I don’t watch adverts anymore (thank you Sky Plus). When people say “Have you seen the new [insert cool brand] advert..?” I have to Google it and watch it on YouTube. Like that Nationwide one from last year, with the man and his Dad scarf, and the weepy soundtrack. Oh. Wow. (Try to get through that without crying.)
But I have to admit to waiting happily for the John Lewis advert to ‘land’ each year. Working in media, it’s always been a good indicator of the mood of the season – it also always seems to signify a point when it’s really OK to talk about Christmas on social media. And no more so than this year, when, instead of trying to make us cry, they tried to make us laugh. And it worked for the most part. I actually liked the advert. I thought it took a light and gentle subject and injected some of the classic John Lewis warmth. Plus, it still made me cry.
And, yes, I know, I know – it’s really all just a cynical marketing ploy designed to emotionally manipulate us into parting with much, much cash. But still. The truth is, I’m a soft touch. Strictly makes me cry most weekends. So, a Christmas advert is definitely going to. But – if you’ve got five minutes to spare and want to indulge in some suitably festive propaganda, then you could do worse than the below. (Disclaimer: I have picked all of them mostly on their ability to make me cry. But you’ve been warned. Don’t blame me when you can’t see for sobbing.)
With Love from Mrs Claus (M&S):This is a literal cracker of a Christmas advert, I love the message, I love the story-telling, I love the characters. It’s heart-warming, uplifting, a teeny little bit subversive and just gorgeous. Watch it over and over again.
The Greatest Gift (Sainsburys): Pretty much anything on television with James Corden in it is brilliant, and I love it most when he sings. Cue the Sainsbry’s advert, which has lots of funny one-liners, a great joke about transport disruption due to festive weather, a suitably diverse family set-up, some other fab in-jokes and a very catchy song – it’s a lovely message to about giving your family your time at Christmas. Something I think we are all too quick to forget.
Home for Christmas (Waitrose): From the lilting piano music, the scenes of snow-covered England, the kindness of strangers and the hopes of one little girl, there is something so perfectly simple, and honest and humble, even, about this advert. You can’t go wrong with Waitrose really, and this advert just feels, warm and safe and comforting.
Come Together (H&M): Directed by Wes Anderson and staring the always gorgeous Adrien Brody, this is just so cool and so stylish and so quirky. And it has a lovely little nod to those trying to battle road and rail to get home for Christmas.
What if Santa Forgot (Alzheimer’s Society): It’s good to finish on this one. Something to make you feel a little less of a slave to the capitalist machine and a little more benevolent to those in need. I love this advert. I think it is beautifully put together and very moving.
Honourable Mention: I also had to pop in a link to this wonderful advert from Poland, featuring a new grandfather learning English. It’s heart-meltingly sweet and funny and very touching.