The John Lewis Christmas Advert is Good… But is it the Best?

By Jakk Ogden on November 13, 2013 in Content Tips
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Weekly runs of Die Hard, Armageddon, Ghostbusters, The Wizard of Oz and Gremlins await us over the next several weeks. The sound of desperate shoppers will ring through the air on every high street and children will anxiously open their first calendar door on the 1st of December…

…can you guess what time of the year it is?

Yep, it’s nearly Christmas! And, in true marketing style, we have been smashed treated with plenty of Christmas television advertisements to get us in the mood – because, of course, we were going to forget all about it.

It is well known that November is the time for brands and retailers to bump up their marketing activities to capture the imagination of their audience. The British public have become fairly thick-skinned with regard to overkill adverts and BUY BUY BUY! adverts, which is the reason that many adverts now attempt to evoke emotion in the viewer.

Can you feel it in the air?

Retailers want you to feel Christmas. They want you to LOVE Christmas. Sometimes, a television advert comes along which stops us in our tracks. An advert so powerful that it makes you cry or immediately cuddle your loved one. It is these adverts that cement brand loyalty through an emotional connection to the viewer.

It is these adverts that sell.

Over the past few weeks there have been several adverts that attempt to do just that. Some have failed… and some have passed.

John Lewis can certainly feel it.

John Lewis is one company that have unequivocally passed. Their all-new Christmas TV advert ‘The Bear and the Hare’ aired not long ago and it has already become a social media sensation, racking up well more than 4 million views on YouTube, and millions more through Facebook and the official John Lewis website.

John Lewis has an incredibly talented team of marketers, it has to be said – do you remember 2011’s advert with the boy who only wanted to give? Or how about the 2012 advert with the snowman who covered countless miles to buy his partner some gloves, a hat and scarf?

John Lewis don’t create adverts. They create stories. It is these stories that fuel the brand and make it a Christmas leader.

The retail giant knows this, of course, so how do they further cement their stories appeal? They create dedicated social media pages, such as their latest for the Bear & Hare. So powerful this advert has become that it could in fact inspire children’s story books in the near future (you heard it here first though folks).

Of course, John Lewis aren’t the only brand who have a few tricks up their sleeve this festive season.

Let’s take a little look at some of the best Christmas 2013 adverts aired so far….

Marks & Spencer’s Christmas advert is a good effort…

Marks & Spencer has a premium brand image to up-hold, so it makes sense that their latest Christmas TV advert has a production set that would not look out of place in a Hollywood film.

This advertisement lacks the child friendly, emotion evoking feel of the John Lewis advert, but it has a seemingly all-star cast…

…well, I say all-star, but what I actually mean is model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Helena Bonham Carter and male model David Gandy.

The video is, as you can see, rather enchanting, and it is certain to get people in the mood for some The Nightmare Before Christmas. It also features many character designs that would not confuse Alice in Wonderland.

Will it get people in the mood to shop at Marks & Spencer? I’m not so sure, but it’s certainly Marks & Spencer’s best Christmas effort so far.

Tesco’s advert is more like it!


What is Christmas? Is it the smell of Turkey cooking away? The sound of crackers being pulled? Tripping up over countless amounts of wrapping paper?

Well, it is about those, but more importantly it’s all about family. Christmas has been shared on the same day every year throughout our modern history by our ancestors and our immediate family. This knowledge certainly evokes thought among us, and Tesco has capitalised on this for Christmas 2013 with their latest television advert.

It all starts with a nostalgic soundtrack by Rod Stewart and a young husband and wife (they are married at this point, right?) who dance and celebrate in their living room. The scene then skips to the same couple with children and grandma, before jumping again to a Christmas a few years later with the parents older (the father now rocks a rather tasty moustache) and the children more grown up. The advert continues to cycle through the years. By the end of the advert, you pray to god that there isn’t going to be a sad ending to this… such as a family member not being there. Thankfully, it ends on a high note.

The lyrics that stand out in Rod Stewart’s soundtrack are ‘forever young’ (the name of the song, FYI), which set the tone for the basis of the advert nicely – memories are forever. They are something to cherish. FAMILY is something to cherish. TESCO is… perhaps something to cherish.

In the end, Tesco says ‘There’s nothing better than Christmas’. We’d have to agree.

Argos has taken a more traditional approach.

If there was an award for producing the most blatant TV commercials, Argos would get top prize. I have to say that I have never been a fan of their bizarre alien mascots because they’re just so artificial and inhuman… and this year, the marketing team have employed the same tactics as last year.

“What are we going to get Santa for Christmas? Oooh! How about an iPod?” – cut to scene of Santa listening to tunes on the roof.

“A beard trimmer?” – cut to Santa having shaved with a disturbingly large chin.

In the end, the aliens (why are they on this planet again?) settle on buying a satellite navigation system for Santa. Because, you know, he has struggled to get around for more than 100 years…

…In many ways, the latest Argos Christmas advert is the best of the bunch here today for trying to sell its products. But it frankly looks like crap next to the charming John Lewis advert, the well-produced Marks and Spencer advert and the emotion evoking Tesco advert, and no matter how hard those aliens try, I think I’d rather buy my presents from John Lewis or Tesco.

Wouldn’t you?

Boots wants to increase its Northern sales…

Let it be known – I am from Leeds. I speak with a pretty good Yorkshire accent, and so, the new Boots advert immediately caught my attention when I first saw it.

It features a teenager, who is possibly in Year 10, storming out of his home. He then appears to go on a game of knock-a-door-run. It doesn’t take long for us to realise however that this stereotypical ‘hoodie’ is actually leaving presents for the people who he is most fond of. First there’s one of his teachers, then there’s ‘the fittest girl in Year 10’, then there’s the woman who gave him his first job, then comes the least likely candidate for a present – somebody who is ‘alright’, and lastly there’s a present for a nurse who looked after the boys Nan.

The least surprising part of the advert? When the boy returns home to a new bottle of Hugo Boss aftershave. The advert ends with a slogan which says ‘offers on 1000s of Christmas gifts’.

This advert is full of heart, and it is the perfect example of a company targeting a specific age group: the younger generation.

Which is your favourite Christmas advert of 2013 so far?

Has a recent Christmas commercial caught your attention? Which is your favourite featured today? Be sure to comment below or tweet us @Content_hero.

About the Author

Jakk OgdenView all posts by Jakk Ogden
Jakk Ogden is the founder and managing director of Content Hero. Jakk's background lies in marketing, advertising and publishing. He is partial to the clever infographic, Mark Twain, golden age comic books and Johnny Cash. He has written over 3,000 articles that have been published online. Connect with him on Linkedin, , or buy him a coffee in Leeds to talk about how high quality content can grow your business.

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