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It’s December and the countdown to Christmas is officially on!

Oh the Christmas ads… they’ve become a modern tradition, signalling the arrival of the festive season. Perhaps most eagerly anticipated is the John Lewis offering.

When you see that for the first time, you know it’s time to hit the shops, meander around Christmas markets, choose your Christmas party outfit, and (in our case) drink as much mulled wine as you can.

We’ve been keeping an eye on this year’s crop of Christmas ads as they’ve been rolling out, and now we’ve hit December, we thought we’d give you our take on which are the shining stars!

John Lewis & Waitrose

Here at Juicy HQ, we think Excitable Edgar is adorable! Just like an overexcited child at Christmas (with the additional ability of fire breathing), Edgar the dragon gets carried away with the festivities and inadvertently ruins the fun; melting a snowman, melting a frozen lake as he attempts ice-skating, and burning the village Christmas tree to a crisp!

Edgar is a misunderstood character and we feel as sorry for him as he does for himself. Fortunately, his friend sees past his fire breathing problem and tries to help by presenting him with a gift that he is allowed to set alight – a Christmas pudding!

We also love the humour in this offering, and according to Kantar’s research, people feel the same – Excitable Edgar scored 96% for enjoyment, and 100% for emotional impact! The John Lewis Partnership have certainly captured the spirit of Christmas with a message of giving, hope and forgiveness in this nostalgic and charming ad.

It’s nice to see some classic festive activities and a feast; celebrating togetherness and the real “magic” of Christmas.

Team Juicy are in agreement that it’s a lot more memorable than John Lewis’s productions over the past couple of years, and we’re sure that Edgar merchandise will be flying off the shelves!

M&S

A catchy song and crazy dance moves give M&S a fun twist on Christmas. Initially focussing on Christmas jumpers, the series also showcases pyjamas, with the themes “Go jumpers (or pyjamas) for Christmas”, to fit with its online and in-store slogan of “Go gifting for Christmas”.

They’re high energy and highly contagious! You can’t help but bop along to it. ‘Go jumpers’ begins with a girl putting on a jumper, and getting “the jumps”. She starts dancing uncontrollably and as the ad continues, more and more people experience the same thing, even Action Man gets involved!

We’ll admit, we were a little surprised these ads came from M&S, but they certainly appeal to a wider, family audience (in line with their other marketing activities this year) whilst also standing out from other Christmas ads.

It makes the traditional Christmas gifts of jumpers and pyjamas playful and dare we say it, even cool!

M&S have included so many jumpers and pyjamas from their ranges that you’d be hard pushed not to spot something  you like, sneakily eliminating the need to shop elsewhere for your festive look.

Our verdict? Fun, catchy and puts us in the mood to party! We’re fans!

Aldi

Crowned this year’s most effective Christmas ad by Kantar, Aldi’s latest story about Kevin the Carrot is memorable and fun. Inspired by Peaky Blinders, this year sees Kevin in a spot of trouble in the veg world.

The notorious Russell Sprout and his “leafy blinders” sprout gang have Kevin tied to a grater, giving the start of this story quite a menacing feel. The sprouts are angry that Kevin and his family are trying to steal the show again this Christmas (if you recall last year, Kevin faced an evil parsnip)!

Fortunately for our carrot star, Tiny Tom comes to Kevin’s rescue and there’s a fabulous showbiz number set to an excellent food parody of Robbie Williams’ ‘Let Me Entertain You’, showcasing Aldi’s Christmas food.

Last year, Kevin the Carrot helped Aldi become the fastest-growing supermarket during the festive period, making almost £1bn in December alone – up 10.4% year on year!

He’s been Aldi’s festive mascot since 2016, and Kevin the Carrot seems to be working a treat for the brand. Customers recognise and love him, children want plush Kevin toys – there have been queues outside Aldi stores the day stock arrives – and Aldi is affordable – which can’t be a bad thing at this time of year! It’s fun, memorable and feel-good.

It came in the top 10% for ad enjoyment in the Kantar survey, and that was looking at ads generally, not just Christmas ones!

It just goes to show; who doesn’t like a playful character, a warming festive story where good triumphs, and of course, singing and dancing food?!

McDonalds

A particularly cute advert from McDonalds this year, focusing on imagination and family at Christmas. This one follows Ellie, a little girl who just wants to play reindeers with her older sister. Her sister tells her she’s too old to play, but when Ellie goes into the garden, she’s lucky enough to meet an adorable little reindeer which she plays with all afternoon!

The family head to McDonalds for more reindeer treats – Ellie’s sister decides she’s not too old to tag along, after all. In the car, the animation turns into reality and it turns out the reindeer is in fact the family dog dressed up in antlers and a tutu.

Children’s imaginations are central to making Christmas so magical; their joy at the thought of Santa climbing down the chimney and leaving a mince pie for him and carrots for his reindeer is something most families are familiar with. McDonalds captures that joy and magic perfectly with this sweet advert, whilst highlighting the season as a time to share with family.

In line with the ad, McDonalds will be selling reindeer treats (reindeer branded bags of carrots) as well as creating a digital hub where consumers can enter a competition to win one of 2000 McDonalds Christmas jumpers; parents can also order an Archie the Reindeer storybook.

 

How do McDonalds engage their customers at Christmas?

Augmented reality is a great marketing tool (which we’ll be talking about in next week’s festive update) and McDonalds have created “Reindeer Ready Live” which allows parents to share the magical moment Santa’s reindeers enter their home at Christmas with their children!

If that isn’t enough, they’ve also created a Snapchat filter which turns you and your pooch into reindeer!

McDonalds have really gone to town with the collateral surrounding this ad, there’s plenty to increase engagement with the brand digitally, and to top it off, it’s a Christmas ad that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. We like it!

Walkers

No stranger to a celeb endorsement, this Christmas Walkers’ have enlisted festive diva Mariah Carey’s help. Tapping into a cultural trend is an excellent marketing strategy, and this year marks the 25th anniversary of the star’s hit ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’.

Naturally, the song opens the ad, set on a music video shoot. As it ends, Carey hands out gifts to the shoot team, explaining “I love Christmas. It’s a magical time. A time for giving, a time for caring, a time for sharing.”

But there’s a comical twist when both Carey and a Christmas elf reach for the last pack of Walkers new Pigs in Blankets flavour! By singing her famous and notoriously high note from the Christmas hit, Mariah Carey shatters a pair of glasses and causes the elf to drop the bag, leaving them to her.

The ad ends with Walkers tagline: “Walkers, too good to share.” Walkers won Kantar’s survey in the Brand Love category, and also performed well in categories for enjoyability, how well it grabs attention, and how well it celebrates Christmas, and long-term return potential!

We think it’s a great ad as it successfully incorporates the song that really defines Christmas, a bit of tongue-in-cheek humour, and highlights new flavours!

Good marketing doesn’t have to cost a fortune!

Take this ad from Hafod Hardware (based in a small town in Wales) for example. Starring the owner’s son, it cost just £100 to produce but viewers have already said it’s better than the multi-million pound adverts!

We love the cute family feel and the message behind this ad – Christmas really is about being a big kid, isn’t it?

Which ad is your Christmas number 1 this year? Do let us know.

 

And remember… though it may be a little late for creating a Christmas marketing campaign this year, we’ll be ready and waiting to help you ‘nail’ some fantastic marketing in 2020… what a great way to start the New Year and the new decade!

Because Christmas is a time of giving, here’s our last-minute Christmas pud recipe, inspired by Excitable Edgar, just for you!

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