From #ExcitableEdgar to the ‘Plug Boy’: The Best of Christmas Adverts

Thanks to the help of huge companies such as John Lewis, adverts have now become a staple of the festive period for many people. Cute animals, memorable songs and messages of friendship and unity – the recipe for Christmas advert success! Here is a list of my favourite Christmas adverts from over the past few years.

#ExcitableEdgar (John Lewis and Waitrose, 2019):

You could not have a Christmas adverts compilation without mentioning at least one John Lewis advert. These have become part of the British popular culture, with huge numbers of people anticipating the annual reveal of the ad. This year, in my opinion, did not disappoint. Featuring the song ‘Can’t Fight This Feeling’, covered by Bastille, the advert tells the story of Edgar the dragon who accidentally causes havoc with the fire he creates. However, like every year, this is a heartfelt advert with a message of friendship and togetherness at Christmas time. Not to mention the fact that the dragon animation is adorable. If you haven’t seen this advert already, it is definitely worth the John Lewis hype.

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#ReindeerReady (McDonald’s, 2019):

If you’re a dog lover like me, then you will definitely appreciate the McDonald’s advertisement this year. It tells the story of a young girl whose sister will not play reindeers with her, instead, she begins to play with a young reindeer who turns out to be the family dog. The ad’s presentation of the family unit as a single father and two young daughters is a refreshing change from typical depictions of a two-parent, two-child household and, if the comments on the YouTube video are anything to go by, it seems to have been highly appreciated by fathers. A cute reindeer, a dog and the bringing together of family, what more could you ask for?

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‘The Big Night’ (Sainsbury’s, 2018):

Probably the most memorable Christmas advert of 2018, Sainsbury’s opted for a Nativityesque school show, with children dressed up in an array of different costumes. This is such a heart-warming advert to watch, especially how it captures the genuine pride of the parents who were not allowed to watch its rehearsals. However, despite this, the reason this advert became so memorable was due to the plug. A child dressed up as a plug jumps into a socket and the lights turn on. Though some viewers were shocked by this moment and made health and safety complaints to the store, this advert’s humour made it very original and a standout for 2018.

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‘The Bear & the Hare’ (John Lewis, 2013):

 Despite its steep competition, this is my favourite John Lewis advert. This was the one that first made me aware of the phenomenon of John Lewis adverts and therefore it’s the one I come back to every single year. Each time I hear the song ‘Somewhere Only We Know’, covered by Lily Allen, I now associate it with this advert, which is centred around spreading Christmas cheer through the animation of woodland animals.

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‘1914’ (Sainsbury’s, 2014):

I felt I had to include this advert on the list because it has such historical relevance. The advert depicts a famous moment from the Christmas Truce during the First World War in which French, German and British soldiers play football and spread holiday cheer despite being in the middle of war. A homage to this, the advert plays both the German and English versions of ‘Silent Night’ and shows how Christmas truly can bring the unlikeliest of groups together. This is one advert that a lot of people will remember forever.

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Though they didn’t quite make the list, this year’s Aldi and Argos adverts also deserve an honorary mention. However, John Lewis and Sainsbury’s seem to hold the trophies for the best Christmas adverts for me over the past few years.

What is your favourite Christmas advert of all time?

– Amie Greenhalgh


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