What Makes the Perfect Christmas Campaign?

Top 5 Christmas Adverts 2016

Coming around faster than ever before, it’s the season to be frivolous – at least if you’re a major retailer or grocer it would seem. The stakes are high and so are the marketing budgets… This Christmas, UK companies will spend an estimated £5.6bn on advertising in the run-up – £300m more than in 2015 and the most ever spent in the festive season according to the latest estimates by the Advertising Association.

Whilst the playing field is vast, with an increasing diverse range of deployment options available, the hotly contested prime television spots alone are expected to attract a spend of £1.3bn. This year, as expected, the usual players have dug deeper than ever to whet our appetites for parting with our money this festive season – but beyond the not-so-subtle underlying message, producers must seek new ways to vie for our attention, pull our emotional heart strings and drive brand loyalty.

For many, the sight of Coca Cola’s all-too-familiar Christmas truck marks the start of a barrage of festive adverts. For others it’s a time of anticipation; a moment to relish in what should be the pinnacle of ad production. Here we’re bringing you just a small selection of some of the biggest and boldest campaigns from this year’s crop; breaking down the numbers and asking how and why…

John Lewis – Buster the Boxer

No collection would be complete without this one. With a legacy to match it’s budget, John Lewis’ offering is arguably the most anticipated of all the grovers. The advert shot entirely on set, at Black Island studios in London, cost around £1m to make and features CGI versions of bouncing Buster, foxes, badgers, squirrels and hedgehogs. The upmarket department store is reportedly spending a further £6m on campaign advertising and recreating a virtual reality version in its flagship Oxford Street store.

With over 16.7 million views in its first 7 days, John Lewis will retain the title of the ‘most watched advert on YouTube.’ A second version of the video, ‘#BusterTheBoxer,’ uploaded directly to Facebook on the same day, has also generated 31.6M views, 30.1M in the first 3 days after it was published.

Marks and Spencer – With Love From Mrs Claus

An epic production from Marks and Spencer this year, receiving 4.2 million views in 7 days. With a glowing cast, the retail giant has launched its annual Christmas advert on TV and online; creating a modern twist focussing their storyline on the much-loved Mrs. Claus.

Waitrose – Home for Christmas

Our personal favourite, this 90-second tear-jerker, beautifully captures the story of a fearless robin, who tackles an eventful journey home, where a festive treat is waiting on a table for his annual return. The team behind this ad said every element of the fully computer-generated bird’s story had been fact-checked by experts to ensure it was “as close to reality as possible”.

Sainsbury’s – The Greatest Gift

Sainsbury’s also went all out this year, sticking with animation as their chosen vehicle, hoping for the same success brought to them by last year’s Mog the Cat.

The ground-breaking animated epic is also the first in the UK to use full-colour 3D printed faces for its characters, with more than 1,000 created for the Hollywood-style production. With a crew of 180, it took 16 weeks to build the set and 26 characters, before a further two months to complete filming. They also called upon the James Corden to supply the voice of devoted Dad, Dave…

Sainsbury’s haven’t revealed their budget for this production but having already received 6.8 million views in 7 days, they’re well on their way to outperforming many of their rivals.

Burberry – The Tale of Thomas Burberry

With an stellar cast and epic production to suit, it comes as no surprise that this luxury brand’s latest lavish campaign is rumoured to have cost more than £10m.

To celebrate their 160th year anniversary, they share the Tale of Thomas Burberry, the company founder. Directed by Oscar Winning Asif Kapadia, over 3 minutes, the ad cleverly depicts key moments from Burberry’s history, re-imagining events which have shaped the company’s values and key moments.