The best Christmas TV ads of 2018

Luigi Raw
By Luigi RawDigital Insights Manager
5 minutes to read

Every year we wait with bated breath for the annual slew of Christmas ads to assault our television screens.

In the heady days of the past, we were delighted to see penguins and carrots prance across our screens but this year, it’s different. This year Christmas ads haven’t wowed us as much as the others and we’ve been left thinking ‘is that it?’

But in among the ads that feel like an overcooked Christmas turkey, there are a couple that have been able to whet our appetite for the festive season.

Before we begin though, a note to say that our second place victor from last year (Sky’s ‘Christmas is for Movies’) has had a spectacular fall from grace and only managed to earn 0.8 Santas. A pitiful half-baked attempt that feels very much like an afterthought.

So in the interest of ending on a high, presenting the Enjoy Digital 2018 Annual Christmas Review.

5. Waitrose – Fast Forward

When the John Lewis ad dropped, it created a social media storm… of disappointment. Waitrose (anticipating the usual hubbub) presented its own offering which takes the mickey out of the John Lewis ad. ‘Fast Forward’ shows a family literally speeding through the ad so they can enjoy their Waitrose stolen.  

Jokes on us though because the ‘partners’ in John Lewis & Partners are in actual fact, Waitrose. Owned by the same company they’ve developed a self-aware Christmas ad that at least tries to sell a product that’s a little bit more attainable than an £800-odd piano.

Still, tongue-in-cheek humour is something we can get on board with at Enjoy and it scored a commendable 4.3/10 Santas.

4. ALDI - Kevin the Carrot

Kevin the Carrot continues his journey this year but he’s failed to make us feel as jolly this year. If he makes it to 2019 without going rotten, it’ll be a Christmas miracle.

Kevin and ALDI only managed to garner 5.7 Santas this year, a slight decline on the 6.0 he scored last year.

Perhaps his decline may be something to do with having to wait a whole year for the next, lukewarm, instalment of an adventure that lasts two minutes.

But one thing that can be said for the ad, is that it’s absolutely full of puns which always go down a treat.

3. Independent Ad – Love is a Gift

Every Christmas there’s always an outside contender that takes us by surprise. With over 1.7 million views on YouTube, this indie Christmas ad has hit a chord with many people.

The ad shows a man counting down the days to Christmas day. When the morning arrives, we see him listening to a cassette tape that his mum who has passed away left him. As the camera pans, it becomes clear that she’s left him a cassette for every year for what looks like a decade. We hear a snippet of what she’s saying and the screen fades to black and leaves us with ‘love is a gift’.

It’s an emotional film (watch it with some tissues to hand) that only cost £50 to create and so we’ve given it a deserving 7.3/10 Santas.

2. Heathrow – The Heathrow Bears Return

The Heathrow Bears have made a comeback this year and have, once again, given us a great ad. It’s one that everyone can relate to and is honest about what it’s selling.

The story follows the grandparent bears who live in the bear equivalent of Florida. They’re clearly missing Christmas in Blighty and decide to catch a flight and surprise their family.

Although it’s dropped from the top spot for the first time in two years, we still really like the bears. We’ve given them a commendable 7.6/20 Santas.

1. Sainsburys

And without further ado, we present you with our top Christmas ad of 2018. Sainsbury’s has snatched the crown from the bears with ‘The Big Night’.

The ad starts off with a scene that will be familiar to many parents, the school Christmas play. An eight-year old girl is dressed as a star and struggles to keep the audience engaged. But wait, it’s just a ruse! The curtains divide and 56 kids descend on the stage in various Christmas outfits.

The parents in the audience are the actual parents of the kids performing and were kept away from rehearsals until the ad was shot. So all the reactions you see in the crowd, are genuine.

We have to admire the production value and the innate sense of fun. But easily the highlight for us has got to be the plug.   

We’ve given Sainsbury’s a deserved 7.9/10 for its festive effort.

A little extra for your stocking

This year, we set out to find who among us are naughty and who are nice. We asked the team what their stance is on re-gifting presents and found that 29% of people had done so. 5% had knowingly been re-gifted a present and 19% had both re-gifted and had a gift re-gifted back to them.

Fortunately, 49% of us haven’t ever re-gifted… or would just rather not say. If you’re expecting a present from any of us this year, you might want to give it a close look to see if it’s familiar…

We also wanted to settle an age old debate about the best Christmas songs. As ever, the responses were a mixed bag with All I Want for Christmas, Fairytale of New York and Step into Christmas getting mentions. Chris Rea’s belter Driving Home for Christmas got more than a couple of votes and, inexplicably, Dominick The Donkey (a 1960’s hit by Lou Monte in case you didn’t know) got a few shout outs too.

So that’s it for Christmas 2018, put your feet up and enjoy a mince pie or two. We’ll see you next year!

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Articles by Luigi Raw

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