Ads En Masse

Animation and Imitation abound in 2016’s Festive Ad Frenzy

The Blogfather takes a carving knife to the Christmas advert offering to see if there are any nice, succulent bits for you to gorge yourself silly on.

And so cue a host of parody pieces, which were mostly uninspiring. The BBC Three parody was like most of their sitcoms; namely, shite.

It’s the most wonderful tiiiiimmmme of the year! For adverts. So the last two weeks have seen all the heavyweights role out their Festive ad offerings. Most of the buzz was around the John Lewis ad, which did indeed turn out to be about #BusterTheBoxer. For those who haven’t seen it, said animated dog watches the Animals of Farthing Wood rock up and bounce on a trampoline, before having a go on it himself, leaving a little girl (who also likes to bounce) with an incredulous look on her face as if, well, The Animals of Farthing Wood have all collectively shat on her trampoline. It’s a perfectly good ad, and making the shift in tone from sad to humourous makes sense, as John Lewis evoked some mixed reactions to their ‘sadvertising’ tactic with the Man on the Moon ad on social media last year.

And so cue a host of parody pieces, which were mostly uninspiring. The BBC Three parody was like most of their sitcoms; namely, shite. It’s a bit disappointing if parody becomes lazy and not even funny. Probably best to say nothing. The only parody that made me laugh was the one below from Tennent’s Larger.

...this ad is largely an animal/cuddly toy/old people re-hash of about three different John Lewis ads

Heathrow have decided to produce their first ever Christmas ad, probably as part of a charm offensive as they are going to proceed to tear the shit out of the skies above London with even more severity when the new runway finally comes. Featuring two animated, elderly teddy bears waddling their way from the plane to arrivals, it is perfectly pleasant and endearing (with the exception of the scene when all their furry orifices are checked for smuggled narcotics). Yet whilst this parody has comedic merit, this ad is largely an animal/cuddly toy/old people re-hash of about three different John Lewis ads. Original it ain’t, and the sudden morphing of the two bears into two old people at the end doesn’t really make sense.

It’s significantly more cinematic than the John Lewis piece, so have a little look below.

My last blog lamented M&S’s struggles, yet they have produced an advert that is arguably richer and just downright better than John Lewis. And the mums of this world appear to agree, according to the annual poll from ChannelMum.com, who made M&S’s offering their favourite. It’s significantly more cinematic than the John Lewis piece, so have a little look below. Father Christmas has a bit of the Gandalf’s about him, before assumingly getting laid by Mrs Claus just after the ad ends.

Now, I don’t like James Corden, which makes the fact that I really like the Sainsbury’s ad its own kind of Christmas miracle.

Now, I don’t like James Corden, which makes the fact that I really like the Sainsbury’s ad its own kind of Christmas miracle, as the chump proceeds to sing his way through the entire piece. It probably helps that I cannot see his face, as he lends his voice to an animated father who wants to ensure he is there for his family at Christmas and doesn’t have to work through. It’s the ad that, quite simply, made me smile the most, which is what facial recognition chancers outfit RealEyes would no doubt consider a ‘great emotional engagement metric’. You could have potentially paid them $10k for that kind of analysis, so be careful how you spend your budget. I’ll gladly tell you whether your content is shit or not for a monkey (monetary, not animated).

The Sainsbury’s ad was directed by Sam Fell, formerly of Aardman Animations, but it is an advert by the current team at Aardman that, for me, takes the prize for best Christmas ad. Well, it’s certainly the most moving. I won’t describe it, have a watch for yourself, but it is narrated by Stephen Fry, and is rather beautiful.

...there is one brand that transcends this bun fight at Christmas. Coca Cola and their ‘Holidays Are Coming’ Ad.

It’s a small tragedy that it only has 122k views on YouTube and cannot be shown before 7:30pm as it might ‘scare children’, while Ray Winstone is free to issue a rallying call for doing all your money just in time for Christmas with an online bookies any time of the day.

Yet back to the commercial world. For all this frenzied competition to out-do your last ad, and each other, it occurred to me that there is one brand that transcends this bun fight at Christmas. Coca Cola and their ‘Holidays Are Coming’ Ad. They don’t need to change that ad, they just keep repeating it. When an average John Lewis ad costs £7m, they must save a few quid. It has worked its way into the collective social conscious as being synonymous with Christmas. However, no brand or agency likes to rest on its laurels, and Coca Cola have a marketing budget to blow, so this year they have added an experiential element to it, by bringing the iconic ‘Holidays Are Coming’ truck into 44 UK Towns.

Gasp blog holidays coming cocacola

Sounds great on paper, but time will tell if the realities of bringing a 40-foot juggernaut off the M11 and into Harlow and a phalanx of Asbos* will shatter the magical feeling of Christmas somewhat.

*The Blogfather acknowledges the potential offensive nature of this comment to the people of Harlow. Other Asbo-riddled towns** are available.
**Basildon, for example.

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