Top Christmas adverts for 2019 from John Lewis’s dragon Edgar to Iceland’s Frozen

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… on our TV screens at least, as the biggest retailers have launched their festive campaigns.

From well-known faces to excitable animations, these adverts have everything to warm our hearts and get us spending.

But which ones have brought the most joy to the world?

We take a look at some of the best holiday offerings…

John Lewis

The John Lewis advert marks the start of the festive season and this year’s offering will melt your heart – as well as the ice.

The story focuses on a little girl, named Ava, and her excitable friend, Edgar the dragon, who can’t control his fiery breath and sets ablaze all things festive – from a snowman to the Christmas tree.

However, Ava helps him find his calling, as she gives him a Christmas pudding to light ready for the Christmas feast.

It’s John Lewis’ first joint campaign with Waitrose and it reportedly cost £7million to make. So it’s no surprise that it’s flaming good.



Excitable Edgar stars in the John Lewis ad

Slogan: Whoever you’re looking for this Christmas

Soundtrack: Can’t fight this feeling

Sara’s verdict from the sofa: From the melted snowman and burnt Christmas tree, to Edgar’s big watery eyes, this is a (fire) cracking ad that lit up my heart.

But it didn’t make me cry like previous JL ads – anyone remember lovesick Monty the penguin, sob.

However I might still nab a soft toy Edgar… you know, ahem, just for the kids.

Christmas cracker rating: 9/10

Walkers



Mariah Carey is promoting crisps now

 

This festive ad is full of everything we expect of Christmas – from red sequinned dresses to elves and even Mariah Carey. Walkers have pulled out all the stops for their Christmas campaign and have called it their “biggest ever Walkers Christmas advert”.

But seeing Mariah squabble with an elf over the last bag of Pigs In Blankets flavoured crisps is one of the biggest gifts of all.

The advert comes on the 25th anniversary of Mariah’s 1994 album Merry Christmas. And it’s said to have cost the retailers a whopping £9million to have her face on 50million packets of crisps.

Slogan:Walkers, too good to share.

Soundtrack:All I want for Christmas is you

Sara’s verdict from the sofa: I dread to think how much of that festive cash is lining Mariah’s pockets after this performance – but what an absolute stroke of genius by Walkers. I loved Mariah’s self-mocking, with the unicorn art and white doves. Would I buy Brussels Sprouts crisps? Probably not. But this made me laugh.

Christmas cracker rating: 6/10

Lidl

 

The budget supermarket sticks with it’s theme of being “Lidl on price” for this festive feature – which shows a family doing their Christmas food shop before spending the big day playing games and eating an impressive looking roast.

The supermarket said it wanted to “cut through the opulence” usually associated with Christmas marketing campaigns and give a realistic representation of what actually happens.

As a result, it’s lifelike but definitely lacks a certain magic…

Slogan: A Christmas you can believe in

Soundtrack: All Alone on Christmas

Sara’s verdict from the sofa: A joyful family skipping around the supermarket together, successfully putting up the lights, wearing matching festive nightwear and full of harmonious cheer. Realistic? Not one bit. Show me a mum swigging wine in a cold sweat in the kitchen, kids fighting and dad tangled in wires and that would be closer.

Christmas cracker rating: 5/10

TK Maxx



TK Maxx has a snowy theme

 

If Alpine opulence is your thing then this advert will make you want to get your skis on and head down to your nearest TK Maxx.

The clip focuses on a daredevil gifter, appropriately named TK, who wants to ditch “autopilot” presents in favour of “gifting different”.

And, as he makes his way down the slopes he delights even the local St Bernard with his unusual gifts.

If that wasn’t Christmassy enough, then the ad also uses the voice of Love Actually’s Bill Nighy.

Slogan: Gift different

Soundtrack: Bolero

Sara’s verdict from the sofa: This daredevil in the golden helmet caught my attention, with his talk of ditching the ‘same old, same old’. It’s telling us to be rebel shoppers and it did actually make me want to go to TK Maxx. A unique ad, this one went down in blades of glory.

Christmas cracker rating: 7/10

Aldi



It’s animation all the way at Aldi

 

Full of festive fun and general silliness, the Aldi advert sees the return of Kevin the Carrot in full force.

Viewers are put on the edge of their seats as Russell Sprout and his gang of Leafy Blinders tie Kevin up to a cheese grater. However, he is saved by Tiny Tom the tomato and they go on to put on a stunning performance – with Christmas puns galore.

Where else can you hear a vegetable sing, “bring those mince pies over here… with cream!” to the tune of Robbie Williams’, Let Me Entertain You?

Slogan: Put on a show this Christmas

Soundtrack: Let Me Entertain You

Sara’s verdict from the sofa: Unashamedly stupid, this is fun, silly and definitely one that the kids will love to watch. Although Robbie’s song sounded out of place (sorry, Robbie). The veg put on the greatest show in a circus tent, so surely that movie’s hit song would have made it er, come alive?

Christmas cracker rating: 9/10

Asda



Asda’s ad is a good two minutes long

 

Asda have gone for a lengthy advert – with the original lasting a whopping two minutes.

However, it almost doesn’t seem enough time to cram in the amount of nostalgia.

A little girl named Tilly, decides to try and capture Santa’s “leftover magic” when she sees the Northern Lights in the sky.

This results in Christmas cheer being spread throughout her town – with baubles rolling down streets adorned with twinkling fairy lights.

It’s enough to warm even her older brother’s heart.

Slogan: Let’s make Christmas extra special

Soundtrack: Lighting Up Christmas

Sara’s verdict from the sofa: From the moment the little girl took inspiration from her departed grandad, I welled up. As the ‘leftover magic’ made everything festive, it felt like watching a mini Christmas movie. My heart swelled, then the brother found Tilly more magic… No I’m not crying, you’re crying.

Christmas cracker rating: 8/10

Boots



Boots ad is aimed at all ages

 

This advert will certainly ring (Christmas) bells with anyone who has struggled to find a present for a difficult loved one.

But rather than being overtly festive, the advert focuses on the launch of the shop’s “Bootiques” – which break gifts down into sections to cater to everyone from “Moody Tweens” to “Beauty Kweens”.

Slogan: Gift like you get them.

Soundtrack: None (mixture of background music)

Sara’s verdict from the sofa: They’re right, it is bloody hard to work out what to buy people – but there was zero Christmas cheer in this ad. And it didn’t actually tell us what Boots had on offer for the vegans, beauty kweens and everything inbetween. Big promises, no delivery.

Christmas cracker rating: 4/10

Marks & Spencer

Marks and Spencer have ditched traditional Christmas carols in their latest festive offering – instead choosing to focus on the store’s cosy knitwear – which suits everyone from dads to dogs.

A whopping 50 jumpers are shown in the 60 second advert from basic £19.50 sweaters to luxury cashmere. And it all comes to a head with a merry festive dance-off, which was directed by Jake Nava – the man who directed Beyonce’s infamous Single Ladies video.

Slogan: Go jumpers this Christmas

Soundtrack: Jump Around

Sara’s verdict from the sofa: Yesss, I loved this and I want a Marks & Sparks jumper right now this minute. Simple and effective and full of Christmas knits, with the obviously perfect soundtrack. I love a musical too, so the slick dance number had me jumping for joy.

Christmas cracker rating: 7/10

Iceland



Frozen 2 is on the way

 

With the impending release of Disney favourite, Frozen 2, it makes sense that Iceland have opted to use the characters in their Christmas advert.

Olaf and Elsa are involved in an intense game of charades – which is a contrast to last year’s Palm Oil advert which was banned from television for not complying with the “political rules” of advertising.

Throughout the advert we learn the character’s favourite things about christmas from snowballs to family meals.

The advert isn’t just Frozen, it’s also very cool.

Slogan: The magic of Frozen

Soundtrack: None (Twinkling Christmas background music)

Sara’s verdict from the sofa: A very clever move by Iceland to ride on the icy coattails of Elsa and Anna. As mum to two small sprogs, I am well-versed in the lure of all things Frozen. Parents who are sick to death of Olaf and co. need to let it go and embrace the magic.

Christmas cracker rating: 6/10

IKEA

 

“Deliberating going against the tide of sentimental Christmas ads” was the aim for IKEA.

Rather than focusing on festive fun, the advert starts with a family experiencing shame about their home – as they have guests visiting.

Even their old fashioned ornaments come to life and start rapping about how “tired” the home looks.

But with a roll of a new rug and a sleek Scandinavian table, pride is restored – just in time for Christmas dinner.

Slogan: Silence the critics

Soundtrack: Original grime rap by MC Double E

Sara’s verdict from the sofa: My verdict from this sofa is that maybe I need a new sofa. As the family were shamed into looking around their home, I found myself doing the same. I don’t feel very festive, but I guess the ad works. I’m off to buy a wardrobe and some tealights.

Christmas cracker rating: 5/10

Argos



It'[s a noisy one for Argos

 

Argos is probably the most nostalgic of the Christmas adverts.

As when browsing through the Argos catalogue (or “book of dreams”) a dad is delighted to find that his daughter has circled a drum kit for her Christmas list.

This transports him back to his own childhood, where he dreamed of becoming a professional drummer.

In an instant the kitchen transforms into a stadium stage and the father-daughter duo start their own epic performance – complete with crowdsurfing teddy bears.

Slogan: The book of dreams

Soundtrack: Don’t You (Forget About Me)

Sara’s verdict from the sofa: This was a good idea, with some great effects, but it didn’t half go on. I got a bit bored if I’m honest. And calling the Argos catalogue the Book of Dreams? More like, the book you want to hide from your kids in case they pick a drum kit.

Christmas cracker rating: 8/10

Visa



Even Visa is getting in on the ad act

 

Despite all the big businesses bringing out their Christmas adverts, Visa is encouraging us to think about our local stores and high streets.

The clip shows shopkeepers singing along to Queen’s Somebody To Love and uses the hashtag #WhereYourShopMatters.

Real-life shop owners are also invited to perform their own version of the hit song for the chance to win a prime-time Christmas advert slot.

Slogan: Show your high street some love

Soundtrack: Somebody To Love

Sara’s verdict from the sofa: I loved the message of this one, that we should shop local and save our high streets from demise. It might not be the cheeriest of festive ads, but it gave me something to think about as I start the dreaded Christmas shopping.

Christmas cracker rating: 8/10

Sainsbury’s



Sainsbury’s Christmas advert is a right tear-jerker

 

It’s been 150 years since Sainsbury’s opened their first shop. And to mark the occasion they’ve created a Victorian themed advert – which supposedly shows the story of St Nicholas.

A chimney sweep, called Nicholas, is wrongly accused of stealing oranges from Mrs Sainsbury’s stall and threatened by the townsfolk until the kindly shop owner saves him and even gifts him some fruit – saying: “If you can’t do something special for someone at Christmas, when can you?”

Nicholas leaves the oranges in the stockings of his fellow sweeps and gives his boss some coal for being “naughty” – before walking off into the snow in a santa suit.

And just like that, Father Christmas was born.

Slogan: Helping make Christmas, Christmas since 1869

Soundtrack: None (cinematic background music)

Sara’s verdict from the sofa: I was utterly gripped by this epic, which had the DNA of Dickens, with elements of A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist.

The old Scrooge got his comeuppance and by the time little Nicholas put on the red hat… well, maybe I’m overtired, but I seem to have something in my eye again.

Christmas cracker rating: 6/10



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