All I want for Christmas is Adverts

  • 4 December 2016

I don’t think we’ve ever kept anything up this long! It’s the FOURTH year of our Christmas Advert Review, following on from the average to little success of 2013, 2014 and 2015. So what’s this Christmas all about?

John Lewis

We better start with the usual. Many adverts have gone happy rather than sad this year; clearly because 2016 sucked! Maybe not their best advert but this is definitely not their worst advert, it’s fun, and inevitably it allowed social media to pull out their own jumping animal videos and what trampoline’s really look like.

There’s something about the Waitrose Advert, again, it’s simple, it's nice, it's not as scary as Planet Earth II (which btw is the 2nd scariest bit of TV ever filmed, after the 2016 American Election Night) but all this high quality CGI looks a little bit like the John Lewis advert. That is of course because the John Lewis Partnership also owns Waitrose, they’ve cleverly put their marketing resources together to get a special BOGOF offer; that’s why they’re middle England’s favourite high street store!


The supermarket has had some decent Christmas ads over the last few years. They’ve done well again, but I like to take adverts too literally; so I have some questions. They mainly revolve around how this toy factory is still functioning when it seems like the employees are fairly inept. It seems that our lead character can also run the factory by himself; I’m worried that 2017 will bring a lot of redundancies at this factory, with more mechanisation and jobs going over seas. And you thought 2016 was bad!

TK Maxx

A special mention this year to TK Maxx for one of the weirdest and most terrifying (3rd scariest thing on TV) adverts out there. It really is something to behold!

I heard a rumour that the American TK Maxx, which is called TJ Maxx, was named that way because two brothers Mr T J Maxx and Mr T K Maxx chose to run the companies in each country; but I’m also pretty certain that this is not a fact. However it got me wondering if TJ Maxx used the same or similar advert, sadly the answer is no, the Americans just aren’t ready for something like that. In fact Christmas adverts aren’t really a big thing at all over the pond. They save their dirty marketing money for the Super Bowl.

Talking of culturally significant TV, I’ve recently discovered the Late Late Toy Show on Irish TV channel RTE. Every year, the first(ish) Friday of December brings a load of incredible kids dancing around on our TV screens in a fast paced show that makes no sense at all, it reminded me a lot of when Saturday Morning TV was great! Take a look at Daily Edge to get an idea of what you missed and make a note in your (phone based) diary to watch it next year; they even made it available in the UK on RTE Player! Move over Super Bowl.

A Few others to mention

In previous years, I’ve always been very positive about the Boots Christmas Adverts, especially 2013, this year isn’t their best, it’s caring and nice but I worry that they’ve ran out of ideas.

Marks and Spencer have had a mixed sack (get it? Santa’s Sack rather than bag?) of adverts over the years. They’ve done good this year, and I think it features my favourite dog from all the adverts.

Marks and Spencer Dog

There was a decent showing on Social Media of the Heathrow Airport advert, everyone seemed very touched. Again I’ve skipped over the content to focus on the important question. Does an advert really influence your decision of where you fly on holiday from? Surely it’s just the nearest airport or cheapest flight. No one thinks, “you know what, I love that Heathrow Airport, it’s got a great charm, let’s make sure we get our Magaluf flight from there. Every time.”

Get me to the nearest £4 Ryanair flight!

Also a quick mention to Warburton’s for having the cheek to re-use their advert from last year. Usually I’d be outraged, but it’s a good advert. It’s difficult to go wrong with the Muppets!

But We’re Film Makers!

OK, OK. And you know what filmmakers love? Equipment! ‘Equipment Envy’ is their number one emotion. So I think the Dixons advert has done well to connect with real people feelings, if you can call filmmakers real people!

But I’ve saved the best until last. I’m not sure if it’s a really great advert or if it’s the years of hanging around film makers finally making me appreciate cinematography but, from nowhere, H & M, everyone’s second favourite Swedish brand have given up with the standard, boring product adverts that you’ll get with Debenhams to give Director Wes Anderson a call! I might be slightly biased, I like Wes Anderson a lot as well as the star of many of his films, and this advert, Adrien Brody. Although I’m not sure how I feel about this new trend for 3+ minute adverts (also see Sainsbury’s and M & S) BUT it is really good!

So there you are, the big winner is…..Adam & Eve DDB! What? Wait? Who? That’s right, H & M are not the winner. Instead it’s the production company that this year created three of the best adverts; H & M, John Lewis and Waitrose. They’re going to have a great Christmas and they’ll be able to afford a giant Christmas tree!


As always, the final paragraph goes to the real meaning of Christmas and me telling you to not give in to these adverts. If 2016 has taught us anything, it’s that there’s a lot more to life than working 24/7, earning loadza money or owning the biggest and best of everything. I mentioned that this year’s adverts have gone happy, well if you’d like to watch a sad but brilliant one, how about the Alzheimer’s Research UK advert, narrated by Stephen Fry. You don’t really need to buy any of the things that the above adverts are selling; this year how about doing 100% of your shopping at a site like

Sgt Peppers 2016

From everyone at Lanor, have a great Christmas and a happy new year.

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