Five of the best Christmas Adverts of 2014
Christmas advertisements have now become an integral part of Christmas equal to gift-giving, cheesy music and over-indulgence. It is unknown as to when these adverts became so important to us and when we actually enjoyed watching them instead of using their appearance as an opportunity to get other things done.
1. John Lewis
After launching their first Christmas advert in 2007, John Lewis has become synonymous with sentimental and touching adverts that are about more than the consumerism associated with the holiday season, despite being designed to increase the audience’s awareness of the brand.
This year is no different, ’Monty’s Christmas’ complete with the tagline “give someone the Christmas that they’ve been wishing for” follows a young boy Sam and his best friend, Monty the penguin. On Christmas morning Sam and Monty race downstairs to their presents underneath the tree and to Monty’s joy he has been given the gift that he has been dreaming of – a partner.
None of the characters in the advertisement talk, instead, the soundtrack is provided by Tom Odell who’s rendition of John Lennon’s ‘Real Love’ is both magical and emotional.
The title for best ‘Christmas Advertisement’ has been unanimously awarded to John Lewis for the last seven years however supermarket Sainsbury’s appears to have trumped the department store by creating a highly emotional and evocative advertisement that perfectly flows from Remembrance Sunday into the festive period.
The stars of the piece are Jim, a Tommy and Otto, a Jerry – Jim and Otto, along with the rest of the troops take part in the famous 1914 Christmas Day Truce football game. As the game ends and the troops say their goodbyes, Jim hands Otto his jacket. When he returns to the trenches Otto discovers the chocolate bar that Jim had been sent as a Christmas present (obviously being sold in Sainsbury’s stores with a percentage of the proceeds going to the British Legion) in the pocket and smiles as “Christmas is for sharing”.
However many have found the advertisement both dangerous and disrespectful as it is exploiting the First World War for commercial gain and also the filmmakers have made it look almost poetically beautiful which is an inaccurate representation of what the war was like.
The world’s most famous department store is not known for its Christmas advertisements, but rather the decoration of the store itself and it’s window displays. However as these types of commercials have gained in popularity and profitability the store has decided to keep up with the times.
Using stop frame animation, similar to that used in the 1970’s in ‘The Clangers’ and ‘The Moomins’, the 2014 Harrods advert tells the story of Pumpernickel, a small cloth mouse who is trying to help Father Christmas by turning on the light bulbs outside of the Knightbridge Harrods store.
This advertisement, unlike the others in this list is not aired on the television but rather in London cinemas and online. This strategy is understandable as there is only one Harrods store in the world, which is in London so it makes sense to only advertise to the target audience those who live in the vicinity of the store and to online customers who travel to the store.
As much as those who celebrate Christmas would like to spend their day with their loved ones unfortunately that is not always the case, Boots spectacularly showcase this in their #SpecialBecause.
The commercial opens with an alarm clock ringing at midnight, as Christmas Day becomes Boxing Day, a montage of various people travel in the dark, in the snow and the cold to the sound of Alexi Murdoch’s slow and melancholic ‘Song For You’. The song as it turns out is representative of the life of a hard working nurse who spent all of Christmas evening on duty at the hospital.
The nurse returns early on Boxing Day morning to find, much to her surprise, her family and friends waiting for her with gifts and love to celebrate a late Christmas. The most touching moment however comes after the nurse is surprised by her daughter who has come back from overseas who greets her with “Merry Christmas, Mum”.
It is not too flashy or outwardly selling a product, it is not apparent that it is an advert for Boots until 20 seconds in where we see a young woman walk into a Boots store in an airport. It is a great representation of modern day Britain.
One of the greatest things about Christmas are the movies, the excuse to sit in the warmth whilst it is freezing outside, with a hot drink, chocolate and the company of anyone from Jack Frost to Jack Nicholson to Captain Jack Sparrow.
What makes the Sky Movies advert so clever is that it takes the average family, and their dog and transports them into much-loved family films: ‘The Muppets’, ‘Spiderman’, ‘The Lego Movie’ and ‘Frozen’. Subtly showing how through film we can be taken to other worlds from the comfort of our own homes.
Also another Christmas ‘tradition’ is the broadcasting of the Harry Potter series, which Sky has managed to tie into this advert by using Michael Gambon, the actor who plays Hogwarts headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, as the clearly recognizable voiceover.
Nostalgia Bonus: Coca Cola
Many people that refuse to accept that the festive period is upon us until they see the Coca Cola Christmas advert on their televisions, not seeking it out on YouTube, deliberately waiting until it appears on their TV. This year’s advertisement features people undertaking random acts of kindness to the voice of Andy Williams’ ‘Make Someone Happy’. Although cheery and upbeat it does not compare to 1995 ‘Holidays Are Coming’ advert which has become almost iconic in the United Kingdom.