Ad Nut
Dec 8, 2016

Holi-dazed: Ad Nut's ridiculously long Christmas-ad review

Ho ho holy red-nosed reindeer, there sure are a lot of Christmas ads this year.

Holi-dazed: Ad Nut's ridiculously long Christmas-ad review

Ad Nut had just finished squirreling away the beach gear and had barely started gathering nuts for the long winter's night, when what to Ad Nut's wondering eyes should appear, but the first big-budget, high-concept holiday-themed ads of 2016! Yet the calendar still read 'October'. So Ad Nut ignored these unwelcome intruders from Christmas-future and tried to play Scrooge—for a while at least.

However, as soon as the calendar turned to November, impatient brands began to unleash their holiday cheer on an unprepared world. After a few days of willful ignoring, Ad Nut could no longer deny the onslaught of precious, heartwarming spots, and started compiling this compendium of festive ads. 

Now, weeks later, Ad Nut has collected a truly frightening number of Christmas ads (current count: 52)—and believe it or not, that's after exercising some restraint. Frankly, it's a Christmas miracle that Ad Nut has managed to avoid going insane from an overdose of forced holiday cheer. (The vodka has helped.) At this point, you need to stay tuned to see which will break first: Ad Nut's tolerance, or adland's seemingly infinite supply of tearjerking advertisements.

Many of the ads below come from the UK, which has something of a fetish for Christmas and where Christmas advertising is a blood sport. But Ad Nut is always on the hunt for Asia-made spots. So if you see an ad (good or bad) that Ad Nut has missed, use our Contact Us form, comment on Facebook, or Tweet @CampaignAsia.


Client: N/A
Agency: Anomaly

This animated slightly NSFW film is far from the first parodic take on the "12 Days of Christmas", but it's hilarious and Ad Nut loves it very much (enough to include it even though it's the agency's holiday 'card' and so not technically an advertisement). It's well worth the eight minutes. (Hat tip: Campaign UK)


Client: Pornhub
Agency: Officer & Gentleman

This works as a devious new spin on 'Silent Night' (probably chosen just for the line about sleeping in heavenly peace). But if you're an ad nut like Ad Nut, you might recognize some of the characters in the spot as homages to famous Christmas ads of the past. If you miss any, Campaign US has the details.


Client: Allegro
This spot from a Polish auction website has gone viral for very good reason. It becomes fairly obvious where it's headed, but Ad Nut still enjoyed the small touches along the way.


Client: Samsung
Agency: The Viral Factory
Let the screaming and hyperventilating commence. No, Ad Nut is not referring to the Note7 debacle. (Hat tip: Campaign UK)


Client: Coca-Cola
Agency: Sra. Rushmore

Hey bub, why not share that Coke with the woodland creature that's hauling you and your jelly-filled belly around the entire earth in a single night? (Hat tip: Campaign UK)


Client: Mulberry
Agency: N/A
Here's a Christmas riddle for you: What's worse than a supremely annoying, pointless, unfunny video filled with children woodenly intoning adult-like banter in order to sell handbags? TWO supremely annoying, pointless, unfunny videos filled with children woodenly intoning adult-like banter in order to sell handbags. (Hat tip: Campaign UK)


Advertiser: Grey Goose (Bacardi)
Agency: BBDO New York
Vodka seems like a good choice when facing two solid months of holiday ads. (Hat tip: Campaign US)


Client: KFC
Agency: BBH

The chicken purveyor offers three tales of Christmas conflicts smoothed over by a limited-edition sandwich. See Campaign UK for the other two, one of which contains a prominently placed black sheep (Ad Nut sees what you did there, BBH).


Client: E.On Sweden
M&C Saatchi Stockholm
A Swedish couple shatters a peaceful winter night and frightens countless woodland creatures with an audacious Christmas light display and pounding music by Avicii. But one can't be too mad, as it's all powered by solar energy stored up for nighttime use in the in-home battery that's being promoted here.


Client: WWF
Agency: JWT London

Ad Nut favours any effort to help injured creatures, even giant killer cats.


Client: Temptations (Mars Petcare)
Agency: Adam & Eve/DDB

Well, maybe it's the vodka talking, but this is hilarious. And it's on point for the product. The music makes it work. If all Christmas ads were this enjoyable, Ad Nut would not dread the season nearly as much. (Hat tip: Campaign UK)


Client: H&M
Agency: Adam & Eve DDB

Directed by Wes Anderson and starring Adrien Brody. Simple, sweet and gorgeous. (Hat tip: Campaign UK)


Client: Myer
Clemenger BBDO Melbourne
The Australian retailer brings back its quartet of Aardman-animated ornaments from last year, who save Christmas with a bit of aussie ingenuity and a touch of megic.


Client: Alzheimer's Research UK
Agency: Freuds

More Aardman animation here, plus Stephen Fry. Ad Nut approves of the firm pro-science message. (Hat tip: Campaign UK)


Client: Apple
Agency: TBWA Media Arts Lab

Even monsters have smartphones these days, which they use to show their holiday spirit and win over the locals. (Hat tip: Campaign US)


Client: Sears
Ad Nut includes this ad because it's so different from most of the others here. It's not overly emotional, and it actually spends considerable time on (gasp!) product benefits. But according to Campaign US, the old-school approach has proven quite effective.


Client: Hive and British Gas
Agency: CHI & Partners

Ad Nut likes to see happy kids as much as the next creature, but isn't moved by this. Are we supposed to be amazed that someone pushed a button on an app and some lights turned on? (Hat tip: Campaign UK)


Client: Sainsbury's
Agency: AMV BBDO

Ad Nut appreciates the lyric writer of the original song here, as well as the vocal performance by James Corden. However, as a result of watching too many movies, Ad Nut expected the cloning idea to go horribly wrong and was sort of disappointed when it didn't result in mayhem. This ad was the last work AMV BBDO did for Sainsbury's as its 35-year run with the client ended. Look for a Sainbury's Christmas ad by Wieden+Kennedy next year. (Hat tip: Campaign UK)


Client: John Lewis*
* Not really, but many people thought it was when it showed up in early November. It's actually the work of an A-level student named Nick Jablonka. If you're an agency type or a CMO spending big money on a Christmas ad, perhaps it's best not to think too much about that. Care for some vodka? (Hat tip: Mashable)


Client: John Lewis
Agency: Adam&Eve/DDB

Here's the real John Lewis ad. It heads away from the usual tearjerker and toward pure cute and funny. Ad Nut wants to hate it because it focuses on a murderous beast, but has to award points because it includes all kinds of noble woodland creatures—even a squirrel. The campaign also ties up with an in-store VR experience, soft toys and charity The Wildlife Trusts, which Ad Nut commends. You can even buy the soundtrack. While it will likely bring a smile to your face, for one Guardian journalist it's just rubbing salt in the Trump wound. (Campaign UK has a full writeup).

Extra credit: PRWeek put together a nice roundup of parodies of the John Lewis ad


Client: Tesco Ireland
Agency: Rothco

Well, again it may be the vodka talking, but Ad Nut finds this really sweet. Campaign UK informs us that 35 different ads will be shot. Ad Nut will watch them all and sob quietly, wondering why no one in Ad Nut's family ever thanks Ad Nut for tirelessly cracking nuts at holiday get-togethers.


Client: Crate & Barrel
Agency: Preacher

Here's another one about holiday hosting. Ad Nut did not hate this one, either. Perhaps Ad Nut needs to sober up. (Hat tip: Campaign US)


Client: Heathrow
Agency: Havas Worldwide

Arriving at an international airport is not interesting. But you're supposed to be moved by it here. Because teddy bears. (Hat tip: Campaign UK)


Client: Boots
Agency: Mother

The retailer gives women who help others by working on holidays makeovers. Ad Nut thought they were beautiful to begin with. (Hat tip: Campaign UK)


Client: Burberry
Agency: N/A

Here's more work Ad Nut can really dislike. Campaign UK calls it a holiday ad, but Ad Nut sees no evidence of that other than about two seconds of quick cuts as it nears its miserable end. Anyway, it's an all-too-serious, three-and-a-half-minute piece of masturbatory hero worship about the brand's founder—a travesty that collapses under the weight of its own self-importance and can't be saved even by some decent actors (Sienna Miller, Lily James, Dominic West and Domhnall Gleeson).


Client: Aldi Australia
Agency: BMF

Leave it to the Aussies, and specifically the brand that brought you the surfing Santas a few years ago, to provide an antidote to Burberry's over-indulgence (above). Ad Nut sincerely thanks Aldi and BMF for this funny spot about the 'right' and 'wrong' ways to celebrate the holiday.  


Client: HP
Agency: AMV BBDO

Free advice to brands: If you want to include a person with a disability in your advertising, maybe don't make that character miserable about their disability. And maybe don't make the entire plot centre on a non-disabled person helping the disabled person to in some way become more like "normal" people. What Ad Nut is saying is that this spot has not gone over too well, as Campaign UK ably explains.


Client: Shu Uemura
Agency: N/A

The cosmetic brand paints Tokyo with art by Takashi Murakami to promote its holiday collection. Campaign Japan has provided details on the interesting process used to achieve the effect.


Client: Aldi
Agency: McCann UK

This features an animated carrot. Unfortunately, it's so boring it nearly put Ad Nut into a vegetative state. (Hat tip: Campaign UK)


Client: Lidl
Agency: TBWA London

Compared to the spot above, this is a much more interesting and ultimately effective effort by a grocer; tackling a social media critique in an entertaining way. Previously, the brand has used the same formula for beef. (Hat tip: Campaign UK)


Advertiser: The Warehouse
Agency: DDB New Zealand Group (film by The Sweet Shop)
Like the Australians (see the Aldi Australia ad a few spots above) New Zealanders have their own Christmas traditions. Ad Nut is prepared to cheer for anything that breaks the Northern-hemisphere hegemony of snow and hot chocolate.


Client: M&S
Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R
You won't believe what Mrs. Claus gets up to while Santa's out working. (Hat tip: Campaign UK)


Client: Not On The High Street
Agency: Mother

The advertiser is a website that promotes goods from smallish UK entrepreneurs, some of whom are featured in the ad—with prosthetic ears (at least, Ad Nut presumes they are prosthetic). (Hat tip: Campaign UK)


Client: US Postal Service
Agency: McCann New York

This ad involving a young girl's love for hippopotamuses (hippopotami?), also serves as a word of warning for overly indulgent parents. (Hat tip: Campaign US)


Client: Waitrose
Adam & Eve/DDB
Robins migrate for the holidays? For mince pies? In all Ad Nut's years observing nature, Ad Nut had no idea about this. (Hat tip: Campaign UK)


Client: Asda
Saatchi & Saatchi London
The grocer chooses not to put all its eggs in one basket, instead offering a collection of 26 short vignettes. Ad Nut favours the one that starts at the 1:25 mark. How about you? (Hat tip: Campaign UK)


Client: House of Fraser
Agency: 18 Feet & Rising
A paint-by-the-numbers Christmas ad that seems to owe a large debt to Target's advertising of decades past. (Hat tip: Campaign UK)


Client: Pepsi Philippines
Agency: N/A
This video showed up in a recent Engagement Meter and has more than 2.6 million views on Facebook. Pepsi is giving a portion of its sales during the season to provide lighting for people who need it. Ad Nut finds the idea of giving at Christmas very old-fashioned, indeed. And also wonderful.


Client: Ebay
Agency: DDB Europe

Are Christmas discos even a thing? (Hat tip: Campaign UK)


Client: TK Maxx
Wieden & Kennedy London
Vincent Vega and Mia Wallace approved this message. (Hat tip: Campaign UK)


Client: Argos
Agency: CHI & Partners

Technicolor cryptozoological specimens meet Christmas shopping. On skates. With explosions. Ad Nut likes anything with furry creatures and also awards bonus points for music from The Nightmare Before Christmas. (Hat tip: Campaign UK)


Client: Littlewoods
Agency: N/A

Ad Nut blames Harvey Nichols for making it acceptable to adopt a 'Greed is good' approach to the holidays a couple years back. This ad goes further by making it clear that if you have to go into debt to one-up the neighbors, so be it! (Hat tip: Campaign UK)


Client: Currys PC World
Agency: AMV BBDO

Ad Nut prefers to simply make a wish list, but this could work too. Here's a second spot from the campaign. (Hat tip: Campaign UK)


Client: DFS
Agency: Krow

Aardman Animation rarely disappoints. Key word: 'Rarely'. The connection here, between hand-stiched furniture and the hand-crafting involved in Aardman's stop-motion process, is not lost on Ad Nut, and Ad Nut is sure that being recreated as clay figures was thrilling for the company's actual employees. But for everyone else, this is instantly forgettable. (Hat tip: Campaign UK)


Agency: St Luke's

An animated woman's heart grows three sizes as she showers everyone with gifts. Even a Grinch would have to like this one. (Hat tip: Campaign UK)


Client: Morrisons
Agency: Publicis London

Bring it on, grandpa! (Hat tip: Campaign UK)


Client: Vodafone
Agency: Grey London

Ad Nut supposes that we should be grateful this isn't about an app that claims to help people find lost or stranded holiday travelers. But still, it fails to deliver on its promise. (Hat tip: Campaign UK)


Client: Barbour
Agency: N/A

Sort of cute, but doesn't say muchanything. (Hat tip: Campaign UK)


Client: McDonald's
Agency: Leo Burnett London

Good old Christmassy values. Ad Nut is glad that the lonely Juliette holds on to hope long enough and won't have to spend another Christmas alone. (Hat tip: Campaign UK)


Client: Lady's Choice Philippines
Agency: N/A

Another Christmas ad from the Philippines that celebrates the season of giving. For years the Sitio Naubo community in southern Philippines has celebrated Christmas without the bare necessities. The ad is running along with a social-media campaign for consumers to share their family photos during Christmas with the hashtag #ThankuTogether to help provide lighting for the community.


Client: UK National Lottery 
Agency: AMV BBDO

Ad Nut is sceptical about lotteries, as they tend to act as a regressive tax on the poor. So Ad Nut doesn't think much of this spot—one of many from around the world where such lotteries tout all the good works they do with the percentage of revenue they put toward public projects. Bah humbug. (Hat tip: Campaign UK)


Client: Pret-a-Manger
Agency: Rumble

OK, let's wrap this up on a positive note. Here's a brand that's really doing something for others. Nice work.


Ad NutAd Nut is a surprisingly literate woodland creature that for some unknown reason has an unhealthy obsession with advertising. Ad Nut gathers ads from all over the world and presents them for your viewing pleasure. Because Ad Nut loves you.

Need more ads? Visit Ad Nut's colleagues: Campaign UK | Campaign US | Campaign India | Campaign Turkey | Campaign Middle East


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