Our Top Five Christmas Campaigns 2018

Our Top Five Christmas Campaigns 2018

Jen Kinnear
November 29, 2018

It’s probably our favourite blog post of the year - we get to sit and watch all the big players’ Christmas ad campaigns (Quality Street & mince pies optional) and decide on our favourites, and why. So after the gruelling marathon, here are Profiles Creative’s pick of the 2018 crop….


Every year, a man called John Lewis who lives in Virginia gets inundated with misdirected tweets about the John Lewis Christmas ad campaign. This year, Twitter have got him to star in their own Christmas ad – which shows him patiently replying to tweets not intended for him. In a parody of the typical John Lewis style, there is a breathy and emotive soundtrack, and paraphernalia from previous John Lewis adverts scattered around the room. Low key, clever and it makes a gentle mockery of John Lewis while still feeling inclusive. And call us cynical, but it’s nice to watch a Christmas ad that isn’t trying to get us to buy anything. Well played Twitter. 


Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ll be familiar with the Iceland/Greenpeace Christmas campaign from Mother by now. The advert features Rang-Tan, an orangutan who takes refuge in a child’s bedroom to escape the destruction of his natural habitat for the production of palm oil. It was banned from being shown on TV for having political affiliations.  
While, cynically, it’s entirely possible Iceland knew this ad would be banned and the viral nature of the campaign was planned all along, it doesn’t detract from the fact that the ad is beautifully animated, and stands for something truly worthwhile. It brings a message previously only seen by Greenpeace activists to a new, enormous audience and has created a real conversation around an important issue at the time of year we’re normally just talking about whether the John Lewis ad made us cry or not.


A more traditional effort from Sainsbury’s than the others in this list but for the plug scene alone we had to include it. ‘The Big Night’ features a primary school Christmas show, an uplifting rendition of ‘You Get What You Give’ and the involvement of Greatest Showman director Michael Gracey. In a study on this year’s big campaigns, Socialyse determined that in a ‘sentiment score’ Sainsbury’s ranked the highest with more positive tweets about this campaign than any other. Sainsbury’s have also made short films showing how the ad was made, and interviews with the kids involved, to show across social media and other online channels in the run up to Christmas. 


We know we’re not meant to write one of these lists without including John Lewis, but while we love the Elton John advert, we think that the Waitrose’s ‘Too Good To Wait’ campaign is cleverer. Stepping away from their usual ‘hero’ theme, this campaign is a light-hearted take on Christmas rituals, suggesting that people endure them to get to the good bit – the food. Featuring six 30 second adverts, it shows six different rushed Christmas events. The first time the advert aired, all of the other adverts in the slot were fast forwarded. We particularly like them throwing shade on the John Lewis advert – by fast forwarding it and professing it wasn’t their favourite one. 


And finally…. Love Is A Gift

Not a conventional Christmas advert, and not actually advertising anything, we had to include this £50 advert nonetheless. Made by filmmaker Phil Beastall in 2014, it was only released this year and has racked up an impressive 1.5 million views on YouTube. It depicts a young man in the run up to Christmas, looking forward to opening his present under the tree, which turns out to be cassettes from his dead mother to listen to each Christmas day. He said: “You don't always need a huge budget, just an impactful narrative that gets the message across. I think there's a bit of a revolution going on in the advertising industry. People no longer want to be overtly sold something which makes our job as video producers a lot harder because we have to sell indirectly."
Don’t watch this at your desk if you’re prone to ugly crying… you have been warned.

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