High Ten: 2015’s Best Christmas Ads

December 9, 2015 / High Five

By Alex Reeves

We’re so full of festive cheer we're handing out twice the love this month.

Endless millions are splurged every year on British ads in the attempt to ‘win Christmas’ and it’s becoming more of an advertising extravaganza – the British equivalent of the Super Bowl – with every festive season. In fact, so much care and talent has been lavished upon brands this year that we’ve decided to get into the spirit of seasonal generosity and use both hands to congratulate the best ads of the month. Here’s our first Christmas High Ten, in alphabetical order.

Brand: Aldi
Title: Over The Moon
Production Company: Another Film Company
Director: Mark Denton
Production Company Producer: Sara Cummins
Director of Photography: Miguel Ragageles
Ad Agency: McCann Manchester
Creative Director: Neil Lancaster
Agency Producer: Melissa Bennett
Music Company: Polydor Records
Sound Company: Wave Studios
Sound Designer: Parv Thind
Post Production Company: Jam Films

Aldi – Over the Moon

The beauty of a simple idea like the one at the heart Aldi’s advertising is its flexibility. John Lewis’s Christmas ads have become such a rich vein for parodies in recent years and the people at McCann almost certainly knew they were going to spoof it before The Man on the Moon had aired. That said, it’s still impressive that they managed to get their witty retort made, signed off and aired in just a couple of weeks.

 

Brand: Currys PC World
Title: Jigsaw
Production Company: O Positive
Director: David Shane
Production Company Producer: Nell Jordan
Director of Photography: Tim Maurice-Jones
Ad Agency: AMV BBDO
Creative Directors: Alex Grieve, Adrian Rossi
Creatives: Mike Sutherland, Antony Nelson
Agency Producer: Anita Sasdy
Editing Company: The Quarry
Editor: Paul Watts
Music Company: Finger Music
Sound Company: Wave Studios
Sound Designer: Aaron Reynolds
Post Production Company: The Mill

Currys PC World - Jigsaw

This is the standout film from a very well executed campaign. Jeff Goldblum’s performance is spot on, the script is funny and the idea is built around an insight that’s obvious to everyone. Several campaigns have tapped into the idea of feigned delight when faced with uninspiring presents, but this one is so well done, and with a famous face to boot, that it’s sure to be the one to stick in people’s minds.

 

Brand: House of Fraser
Title: Your Rules
Production Company: Prettybird
Director: Ace Norton
Production Company Producers: Tom Knight, Jess Wylie
Ad Agency: 18 Feet & Rising
Creatives: Anna Carpen, Oli O’Neill
Agency Producer: Claire Ramasamy
Editing Company: Final Cut
Editor: James Rose
Sound Company: Factory
Sound Designer: Anthony Moore
Post Production Company: Nice Biscuits

House of Fraser – Your Rules

We all know what a big department store’s Christmas ad looks like (see below), and it most certainly isn’t this. Essentially a dance video, it’s shot in a studio with no attempts to recreate an authentic, cosy family setting and no tearjerker story to hit you in the feels, it works simply because it’s different, marking House of Fraser out as unlikely rebels of the department store category.

 

Brand: John Lewis
Title: Man on the Moon
Production Company: Somesuch
Director: Kim Gehrig
Production Company Producer: Lee Groombridge
Director of Photography: Andre Chemetoff
Ad Agency: adam&eveDDB
Creative Directors: Richard Brim, Ben Tollett
Creatives: Miles Carter, Sophie Knox
Agency Producer: Lucie Georgeson
Editing Company: Trim
Editor: Tom Lindsay
Music Company: Leland Music
Sound Company: Factory
Sound Designer: Anthony Moore
Post Production Company: The Mill

John Lewis – Man on the Moon

The pressure of making the John Lewis Christmas ad must be unbearable for everyone involved. We’ve hyped it up so much that we have to applaud the people who made it just for managing to get something on air. Amazingly, they’ve also managed to live up to expectations this year, with a touching work of magical realism, bringing together some of the best talents from all disciplines of advertising to make fragile, shopping-exhausted parents weep into their mulled wine.

 

Brand: McDonald’s
Title: Journey to Christmas
Production Company: Outsider
Director: James Rouse
Production Company Producer: Benji Howell
Ad Agency: Leo Burnett
Creative Directors: Matt Lee, Pete Heyes
Creatives: Phillip Meyler, Darren Keff
Agency Producer: Lou Pegg
Editing Company: Work Post
Editor: Art Jones
Sound Company: 750mph
Sound Designer: Sam Ashwell
Post Production Company: MPC

McDonald’s – Journey to Christmas

This is a pretty typical Christmas ad, featuring an adorable family singing a festive hit we’ve heard so many times that we’ve gone through cycle of hating and then ironically loving and then hating again several times over. It’s nicely put together and with all of James Rouse’s trademark warmth, it’s sure to get people feeling festive, which is pretty impressive for a brand as un-Christmassy as McDonald’s.

 

Brand: Mulberry
Title: Miracle
Production Company: Outsider
Director: James Rouse
Production Company Producer: Benji Howell
Director of Photography: Alex Melman
Ad Agency: adam&eveDDB
Creative Director: Richard Brim
Creatives: Aidan McClure, Laurent Simon
Agency Producer: Panos Louca
Editing Company: Work Post
Editor: Bill Smedley
Music Company: Focus Music
Sound Company: Factory
Sound Designers: Anthony Moore, Neil Johnson
Post Production Company: Finish

Mulberry - Miracle

James Rouse strikes again in this wonderfully dry and absurd bit of comedy. Replacing the messiah with a £700 handbag was an interesting move, but ultimately makes for quite an appropriate parable for these consumerist times. It’s exactly the tone we now expect from the brand, whose low-budget offering last year was an unexpected and welcome gift.

 

Brand: Sainsbury’s
Title: Mog’s Christmas Calamity
Production Company: Outsider
Director: James Rouse
Production Company Producers: Benji Howell, Heather Kinal
Ad Agency: AMV BBDO
Creative Directors: Michael Durban, Tony Strong
Agency Producers: Rebecca Scharf, Nikki Holbrow
Editing Company: Work Post
Editor: Bill Smedley
Sound Company: Factory
Sound Designer: Anthony Moore, Neil Johnson
Post Production Company: Framestore

Sainsbury’s – Mog’s Christmas Calamity

Completing James Rouse’s hat trick is this formidable festive romp from the defending champions of the supermarket Christmas ad competition. And, despite the ludicrously high bar set by last year’s emotional commemoration of the 1914 Christmas Day truce, we’re fairly confident Sainsbury’s will keep that title for another year. It’s cute, warm and jolly – all the good stuff we look for at this time of year.

 

Brand: Temptations
Title: Say Sorry
Production Company: Rattling Stick
Director: Austen Humphries
Production Company Producer: Kelly Spacey
Director of Photography: Jim Joilliffe
Ad Agency: adam&eveDDB
Creative Directors: Ben Tollett, Richard Brim
Creatives: Steph Ellis, Rory Hall
Agency Producer: Catherine Cullen
Editing Company: Speade
Editor: Gareth McEwen
Music Company: Sound Lounge
Sound Company: Factory
Sound Designer: Phil Bolland
Post Production Company: The Mill

Temptations – Say Sorry

Speaking of cute... Cat treat brand Temptations have burst out of obscurity in the past couple of years thanks to the work of adam&eveDDB and, as that agency are the tried-and-tested masters of Christmas, it would be poor form not to do something festive. Naturally they’ve nailed it (with more than a little help from Elton John), encouraging us to spare a thought for the cats who’ve fallen victim to their own cuteness this yuletide.

 

Brand: Vodafone
Title: Terry the Turkey
Production Company: Thomas Thomas Films
Director:  Kevin Thomas
Production Company Producer: Trent Simpson
Director of Photography: Bob Pendar-Hughes
Ad Agency: Grey London
Creative Director: Matt Doman
Creative: Howard Green
Agency Producers: Marcus Eley, Sophie Paton
Editing Company: The Quarry
Editor: Scot Crane
Sound Company: 750mph
Post Production Company: Gramercy Park Studios

Vodafone – Terry the Turkey

This is exactly the kind of uplifting parable we’re looking for at this time of year. Cuddly and funny, thanks to the deft touch of director Kevin Thomas. The pro-vegetarian overtones are surprising for such a mass-market brand, but it’s a compelling message, sure to warm the cockles, especially with the mighty Westlife backing it up.

 

Brand: Warburtons
Title: The Giant Crumpet Show
Production Company: Another Film Company
Director: Declan Lowney
Production Company Producer: Simon Monhemius
Ad Agency: WCRS
Creative Director: Billy Faithful
Creatives: Andy Lee, Johnny Porthouse
Agency Producer: Helen Powlette
Editing Company: Stitch
Editor:  Leo King
Sound Company: GCRS
Sound Designer: Ben Leeves
Post Production Company:  Finish

Warburtons – The Giant Crumpet Show

This ad’s status as part of the Christmas commercial extravaganza is debatable. Some have argued its lack of even a single sleigh bell should disqualify it from the competition, but seeing as Millward Brown have now crowned it the most effective campaign of the season those arguments can be safely laid to rest. The Muppets bring exactly the pantomime kind of vibe we love at this time of year. Brought together with a witty musical number written by the songsmiths at WCRS and expert comic direction from Declan Lowney, it’s easy to see why people are enjoying it so much.

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