Blimey, is it really that time of year already? Christmas is, somehow, right around the corner, and that can only mean one thing – TV fans will be bombarded with festive ads until the big day comes around on December 25.
While the rest of us were huddling under heaters in pub gardens during the Great British ‘summer’, trying to make the most of things during the pandemic, the nation’s biggest brands were beavering away to create this year’s ads.
But are they any good?
So far, the likes of John Lewis, Disney, M&S, Boots and more have unveiled their efforts for 2021, and there’s a whole lot to take in.
We’ve ranked them all from our least favourite to our most liked, and we have to say, it’s all starting to make us feel a little bit Christmassy.
So, pass the mince pies and pour us a Baileys – here’s our definitive Christmas ad ranking for 2021, from worst to best.
6. John Lewis
A John Lewis ad is only as good as its song, and this year’s effort isn’t the best, we’re afraid.
We’ll get to the ad itself in a second, but have you ever noticed that John Lewis and Love Island do the same thing? They take popular songs and get a cutesy singer to slow them down, perform them at the piano and slap them over tender moments to give them emotional heft.
The one from 2020 was more interesting, featuring an original song by Celeste, but this year they’ve got London singer songwriter Lola Young to perform an anaemic version of Together in Electric Dreams by Philip Oakey & Giorgio Moroder, which – much like the ad – drifts in and out with little consequence.
The ad itself isn’t bad, not a classic (and not all that Christmassy?) featuring an alien who bonds with a little boy before blasting off back home. We wanted it to bring all the feels, as they say, but we’re just not feeling this one.
Whether we like the ad or not, of course, the racist backlash we’ve already seen online is sadly unsurprising and completely pathetic. People need to do better.
5. TK Maxx
It’s the school Christmas concert, the curtains pull back, and the young lad behind the piano freezes. Suddenly, he looks down at his feet and gets back his confidence after remembering he’s wearing a pair of fancy blue boots. Cue the entire audience getting on their feet and rocking out to an organ-heavy version of Aerosmith’s Walk This Way.
TK Maxx’s 2021 entry is likeable, if a little nondescript, but it’s hard to find anything disagreeable about it.
It’s fine. Not bad.Good, in fact.
M&S has made Tom Holland the first ever voice of Percy Pig, and Dawn French the voice of a Christmas fairy – that’s a pretty baller move if ever we’ve seen one.
It’s the Avengers/big shop crossover you didn’t know you needed in your life, and while the ad itself is pretty low-key (Percy Pig absolutely buzzing off his trotters about a Christmas pudding isn’t quite as exciting as it sounds on paper), it’s still a coop for M&S to land Tom.
Maybe we’re overthinking this, but it raises some moral questions too – if Percy is now sentient and running round the store, will he object to millions of his likeness being sold in sweet form? Will he be terrified when he discovers pigs in blankets being sold? Oh god, the horror.
It might look a bit like Jenna Coleman’s rejected screen test for Mary Poppins, but there’s plenty to like about the Bags of Joy campaign.
After being gifted a magic handbag that spews out Christmas gifts for everyone, Jenna goes about her business spreading festive joy and handing out presents.
Does it have a sassy snowman with false eyelashes, we hear you ask? Oh yes. Do we get to see a dog with rudolph antlers? You better believe it. It ticks a lot of boxes, and it’s a pretty solid effort all round.
Jenna does get negative points for being impatient and opening the gift from her nan before Christmas Day though. That’s poor form.
2. Sports Direct
The new Sports Direct christmas campaign is good – but then again, it cost £6m, so it damn well should be.
Emma Raducanu and Jack Grealish are two of the big names featured in the new promo, which also stars the likes of Jordan Pickford, Mason Mount, Declan Rice, Jessica Ennis-Hill, Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Maro Itoje, Big Narstie and Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston all frolicking in the snow.
There’s a whole lot to take in here, and the screen is absolutely packed with stars having a laugh with all their new gear on. But – be honest – the only real reason you’re interested is because Jack Grealish is doing his best East 17 impression with a massive white fluffy coat on. Fair play, lads.
Disney has an unfair advantage here, we feel. The company has produced some of the most magical, majestic cinematic moments in the history of film over the last 100 years – they can knock up a moving Christmas ad in their sleep.
Their impressive 2021 effort sees a step-dad spend his first Christmas with his new family, initially struggling to really bond with them.
But it turns out all he needs to do is create literally the most impressive gingerbread house of all time in order to impress his step children, and sure enough they come round to him and enjoy a wonderful time together.
There’s a lesson in there – practice your showstoppers and you’ll be baking your way into your new families’ hearts in no time.
In all seriousness, it’s a very good one, and the one we’ve enjoyed most so far this year. The tune from Gregory Porter is jaunty and fun, and there’s a little tug at the heartstrings when the stepdad sees the drawing of his new family on the fridge door.
Disney is good at this stuff – who knew?
Credit: Original article published here.