The Christmas Ad – Thoughts from Reg&Co

It’s that (most wonderful) time of the year again. When High Street retailers go head to head with the annual battle of the Christmas advert. The prize? A slice of the £80bn that shoppers are expected to spend in the final six weeks of the year, according to a report compiled by the Centre for Retail Research.

Coca Cola

It’s not Christmas until you see that illuminated red truck and hear that classic “Holidays Are Coming” jingle, makes you feel all snug and Christmassy! The ad was first screened in the winter months of 1995.

For 2019 Coca Cola are launching their biggest ever campaign which will see the use of OOH and also partnerships with Snapchat and Waze. The annual truck tour commenced last week and this year Coca Cola will be donating 10p to homeless charity Crisis for every can sampled during the tour. They have already successfully undertaken station domination at Oxford Circus with scented posters promoting the new Cinnamon Coke range and have plans for wrapped buses and other travel hubs. The TV ad is scheduled to be released 22.11 and will; ‘remind us that there is more that unites us than divides us’ ever the marketing leaders from Coca Cola the company which changed St Nicks outfit to red and white.

John Lewis

John Lewis has in recent times been the perennial winner of the Christmas Ad campaigns and yet again this year it is the most anticipated out of all the retailers. John Lewis set a precedent for any retailer looking to take top spot in the battle of Christmas Ads. Such is the frenzy and expectation there have even been fake ads created in the run-up to Christmas. This year’s campaign sees John Lewis and Waitrose combining to create the lovable clumsy dragon, Edgar. The big question is, is it a tear-jerker?

No, is the short answer however there is an underlying warm message of forgiveness, giving and hope which essentially is the Christmas spirit. It must be a daunting brief for any creative to fulfil, living up to all the blockbuster John Lewis Christmas ads of recent years. Of course, that being said you can bet your orange at the bottom of your stocking the in-demand cuddly Edgar’s on sale in John Lewis and Christmas pudding in Waitrose which gets a plug right at the end will be sold out. 


The Swedish flat-pack geniuses have definitely taken a bold step this year by using cult grime artist D Double E’s vocals. Not the typical endorsement, however one that will surely get a nod of approval from urban folk; ‘Silence the critics’ is the tag line, and you do this by bowing to them and changing everything from the sofa to the lampshade just so you can keep up appearances!


This year marks the 150th birthday for Sainsbury’s so what better way than to take a trip down memory lane. Set in 1869 Christmas in what appears to be London the story of Nicholas the Sweep is told and his evil master – think Oliver Twist. Mrs Sainsbury takes pity on Nicholas who in return finds his true calling, the real twist. Apparently, Sainsbury’s made Santa who would have known? Very much the same theme as the John Lewis & Waitrose ad set in the Christmas of yesteryear.


Christmas will no doubt be the busiest time for most but spare a thought for those Amazon Prime drivers and warehouse workers. This is maybe why this year they have gone for a feel-good sing-a-long campaign. ‘Everybody needs somebody to love’ is belted across the land, young and old, short and tall such a feel-good, feel warm about yourself vibe. This year Amazon surpassed Microsoft to become the most valuable company in the world worth, £634bn and the working conditions of its staff have come under scrutiny. Will this feel-good factor ad help their image I wonder?


Mums go to Iceland, so it was a bit of a shock last year when their Christmas Ad campaign was banned for breaching advertising rules in the UK. It was deemed ‘too political’ as it featured an Orangutan named ‘Rang-tan’ in the bedroom of a young girl. Iceland decided to air the campaign online which meant it did not have to adhere to the same rulings for TV adverts. It’s actually fair to say by banning the advert there was massive buzz which ultimately improved awareness around palm oil and the issues arising from farming the fruit by-product. This year Iceland has played it safe with a collaboration with Disney’s Frozen and a game of every family’s favourite game, charades! Those rebels!


Nostalgia? Tick, Cool Song? Tick, Mushy Christmas feel-good factor? Tick. This, in my opinion, is the best of the lot. The Argos ad starts off with a dad sitting in his kitchen looking through an Argos catalogue – a familiar setting. He then stumbles across a page with a drum set circled, then the magic happens through; ‘The Book of Dreams’. The kitchen turns into a stage, with the fridge playing the part of the smoke machine. ‘Don’t You’ by Simple Mind is belted out on the drums, the dad is in the zone! The daughter then comes downstairs thinking ‘what on earth is this racket?’ but she joins the dad and they both duet on the drums! Brilliant! What is even more brilliant is that Argos have made ‘The Book of Dreams’ available for everyone, all the Argos catalogues from the 1970s to date are now available online as part of this campaign!

Christmas Cheer

Christmas is no doubt big business and when it comes to prizing open the customers’ purse strings, retailers have always outdone themselves year on year. 2019 will see advertisers spending £6.8bn, a near 5% increase from the previous year. The adverts themselves are an opportunity for brands to create additional merchandising, Edgar the excitable Dragon being the perfect example for John Lewis. It’s worth noting for every £1 spent on advertising in Q4 returns more than £6 to the UK economy according to studies carried out by the Advertising Association with Deloitte. The pressure to spend has never been greater and it doesn’t look as if it will change anytime soon either.