Christmas is a time for good cheer, time with loved ones, lots of food and - in recent years - show-stopping adverts.
Favourite retailers like John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and Aldi are known for their memorable festive adverts, with budgets climbing higher and productions getting more elaborate as the years go on.
However in 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic, there's a distinct change in tone. While Christmas ads were once (way back in 2019) full of glitz, glamour and partying, offerings from brands this year are distinctly more pared-back, in keeping with the public mood after a year of such hardship.
The adverts avoid depicting lavish partying, given that Christmas is likely to be a smaller, more intimate affair this year. Supermarket ASDA's new advert centres on a family celebrating at home, a trend seen throughout various campaigns. Very's ad focuses on a family making the most of Christmas in the house, with mum gifting a present to her postie, while Argos has also gone 'back to basics' with a film about two sisters putting on a magic show for their family.
“I guess Christmas is going to be different this year, so let’s really make the most of it," the dad of the family in ASDA's film says.
“We can still meet new friends [said as his child excitedly opens a toy] and keep the old traditions”.
ASDA’s Chief Customer Officer Anna-Maree Shaw said: “At ASDA, we know how important Christmas is for our customers, this year more than ever before. Christmas is going to be a little different for everyone, but through our ‘ASDA Price Christmas’ campaign, we want to reassure customers that everyone can have an extra special Christmas at the prices they want."
Some retailers have opted to directly address the tough year in their adverts, including Amazon, which has released a film all about a young dancer whose Christmas performance has been cancelled. The moving ad - set to an orchestral version of the song The Show Must Go On - certainly tugs at the heartstrings. TK Maxx has also emphasised the kind of year 2020 has been in its ad, albeit in a more tongue-in-cheek fashion. (The film involves a farmer tearing up, but also a goat dressed up and ice skating).
“We wanted to recognise the difficult year that we've all had and at the same time offer a bit of joyful optimism. This charming ad is a playful reminder that the gift of giving is really special and can bring such sweet pleasure to all," said Deborah Dolce, Group Brand & Marketing Director at TK Maxx.
Tesco's advert recounts all the mishaps people might have made this year, from giving a family member a dodgy haircut to failing to teach a subject during homeschooling.
Alessandra Bellini, Chief Customer Officer at Tesco, said: “We know that the festive ads mark the start of the season for a lot of people and that this year, customers were looking for something fun and uplifting, that would help spread a little joy. When we talked to friends, colleagues and customers about the concept, everyone instantly confessed to the naughty things they’ve done during 2020 with a wry smile. It’s really relatable and we hope it resonates with people and gets them talking.”
John Lewis & Partners said its advert, which is all about spreading love, is inspired by the kindness shown by the British public this year.
Pippa Wicks, Executive Director of John Lewis, said: “We were humbled by the kindness shown by the British public during the pandemic. We want this campaign to be uplifting and to inspire everyone to give some kindness in their own way this Christmas, especially to those who need it most. The pandemic has proved that it’s our small acts of love and kindness, particularly in challenging times, that captures what it is to be human; and when one small act of kindness multiplies it can have a lasting impact."
It's clear this is a new kind of festive season, and that's reflected now in the adverts on our screens. While we wait for more brands to release their Christmas campaigns, you can watch our pick of the best here...
John Lewis' Christmas advert
A series of vignettes tell a story of spreading love and happiness.
ASDA's Christmas advert
A family make the most of a different kind of Christmas.
Tesco's Christmas advert
Tesco declares there's no naughty list in 2020 in this fun ad.
Sainsbury's Christmas advert
This sweet advert tells of the importance of being with loved ones at Christmas, and how the desire to do that has heightened during this difficult year.
Argos' Christmas advert
Sisters put on a magic show for their family.
Barbour's Christmas advert
Illustrated by The Snowman's Raymond Briggs, this festive tale tells the story of a young boy who enlists Father Christmas' help to fix his dad's favourite jacket.
Very's Christmas advert
A family show gratitude for their Christmas at home, and share the love.
TK Maxx's Christmas advert
This playful ad recognises the difficult year 2020 has been.
Amazon's Christmas advert
A young dancer is devastated when her Christmas performance in cancelled.
Aldi's Christmas advert
Kevin the Carrot is back, and he has a new companion.
Disney's Christmas advert
This touching ad spans the years and tells of the importance of family.
Like this article? Sign up to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.
In need of some positivity or not able to make it to the shops? Enjoy Good Housekeeping delivered directly to your door every month! Subscribe to Good Housekeeping magazine now.
You Might Also Like