We LOVE Christmas here at Raw London, mainly because it means the start of Christmas advert season! Who doesn’t love the branded festive spirit of heartfelt, beautifully crafted and overly expensive ads?! Well, actually, there is one person… Meet Tom Fuller, our Art Director and resident Yuletide ad critic. Here’s his roundup of 2020’s best Christmas ads…
Forever young, I wanna be forever young.
Ah! A slow, sombre take down of a classic pop hit – must be this year’s Christmas ad from insert-brand-here. Or to put it in a less grumpy way, let’s take a dive through the seasons’ attempts at convincing us to buy more burgers.
Let’s start with Amazon. I always think the most successful ads drill down into one, small underdog story – an individual we can spur on and whose struggle we can all relate to. Amazon does this well in the guise of a lone ballerina, supported by her small community. Whilst it’s hard to see Amazon as an underdog (pandemic sales boosts helped the company triple its profits amid a 37% increase in earnings recently) we can all relate to how the pandemic has taken something important away from us. The feeling of “we need to help each other, and be determined to get through this” is right there at the heart of this one and Taïs Vinolo carries the emotional weight of these themes on her back wonderfully.
On the other end of the scale, the theme for McDonalds seems to be akin to – “Is your kid a nightmare? If so, buy a Big Mac and they’ll love you again.” Which whilst appealing, doesn’t really seem to capture the “we’re all in this but oh my god please buy something together, guys!” spirit.
Lego has gone big and glossy this year and, whilst it’s visually lovely, I think maybe it’s missed a trick. Thinking about the impact of lockdown on children and parents, this year is a particularly unique and relevant one for Lego. Perhaps more than any other toy, the indoor adventure and imagination of Lego is more relevant than it has ever been. In fact there’s nothing in this ad that feels particularly current – is this last year or next year or five years ago?
I’m in two minds on Lidl’s contribution this year. On one hand, playing against the typical tropes of a Christmas ad is at least something different, and who can deny what a great moment it is when that other brand’s carrot mascot gets it in the chest from a fork. Whether you like it or not probably depends whether you have a tolerance for a bit of tongue in cheek sarcasm right now, or if you’d prefer to be swept away from 2020 on a glorious emotional ride. Tesco’s ad feels similar, if not a bit more topical.
I think whilst many of these ads harness the “we’re all in this together” theme of 2020, they all do it in an oddly siloed way. If the supermarkets really think community is key right now, then could they have together as one, rather than trying to best one another? I suppose I’m not suggesting that Amazon can team up with Tesco to show that it doesn’t matter whose carrots you buy this year, as long as we’re there for each other.
But maybe I am suggesting that.