-covered campaigns again. This Christmas Marc Lewis, the highly-revered creative mind who leads the School of Communications Arts London, will review (in his opinion) the merits of some of the biggest brands' seasonal spots with a creative eye, separating the Christmas crackers from the turkeys.
When I think of great Christmas commercials from recent years, one that springs to mind is the brilliant Sainsbury’s 2014 'The Truce' that commemorated the start of the Great War. I remember driving down to my local supermarket to buy a handful of chocolate bars, knowing that gluttony and gifting was supporting The Royal British Legion.
AMV BBDO were fighting Adam&Eve/DDB that Christmas – it was the year of 'Monty the Penguin' for John Lewis. Both agencies threw everything they had into the mix. Tears were shed. People across the country were talking about both commercials in pubs and offices.
One hundred years since the end of the Great War, and the landscape looks very different. AMV got bombed by Sainsbury’s (moving creative to Wieden + Kennedy) and the former incumbent formed an alliance with Asda.
'BringChristmas Home' is the duo's first Christmas advert and there’s nothing Great about it. It’s just sixty seconds of your life that you will never get back, with as many Asda products as possible squeezed into an unbelievable and unmemorable scene.
The PR blurb has a senior Asda marketer claiming that this is an "adrenalin-fuelled" ad that people can relate to. Really? If he believe this is adrenalin-fuelled then let’s stick him on a rollercoaster, get him to watch Deadpool or invite him to the creative department’s Christmas party.
That would be more fun to watch.
If Asda's top marketer believes that people can relate to this commercial, then he’s already drunk the creative’s Christmas party dry.
Advertising is at war and the first line of defence is the ad blocker. To penetrate, we need to make content that people want to watch, share and talk about.
Anything less that that is a waste of time, money and opportunity.
This Christmas, I will be watching something adrenalin-fuelled that most people can relate to. Arsenal are playing at Anfield on Saturday 29 December.
Score out of 5?
3, but it’s a great agency and capable of living better.
Keep up with The Drum's 2018 Christmas coverage here.