Festive ads tug at heartstrings

Woody’s advent calendar features, while five retailers put Christmas cards in shot

 

As John Lewis’ emotive Christmas ad tugs at the nation’s heartstrings with its focus on children in care, Woodmansterne has nabbed one of the few spots for the greetings industry in this year’s selection.

The publisher’s beautiful Milan Cathedral advent calendar features in the department store’s heart-warming tale of the foster dad whose gift is – painfully! – learning to skateboard so he has something in common with the young girl about to come to their home for the festive season.

Brits eagerly await the annual Christmas ads as retailers compete to grab their attention, and the current cost-of-living crisis has seen this year’s crop place more emphasis on bringing a little joy at a time when it might be in short supply.

Above: The Milan Cathedral advent calendar from Woodmansterne
Above: The Milan Cathedral advent calendar from Woodmansterne

However, while tinsel, fairy lights, Christmas trees, decorations, wintry scenes, turkey, and brussels sprouts abound along with plenty of persuasive product placement, in the 20 adverts watched at PG Buzz there’s a distinct shortage of that other staple of the festive season – Christmas cards!

Cute as the ads are, only Boots, M&S Gifts, Sports Direct, M&S Food, and Tesco briefly feature shots of Christmas cards, while John Lewis’ The Beginner story has none but does show Woodmansterne’s advent calendar, seen 16 seconds in to the 1½-minute clip behind the dad on the sofa with a frozen peas ice pack on his knee.

Above: The John Lewis festive ad is heart-warming but has no Christmas cards
Above: The John Lewis festive ad is heart-warming but has no Christmas cards

Unfortunately, Amazon, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Lidl, Aldi, Barbour, Debenhams, TK Maxx, JD Sports, Very, Matalan, Not On The High Street, Waitrose, and Freemans are among those to depict Christmas on their respective festive commercials without any inclusion of much-loved seasonal missives that will be displayed on shelves, doors, walls, and the mantlepiece in most real-life homes over the coming weeks.

Above: Cards feature on the shelves at the back and the wall to the right in this Tesco shot
Above: Cards feature on the shelves at the back and the wall to the right in this Tesco shot

Tesco’s tale is of a Christmas party with chief customer officer Alessandra Bellini telling Retail Gazette it was “very important” the seasonal campaign reflects “how customers genuinely feel”, and there are out-of-focus cards on the mantlepiece in the cheery Christmas dinner scene at 23 seconds into the one-minute advert.

She added: “We understand it is a tough time at the moment with everyone’s finances under pressure, but we also know that people are looking forward to Christmas – in fact our research shows there is even more excitement around it than usual. This is why we decided to officially stand up for joy this Christmas.”

Above: Duckie races past cards on the wall for M&S Food
Above: Duckie races past cards on the wall for M&S Food

M&S Food features Dawn French reprising her role as the Christmas Fairy, joined by comedy partner Jennifer Saunders as her new pal Duckie, a tatty dog-chew toy, and there’s a smattering of cards seen hanging either side of the fireplace as they fly around the house at 35 seconds into the 1½-minute.

Above: Boots’ last shot features one Christmas card
Above: Boots’ last shot features one Christmas card

In Boots’ Joy For All ad, It’s A Sin star Lydia West finds a pair of specs while on a bus and, when she wears them, they show her a very magical Christmas as Hall & Oates’ You Make My Dreams (Come True) plays. But you have to wait for the very last still shot of the minute-long feature to see just a single Christmas card.

Above: M&S Gifts has a goodly number of cards in the scene
Above: M&S Gifts has a goodly number of cards in the scene

There are two sightings of the elusive greetings in M&S Gifts’ one-minute feature, at 20 and 26 seconds, with decently-covered card washing lines on the wall as the family unwrap presents. Soundtracked by Harry Styles’ Treat People With Kindness, it highlights the retailer’s one-off £1million donation to 1,000 different community groups across the UK this Christmas as they struggle to find funds.

Above: Sports Direct’s stars have no turkey but there are cards in the background
Above: Sports Direct’s stars have no turkey but there are cards in the background

And finally, while Sports Direct isn’t the first retailer that comes to mind with Christmas adverts, it has unveiled a trio of 20-second slots featuring sports stars including Eric Cantona, Mason Mount, Thierry Henry, Emma Hayes, and Gabriel Tyldesley with the Family Dinner one featuring glimpses of out-of-focus cards on the mantlepiece and sideboard as turkey is off the menu when the stars gather for the feast.

Top: Woodmansterne’s advent calendar features in the John Lewis advert

MORE NEWS
GCA conf Feature image
 
Packed audience hears positive news of ‘resilient’ industry worth £1.45bn...
PH Close Feature image
 
Directors of long-established publisher in negotiations to see the name live on...
Henries sponsors Header image
 
Behind-the-scenes support is so important for The Henries Awards...
Pigment trends Feature image
 
Insight wall gives creative team plenty of inspiration to feature latest themes...
BLE strike Feature image
 
Brand Licensing Europe has travel options to compensate for planned strikes...
IG Wales Feature image
 
Made In Wales awards recognise IG Design Group’s eco commitment...
Get the latest news sent to your inbox
Subscribe to our daily newsletter

The list doesn't exist! Make sure you have imported the list on the 'Manage List Forms' page.