Is it really Christmas if you can’t change the channel without being smothered by brands and marketing maestros’ latest attempts to get into our hearts (and wallets) with their Christmas campaigns and ads? Featuring plenty of the usual suspects, as well as the odd newcomer here and there, it’s once again time to countdown all the best Christmas adverts, 2021. This year, plenty of ads took the route of star-studded casts, with many recognisable faces popping in and out to lend us their festive cheer. So, settle in, rejoice, and let’s get started.
Hardly the most innovative choice of song – how hard would it be to pick something Christmassy? – and quite a basic concept but it features some brilliant visuals that do well to capture the charming chaos that is Christmas Day with the whole extended family. Can’t help but feel it would be transformed with a better choice of song.
Take a walk down JD Street and you might bump into a host of Britain’s emerging talent from the likes of Liverpool superstar, Trent Alexander-Arnold, to YouTuber and rapper KSI! With plenty of cameos and stylised visuals, it doesn’t leave much room for anything very festive.
One of a few ads focusing on creating real moments with friends and family, Matalan do so through the party lens featuring plenty of catch up’s, sparkly dresses, party food, and a fair share of awkward dancing. Capturing the glitz and glamour of the festive party season, the ad nails the aesthetic but lacks the message.
Featuring Dick Strawbridge and Angel Adoree of ‘Escape to the Chateau’ fame, the eccentric duo hit the nightshift to transform a regular Homebase into a winter wonderland that we could only dream of. With the tagline of ‘It’s Showtime’, Homebase highlight all the products you need to help get set for Christmas, just a shame we don’t all have Strawbridge and Adoree to do the work for us. And I wonder if Homebase can supply the reindeer too…
“We spent nothing on this Christmas ad” – You can tell. Everybody loves a spoof, and the sheer audacity and speed in which Heinz jumped on the back of John Lewis to create this social media ad - complete with some homemade sound effects and dodgy greenscreen – make this brilliant. Bonus points for fully utilising TikTok too.
Featuring a rather threatening voiceover that would probably be better suited in a Halloween advert rather than a Christmas one and a rather questionable pickle, Deliveroo sticks the focus on what they know best - food. Featuring some fun festive visuals, this quickfire ad does the job but no more.
Never underestimate the power of rhyming. Taking a run at Shakespeare, Debenhams have laid down some bars for their take on delivering the Christmas we all deserve after the struggles of the last year. As charming as the ad and its rhymes are, nothing can quite make up for the dodgy, awkward dancing.
The 1930’s golden age of Hollywood or the technicolour musicals of the '50s aren’t exactly two time periods you’d strongly associate or relate with Christmas. Thankfully though, everyone can relate to the panic of making sure you’ve got a gift for absolutely everyone. Combining the style and flair of the two era’s and the annual checklist of getting a gift for everyone, Selfridges have created a fun, festive ad with a gameshow style twist and an aesthetic that matches the exclusivity of the shop itself.
Featuring a never before heard Adele song from her latest album, Amazon’s Christmas ad has the superstar’s signature vocals lending a hand as the e-commerce giant tells a tale about the importance of community and kindness. Without being in your face with festivities, the ad benefits from Adele helping to convey the warmth of the season and its message.
Highlighting the issues of digital poverty for homes without connection, O2 have matched a fantastic ad with an important pledge – that for every plan purchased with them they will donate free data to those who need it. Like Santa’s elves, O2’s signature robot mascots set about their mission to help homes stay connected this Christmas. As they weave their way through a snowy London, the gift of giving and helping others is the focus here.
You can’t quite escape the feeling that the idea of Farmer Christmas might have genuinely started with a typo in an email… Either way, the pun provides the backdrop to a festive adventure looking at how Morrison’s utilises the nations dedicated farmers and shop workers to get all the fresh produce ready to take home and onto the table for Christmas dinner. Shoutout to the unsung heroes of the festive season.
“This is not the Nutcracker”. You can say that again. Injecting the Christmas concert with a much-needed jolt of energy, TK Maxx are living up to their name and pushing Christmas to the maxx with organist Laurie rocking out and showing off his incredible boots to a watchful crowd and his proud parents. What it lacks in Christmas cheer it makes up in style. Would be higher up the list if little Laurie was belting out ‘Run, Run, Rudolph’ or ‘Rocking Around the Christmas Tree’. Maybe at next year’s show.
What’s the best bit of Christmas? Everyone’s has their opinion. The part that gets them through the year, whether it’s the time with friends and family, giving (or receiving) gifts, or is it the food? Waitrose has got their clear answer. Getting their own moment to shine after usually being bolted on to John Lewis’ efforts, Waitrose has gone solo to carve out their own Christmas message. The message that the true spirit of Christmas lies within the food. Can’t say we disagree.
1000’s of gifts for all types of occasions. That’s what notonthehighstreet is all about so what better time to prove that than Christmas? With gifts for everyone and anyone, notonthehighstreet is a retailer overflowing with Christmas gift ideas and that’s exactly what their ad shows. No matter the person or their interest, notonthehighstreet show that they’ve got something for everyone with enough festive cheer and excitement to last the whole year.
Christmas, on the rocks. With a mission statement aiming to make Christmas spectacular, Asda goes a long way to doing just that with this year’s edition. Running through the exciting build-up to the big day itself, an impressive troop of figure skaters dazzle their way through the big shop, school shows, office Christmas parties, and Christmas dinner with style and enough pizzazz to make us reconsider not putting ice skates on our Santa list.
Nothing quite like some self-awareness. ‘The Lonely Bounty’ by Celebration’s features everyone’s least-favourite selection box sweetie, the disregarded Bounty. We’ve all had the experience of reaching into the almost-empty box and finding nothing but the blue and white wrapper greeting us, much to our frustration and disappointment. But, feeling festively charitable, Celebrations UK have made put the Bounty front and centre of their Christmas campaign as the lonesome Bounty looks for love whilst the confectionary giant announces their new ‘Bounty return’ scheme so you can send back Christmas’s most unwanted guest.
Featuring some lush-ious animation and based around their popular winter product range, Snow Fairy, Lush’s Christmas ad tells a charming story against the backdrop of a snowy village town with a folklore feel. Whilst not boasting much of a Christmas message, the brilliant visuals and fairy tale tone do enough.
Less of a snowball fight and more of an all-out snowball war for the ages, Sports Direct capture the excitement – and the chaos – that comes with the first snowfall of the season as the top athletes in the country turn a regular street into a snowy war zone. A who’s who of the country’s top sports stars (and Big Narstie), the ad utilises their respective talents to create an action-packed ad, albeit one that feels more of a shoutout to winter than Christmas.
After doing a lot of the heavy lifting to popularise the modern Christmas advert over the last decade with every new entry becoming an annual event that signals the beginning of the season, the debate about their effectiveness is always divisive between being underwhelming and a brilliant new addition to their Christmas ad catalogue. This year was no different. Featuring all the hallmarks you’d come to expect like the ambient cover of a classic song and a strong festive message, whilst not their strongest, this year’s entry has done enough to land on the positive side of the divide.
Continuing Percy’s path to national takeover after his many new products and business ventures, this ad is just the latest development with Spider-Man himself, Tom Holland, bringing the pink fella to life for the first time ever. Being magically birthed by none other than Dawn French, Percy runs amok inside an M&S store as he takes in all they have to offer. Whilst not pushing any holiday message, the odd vocal pairing of the duo helps bring the ad to life. And seeing all of Markie's festive food is always a winner.
What to do with all those empty boxes and excess cardboard that clutters cupboards and recycling bins this time of year? Instead of waiting in the queue for the skip come the new year, why not get a little creative with it? Coca-Cola’s 2021 effort could provide some inspiration! Taking a break from the Coca-Cola truck and ‘The Holidays Are Coming’ (though we are sure it’ll still make an appearance on your TV at some point), Coca-Cola is highlighting the importance of creating special moments shared with those around you. And yes, that is Mary Poppin’s ‘Chim Chim Cher-ee’ playing in the background.
We’ve all said it. “Oh, go on, it’s Christmas”. “But it’s Christmas”. Nothing makes an excuse quite like Christmas, and rightfully so. It’s the time of year to indulge and to get away with doing things you’d maybe feel a little bit more guilty or get in a bit more trouble doing the rest of the year. And that’s the exact angle very.co.uk have gone with as they take a stab at remixing ‘Have a Holly Jolly Christmas’ and turning it into a new Christmas classic featuring every last excuse in the book. We’ll be borrowing some of these come the office Secret Santa…
Relishing the return for a more ‘normal’ Christmas season whilst poking fun at the ever-changing COVID restrictions, Tesco provided some much-needed comic relief after the oddities of last Christmas. With ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ blaring in the background, Tesco are determined to show that nothing is stopping Christmas this time around, we are all getting the celebration we deserve. So go on, overindulge yourself. You deserve it.
Everybody loves an odd couple. Nothing warms the heart quite like an unlikely bond, or a ‘cute’ CGI animal. Although a hyena is hardly the first thought that comes to mind when thinking of cute CGI animals, Amazon Prime make it more than work through the relationship struck up between a lonely zookeeper and an outsider hyena. As the pair spend Christmas together running through the snowy streets and bonding over all the content available on Prime, this ad features enough warmth and heart to make you ponder adopting a hyena yourself.
Cute creatures are a mainstay in Christmas adverts – and for good reason too - with entries from years gone by always digging into our collective warmth to anything that makes us say “aww”. Whilst they are hardly charting new ground, McDonald's have added another festive favourite friend in the form of Imaginary Iggy. Speaking to the child in us all, the ad tracks the sad passage of time as we grow out of the things we once loved but pulls it all together with a brilliantly emotive payoff.
What starts with the usual Christmas dinner cliches quickly transforms into a journey through time and space that shows whilst times change, some family dynamics always stay the same. With some pretty great visual gags like the rotating band of Uncle Gary’s plus one’s and elevating from living in Spain to living forever, this entry provides the comfort that some things will always be universal.
With more of a classic Christmas vintage feel to it, Boot’s pulled it out of the bag (literally) with this year’s effort. Featuring ex-Doctor Who companion, Jenna Coleman and the magical bottomless-bag of our dreams filled with all the essentials and more, Boots have created a sparkling short film that includes all the hallmarks of the holiday from parties, snowmen, baubles, spending time with the family, and of course, gift-giving. Anything for us in there?
Nobody does animation quite like Disney. With decades of experience crafting some of the biggest and best animated films, shows, and characters of all time, it’s fair to say they have a little bit of a head start when it comes to producing moments of animated magic. Following on from last year’s ad, this year sees the story continue as the titular Stepdad spends his first Christmas with his new family, hoping to deliver festive family success. Nailing the feel of the holiday season with its heart-warming story and brilliant visuals, Disney delivered.
Combining two iconic – and historic – British institutions, Barbour and everyone’s favourite polite Peruvian bear, Paddington, teamed up to pull on the heartstrings for the luxury clothing brands 2021 effort. As Paddington looks for the perfect gifts for the Brown family, the ad features all the mischief, hijinks, and kindness that we've come to expect from the bear himself. Opting to repair Mr. Browns existing Barbour jacket instead of splashing out for a new one (where would a bear get the money to do that?) is a brilliant touch that highlights the durability of the brand and the thoughtfulness of the bear.
Stunning animation. Clever rhymes. A classic Christmas story. More puns and wordplay than you could shake Kevin the Carrot at. There was only ever going to be one top banana for this year’s best Christmas advert. Aldi’s take on Charles’ Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol’ – Charles’ Chickens ‘A Christmas Carrot’ in the Aldi universe – features the ghost of Kevin the Carrot (RIP) taking Ebanana Scrooge on a fly over Victorian London to capture the spirit of the season. Featuring some brilliantly placed cameos from the likes of a very guilty Cuthbert the Caterpillar and Marcus ‘Radishford’, this already-certified classic rounds off a fantastic year for Aldi’s marketing team.