Macaulay Culkin recreates iconic scenes from Home Alone in Google Christmas ad: The Marketing Week Christmas blog 2018

Welcome to the Marketing Week Christmas blog! A chance for the Marketing Week team to cram all the latest festive advertising news into one place.

20 December: Macaulay Culkin recreates iconic scenes from Home Alone in Google Christmas ad

Macaulay Culkin has returned to his most famous character, Kevin McCallister, recreating iconic scenes from Home Along as part of an ad campaign for Google’s home assistant, Google Home.

The spot includes several key scenes from the original film, including when Kevin uses his dad’s aftershave, uses the dialogue from the film Angels with Filthy Souls to talk to a pizza delivery man and sits down to eat a large bowl of ice cream.

However, in the ad key scenes from the film are made easier because he is able to use the home assistant to help him with “operation Kevin”. This includes using Home to add aftershave to his shopping list, and using a command to set a mannequin and cardboard cutout into motion in the living room so it looks like there are more people at home.

The ad has already been watched almost 5.4 million times on YouTube. SV

19 December: British Airways launches Home Alone-inspired Christmas ad

British Airways has launched a star-studded Christmas campaign, ‘A Very Kevin Christmas’, inspired by Kevin McAllister’s adventures in Home Alone 2.

Created by agency W and filmed in New York, the ad features four deserving children and celebrity cameos from Pixie Lott, Millie Bobby Brown, Harry Maguire, Jodi Whitaker and Jon Culshaw as Donald Trump, recreating the famous scene in Home Alone 2 when Kevin meets Trump  in the Plaza Hotel.

To coincide with the campaign, British Airways unveiled a variety of movie-esque experiences during the three-day trip to New York including a stay at the iconic Plaza Hotel, ice skating in Central Park, a visit to the Rockettes show at the Radio City Music Hall, toy shopping in the newly re-opened FAO Schwarz and an ice cream feast in the Plaza Hotel’s most exclusive and prestigious guest room, The Presidential Suite.

“As our films reveal, the children have had to cope with very challenging circumstances and their stories are moving and inspiring in equal measure. We wanted to give them and their parents a magical start to Christmas they will never forget,” says BA chairman and CEO, Alex Cruz.

“As part of our centenary celebrations in 2019 we’ll also be launching BA Magic 100 when we’ll look forward to surprising many more of our customers.” EH

18 December: Contact lens startup Waldo tries to help Santa find his glasses

Eagle-eyed commuters across London may have noticed ‘missing’ posters in the underground, phone boxes and bus stops hoping to locate Santa’s specs. The glasses were last spotted ‘hanging off the ears of a reindeer’ and ‘on the floor of Santa’s grotto’.

The campaign, the brainchild of direct-to-consumer contact lens brand Waldo, asks consumers to keep an eye out for the missing specs and send any tip offs or sightings to or via social to @waldocontacts using #lensesareforlife (not just Christmas). The lucky person who finds the glasses will receive six months of free lenses.

Running across digital as well as offline, the campaign aims to raise awareness of the impracticality of wearing glasses compared to lenses.

“It has always been our mission to change people’s relationship with vision,” says Danielle Betts, content and partnership manager at Waldo. “It should be personal and exciting. We want to differentiate ourselves from our competitors through the way we connect with our customers.

“Glasses are so easily misplaced, resulting in a lot of time being wasted searching for them again. We’ve taken a really relatable situation and added a festive twist to demonstrate why lenses are a much more practical option.” CR

18 December: John Lewis sees strong sales in fashion, beauty and mobiles as Christmas looms

John Lewis Partners

Total sales for the week were up 1.8% year on year thanks to customers shopping for gifts and preparing their homes for Christmas, as well as price matching competitor promotions which launched at the end of the week.

Fashion sales were up 9.3% while beauty, wellbeing and leisure sales were up 15.7% and womenswear and menswear sales up 8.5% and 7.2% respectively.

Home sales were down 1.7% overall, as were electrical and home technology sales (-4.3%) which John Lewis says is partly due to annualising competitor promotions which were not repeated this year.

Nevertheless, mobile phone sales were up 34% on the same week last year, with John Lewis also seeing strong sales of Dyson Airwraps and smart watches.

At Waitrose, total sales excluding fuel were down 1.9% compared to the same week last year, following a planned decision to reduce promotional activity.

However, sales of panettone were up by 12% and mince pies up by 9% as customers begin to stock up for the big day. EH

17 December: Nationwide celebrates diversity with ’12 Voices of Christmas’ campaign

Nationwide is launching a series of ads to celebrate the diverse range of voices across the UK and people’s different thoughts and experiences about Christmas. The ’12 Voices of Christmas’ ads will feature a dozen different people from various ages, ethnicities and life experiences.

Launching on Monday, 24 December, the ads will run for eight days until Monday, 31 December, on TV. They will air at the start and end of ad breaks for shows such as Coronation Street, ensuring two different voices are shown in each break.

Created by VCCP, the series of adverts are part of Nationwide’s wider ‘Voices Nationwide’ campaign which celebrates people’s lives and their stories through the medium of spoken word. The new ads include a mix of styles – some poems and some observed conversations between groups of friends or families – all of which have been chosen and written by the people starring in the ad.

The spots include Amina Jama from London who remembers Christmas Eve 12 years ago when her niece was born, Maggy Whitehouse from Devon who looks back at her first ever service as a vicar and Lynn Lovell from Rochdale who reminisces about a past Christmas when her gran gifted her the wrong present.

Sara Bennison, Nationwide’s CMO, says: “Christmas means so many different things to our 15 million members. After what has so often felt like a year of division and dissent, we wanted to celebrate that diversity of experience. Building Societies are, after all, built on a premise that we can achieve far more together than is possible alone, and that seems more relevant now than ever. We hope that everyone can find something they relate to in one of our ‘12 Voices of Christmas, Nationwide’.” SV

14 December: KP nuts creates Christmas jumper for Save the Children collaboration

KP nuts has created a limited edition Christmas jumper, adorned with packets of KP nuts, as part of its festive campaign.

The jumper, created by agency BMB, will be showcased at a pop-up in central London today  where consumers can enter to win one of 30 Christmas jumpers and packs of KP Nuts. They can also enter on the KP Nuts Facebook page.

KP Nuts will work in partnership with Save the Children, who created Christmas Jumper day, by donating £10,000 to the charity and will also coordinate donation collection at the pop-up shop with the option to text a donation.

Sue Mackay, marketing manager of KP Nuts, says “KP Nuts are perfect for gatherings that happen throughout the year, as well as the festive season. With the growing tradition of Christmas Jumper Day, we are proud to partner with the official founders – Save the Children – to convey this message through our Christmas offering this year.”

The campaign includes a tongue-in-cheek online video which run across out-of-home, print, and digital and includes an online video.

14 December: Warburtons brings back the ‘Giant Crumpet Show’

Warburtons has brought back its festive campaign, The Muppets ‘Giant Crumpet Show’, three years after it first aired. The ad sees Kermit the Frog pitching the idea of giant crumpets to Warburtons chairman Jonathan Warburton. The spot once again stars many of The Muppets best loved characters including The Swedish Chef, Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy and Statler and Waldolf.

This time the campaign, created by WCRS, will feature a 120-second TV spot supported by various cutdowns and a new 60-second edit that features Statler and Waldolf’s less-than-flattering review of the show.

Jonathan Warburton says: “We are thrilled to see the return of ‘The Giant Crumpet Show’. Since our crumpets first landed on shelves, they have been a firm favourite with families and are now a best-selling product across the UK. What better way to celebrate this than with our popular feel-good Christmas spectacular!” SV

13 December: Sky Cinema ropes in Cassetteboy to prove Die Hard is a Christmas film

As Die Hard celebrates its 30th birthday, Sky Cinema has teamed up with YouTube star Cassetteboy to settle the age-old festive debate as to whether cult action classic is a Christmas film or not.

The cut ‘n’ paste remix artists have re-edited the 1988 film into a ‘12 Days of Christmas’ jingle, with the new video opening on main character Jon McClane checking into the Nakatomi Plaza, only to frustratingly be asked by the computer whether Die Hard is a Christmas movie.

The piece then kicks off into the ’12 Days of Christmas as told by Die Hard’, showcasing the scenes throughout the film that “prove” its festive heritage.

“I don’t know why we even debate this every year,” says Ian Lewis, director of Sky Cinema. “Die Hard is the biggest Christmas movie of all time. The proof is all in the script.”

As part of the campaign, Sky Cinema has also created an online poll where people can cast their vote: EH (who has never seen Die Hard)

10 December: Iceland launches world’s first in-store ice rink

Iceland has transcended frozen food and converted one of its stores into a fully-functioning ice rink.

In what the supermarket claims is a world first, aisles in its Stratford store will now no doubt feel the force of many British backsides between now and Christmas as people frantically shop (and drop) for their favourite frozen goods.

The concept, dubbed ‘Shopping on Ice’, came about following research commissioned by Iceland which found four in five parents wish they had more time to enjoy the run-up to the big day (not sure this was what they had in mind).

And to keep the 89% of children who find Christmas food shopping boring entertained (and wobbly parents), Iceland has roped in some penguin aids to help them skate along the way.

“At Iceland we know Christmas is and exciting time, however it can be a struggle for lots of families as there’s so much to do,” says Neil Hayes, marketing director at Argos.

“We wanted to add some magic to Christmas food shopping and the in store skating experience has certainly done that.” EH

7 December: Ryanair ad celebrates the best things about Christmas

Ryanair has launched its first Christmas marketing campaign to celebrate the “best things about Christmas”. The pan-European campaign, #ChristmasMadeSimple, showcases the best of the festive season including “children, surprises and low fare flights”.

The campaign aims to capture the essence of Christmas morning and the importance of buying your loved ones what they want. It was written by Ryanair’s in-house team and produced by Cashmere Dublin. SV

4 December: Lidl takes swipe at Waitrose and M&S with tongue-in-cheek outdoor ads

The claws are out at Lidl in the run-up to Christmas. First, it was John Lewis’s Elton John ad that fell victim to the discounter’s jovial wit (It’s a Lidl bit funny…). Now, it’s the turn of Waitrose and Marks & Spencer.

Looking to remind consumers that “only at Lidl can they get better quality Christmas food at the lowest possible price”, sabotaged Waitrose and Marks & Spencer ads will run in close proximity to both stores across the country until Christmas Eve.

The ads, created by TBWA\London, boast Lidl’s award-winning mince pies and claim its Christmas pudding is more matured and cheaper.

“Our Deluxe range offers customers the best value and quality in the market and these ads are all about us getting that message out there,” says Lidl UK’s commercial director, Ryan McDonnell.

“Shopping anywhere else means customers are paying more then they need to for great Christmas products. From our 24 month matured Christmas Pudding and our Baklava Mince Pies, to our Deluxe Broadland Free Range Turkey and Gingerbread Gin Liqueur, our premium range means customers can really upgrade their Christmas this year, without a hefty shopping bill.”


4 December: Deck the halls with sausage rolls! Greggs to launch Christmas gift range and free gift wrapping service

Greggs is extending its remit from baked to wrapped goods this Christmas with a free in-shop gift wrapping service in bespoke Festive Bake wrapping paper. If that’s not enough, customers can sip on a complimentary glass of mulled wine while Greggs’ elves get to work.

A limited edition range of Greggs stocking fillers will also be available in these shops including the first ever Greggs Christmas jumper, doughnut socks, a sausage roll inspired umbrella, a phone case, reusable cup, Christmas cards, a high roller gift card and a set of pin badges in the shape of Greggs’ most popular items.

The Greggs phone case in action

“Fitting everything in at Christmas can be a struggle, and we wanted to help our customers lighten the load,” says customer director Hannah Squirrel. “Our free gift-wrapping service means weary shoppers can take a break while our elves wrap their presents, and they can even pick up some gifts for the Greggs fan in their life (or themselves) with our limited edition range.”

The campaign was devised and executed by Taylor Herring. All proceeds from Greggs’ gifts will be donated to the Greggs Foundation – a grant-making charity that aims to improve the quality of life in local communities and make a difference to people in need. EH

3 December: Age UK unveils ‘No one should have no one to turn to’ campaign

Age UK has joined forces with ITV and Channel 4 for its latest campaign, ‘No one should have no one to turn to’.

The ITV partnership comprises of an animated campaign created and produced by ITN Productions Advertising.

Four Coronation Street episodes include Age UK 10-second ribbon animations representing real-life calls to the Age UK advice line. Each snippet has been specifically placed so that it has a direct link to the storyline within the episode.

Meanwhile, Channel 4’s Celebrity Call Centre Christmas Special, airing on 19 December at 10pm, will include real-life calls to Age UK, will air on 19 December at 10 pm.

Created by Manning Gottlieb OMD, the aim of the campaign is to draw attention to the types of calls and enquiries Age UK receives on a daily basis. EH

3 December: Huawei launches StorySign to help deaf children learn to read this Christmas

Huawei has developed an app, called StorySign, that aims to help deaf children learn to read. The app features popular children’s book Where’s Spot; once downloaded, people simply hold their phone up to the words on the page and avatar Star will sign the story as the printed words are highlighted.

To promote the app, Huawei has launched a marketing campaign starring seven-year-old actress Maisie Sly, star of Oscar-winning short film The Silent Child. In the film, a young girl is seen struggling to read with her father on Christmas Eve. Later that night she sneaks downstairs to peak at her presents and is stunned to see Santa Claus, who hands her a book as a girl.

When Santa realises she is deaf, he begins to sign the book to her, helping her enjoy the magic of storytime.

“At Huawei, we believe in the power of AI and that technology can make a positive difference in the world,” comments Andrew Garrihy, CMO of Huawei Western Europe. “We created StorySign to help make it possible for families with deaf children to enjoy an enriched story time. We hope that by raising awareness of deaf literacy issues, people will be encouraged to donate to or support one of the fantastic charity partners we are working with across Europe.” SV

3 December: BT brings together stars of Channel 4 and ITV to reveal their ‘Christmas moments that matter’

BT’s Christmas ad campaign features TV stars such as Clare Balding, Rachel Riley, Rio Ferdinand and Phillip Schofield sharing personal stories of the moments that matter during the festive period. The ads, part of a ‘Christmas Connections’ campaign, all show how one of BT’s products plays a role in connecting them with the people they care about.

For example, Schofield shares how his family gets over fear of missing out at Christmas, while Ferdinand tells how his family bond by watching Christmas TV favourites.

The campaign, created by The Outfit, consists of 20-second TV ads that will also feature across social media.

Zaid Al-Qassab, chief brand and marketing officer, says: “Our latest campaign shares how BT plays a part in connecting some of the UK’s favourite TV personalities to their loved ones at Christmas – wherever they are in the world. From relying on video calling, like Phillip Schofield, or coming together to watch TV as a family like Rio Ferdinand, millions of our customers are able to enjoy moments like this thanks to our products and services.” SV

3 December: Swarovski ups experiential activity with ‘Sparkling Boxes’ launch


Jewellery retailer Swarovski is dialling down traditional advertising in favour of experiential activity this Christmas, with the launch of ‘Sparkling Boxes’ on the streets of London, Manchester, Glasgow and Birmingham.

Taking cues from its newly opened flagship store on Oxford Street in London, the boxes will showcase some of the brand’s festive gift ideas with interactive digital experiences to entertain visitors. It will also show Swarovski’s Christmas ad alongside a photobooth and virtual snow-scape feature, designed to encourage people to share their experiences on social.

It will also be elevating its out-of-home activity with a Christmas tree installation at London’s Westfield White City. Passers-by will be able to have their picture taken, which will be displayed on large screens and consumers will receive a print out as a take-away Christmas card.

The experiential activations have been developed in partnership with Havas Media’s
specialist OOH division Adcity, working with Projection Artworks. LT

1 December: Absolute vodka to give away free taxi rides

Pernod Richard’s Absolut vodka has teamed up with Capital FM DJ Roman Kemp and Dirty Martini to offer free cab rides home during December.

Open to anyone in London, Birmingham or Manchester, the #BetterJourneysHome campaign encourages people to drink responsibly and make sure they get home safely.

A 60-second film has been created to give a “fun glimpse” into tales from people’s drunken journeys home, from bus stop snoozes to toenails and milk float shenanigans.

“Drink-driving figures are unfortunately continuing to rise; so we wanted to think of a creative and fun way to capture the attention of those, who are most at risk on the roads,” says Adam Boita, head of marketing for Absolut.

“Teaming up with Roman Kemp and Dirty Martini, our aim is to encourage as many people as possible to seek out safer and Better Journeys Home this festive season and beyond.” EH

1 December: BBC One unveils ‘Wonderland’

BBC One is hoping to inspire people to “cherish time with loved ones” this Christmas with a short film called ‘Wonderland’.

Running throughout the festive period, the film follows the story of a teenage boy who lives with his family, in a small seaside town.

The demands of everyday life mean that he and his mum don’t get to spend as much time together as they used to. But one day, with Christmas fast approaching, everything changes and they get to spend a unique afternoon together that they’ll never forget.

“This year’s BBC One Christmas film celebrates the channel’s role in bringing people together,” says Kerry Moss, BBC Portfolio head of marketing.

“It draws on the insight that at Christmas, time appears almost to stand still, enabling us to escape the distractions of everyday life to be with those to whom we’re closest.”

The film has been created by BBC Creative, the BBC’s in-house creative agency, and will run across BBC TV channels, iPlayer and the broadcaster’s social media. EH

27 November: John Lewis and Amazon report record sales

John Lewis Partners

The Black Friday weekend helped drive weekly sales at John Lewis up by 7.7% compared with the same period last year, making it the biggest sales week in the retailer’s history.

Electrical and home technology sales were up 5.7% – with best-selling products including Apple Airpods, the Amazon Echo Dot Smart Device and Google Home Mini Smart Speakers – while fashion sales were up 13.1%, mainly driven by Black Friday promotions on branded items.

“Both our shops and website traded well and a number of shops enjoyed a record week. Due to competitor offers and ours launching earlier in the week we saw sales up across the week and less concentrated on Black Friday itself, although that was still the busiest day of the week for sales,” says managing director Paula Nickolds.

Meanwhile, Amazon had a record-breaking weekend, with Cyber Monday the biggest shopping day in the company’s history.

Amazon customers worldwide ordered more than 18 million toys and 13 million fashion items on Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined, while sales by small and medium-sized businesses grew more than 20% year on year on Black Friday.

The best-selling products across on Cyber Monday included the new Echo Dot, AncestryDNA: Genetic Testing Ethnicity, Bose headphones, Becoming by Michelle Obama, Jenga, and Instant Pot’s electric pressure cooker. EH

26 November: Santa searches for missing child in impactful Red Cross campaign

The International Committee of the Red Cross has launched an impactful Christmas ad to raise awareness of the work it does to reunite missing people with their families across the world.

The near two-minute film, entitled ‘The one gift Santa can’t deliver’, highlights that while most children anticipate Christmas with excitement, the reality is very different for those that have been separated from their families by conflict, migration or natural disaster.

Set in a war zone, it tells the story of a little girl who has been separated from her family due to conflict. All she wants for Christmas is to be reunited with them, and the narrative follows a war-torn Santa Claus on a mission to make this Christmas wish come true.

The ICRC is currently looking for more than 100,000 people who have been parted from their families by armed conflict or violence.

The campaign, which was created by adam&eveDDB and directed by Gary Freedman from production company Independent, will run until 31 December in markets including the UK, France, Germany, Russia, Spain, Portugal, North America, Canada, Brazil, Argentina and Peru.

“We have been reconnecting families for over 150 years and it is some of the most important work we do,” says Jenni Smout, communications manager at the ICRC.

“We love how [adam&eveDDB] subverted festive tropes we’re used to seeing from brands, to remind us of the thousands of families around the world separated due to conflict, migration or natural disasters.” EH

21 November: Apple looking to hit the festive sweet-spot with animated Christmas ad

Apple has taken a leaf out of John Lewis’s big book of Christmas ads this year with a heartwarming tale about a young girl too afraid to show her gift to the world.

Her gift being that she’s quite good at making bears out of dough and drawing non-rude things on steamed up bus windows. Oh, she does some things on her MacBook Pro too.

But it’s her trusty dog that sets that creativity free when he busts open the window and, in a shocking plot twist, a piece of her creative paper flies to the streets below.

Mortified, she rushes through the snowy streets while the paper picks up speed, finally landing in the hands of an elderly pair who may or may not be her grandparents.

The almost-three-minute-long video, set to the song ‘Come Out and Play’ by Billie Eilish, ends in smiles when the rest of her work flutters into the hands of everyone around her.

The moral of the story? Dog-proof your windows. EH

20 November: Which? questions value of Black Friday as vast majority of ‘deals’ available throughout the year

Nearly nine in 10 of last year’s Black Friday ‘deals’, including TVs, cameras and fitness trackers, were cheaper or the same price at other times of the year, a Which? investigation reveals, bringing into question the true value of Black Friday.

The consumer goods watchdog tracked the prices of 94 popular products that were on offer over Black Friday 2017, from six months before until six months afterwards. An overwhelming majority (87%) of products were cheaper at other times of the year.

The investigation analysed deals at leading retailers Currys PC World, Amazon, John Lewis and Argos, finding that almost half (46%) of products on offer were sold for less in the six months following Black Friday (Dec 2017 to May 2018).

When looking at the two-week period surrounding Black Friday itself, Which? found that three-quarters (76%) of products were cheaper or the same price at other times in the year, and 74% could be picked up for the same price or less in the six months after.

Which? is now urging shoppers not to feel pressured into making a purchase around the event.

“The results of our investigation will disappoint many who are expecting nothing but bargains this Black Friday,” says Alex Neill, managing director of home products and services at Which?.

“While retailers are bombarding us with promises of great discounts and time-limited sales, it’s clear that not all deals are as good as they might appear. To bag a bargain, do your research and don’t get carried away by the hype when shopping in the upcoming sales.” EH

19 November – John Lewis (not the retail store) stars in Twitter’s Christmas ad

Twitter has made John Lewis the star of its Christmas ad campaign. However, the John Lewis in question is not the UK retailer but a lecturer in the US who has the Twitter handle @johnlewis.

Every year, John Lewis (the man) receives more than 50,000 tweets meant for John Lewis (the retailer), with many of those happening around the time of the release of the John Lewis Christmas ad. He has become a star in his own right on the social media site because of his witty responses to the tweets sent to him in error.

This year, Twitter is making him the star of an ad in his own right in a tongue-in-cheek film that plays on the case of mistaken identity. It also references recent John Lewis (the retailer) Christmas ads products including a telescope and moon ornament, as well as popular stars of its campaigns including Monty the penguin and Buster the boxer.

The ad is accompanied by the hashtag #notaretailstore, which John Lewis (the man) uses in his profile description. SV

14 November: Burberry changes creative direction in surreal star-studded Christmas campaign

Naomi Campbell, Matt Smith, M.I.A and Kristin Scott star in Burberry’s newly-released Christmas campaign – a surreal and fantastical spin on the usual traditional festivities.

The advert, titled ‘Close Your Eyes and Think of Christmas’, travels through a variety of scenes with a twist, including bad weather, a family gathering and delayed trains, while an eerie rendition of Carol of the Bells plays in the background.

It is the first Christmas campaign from Burberry’s new creative officer Ricardo Tisci, who replaced long-time CCO Christopher Bailey earlier this year.

Directed by Juno Calypso, it is a marked change from Burberry’s usual approach to Christmas – a sign that Tisci is trying to differentiate from his predecessor and make his own mark. EH

14 November: CollectPlus shows people how to donate coats this winter

CollectPlus has created a short film called ‘A Coat Tale’ to encourage people to give their old coats a new lease of life by keeping someone warm this winter.

The film is part of an ongoing partnership with Hands on London and its Wrap Up initiatives in London, Birmingham and Manchester, which collect unwanted coats and distribute them to a variety of causes across the UK for the homeless, elderly and others in need in the lead up to Christmas.

For the fourth year running, CollectPlus is providing shipping labels for people to download and use to send unwanted coats from any of CollectPlus’ 7,000 parcel points. It has also donated 750 free labels which will each allow up to 10kg of coats to be sent in one go. EH

14 November: Santa impersonators star in Zizzi’s first Christmas ad

Zizzi has launched its first Christmas ad, ‘The Father Christmas, Christmas Party’, which has brought together 20 of the UK’s top Father Christmas impersonators to celebrate the joy of pizza.

The 40-second tongue-in-cheek film sees the Santas feast on various special dishes from Zizzi’s new Christmas menu, which promises “a dish for everyone,” as well as letting viewers in on the secret of where Father Christmas himself chooses to host his own Christmas party (no prizes for guessing where).

“Our Christmas menu has been put together to serve every taste and diet preference so there really is something for everyone – including twenty Father Christmases, and potentially even the Real Father Christmas himself!,” says Rachel Hendry, head of brand and commercial marketing.

“The result is full of fun, capturing the real spirit of the Christmas party season and showing that whoever is on your guestlist Zizzi will have something special for them.”

The campaign was created by Zizzi’s comms agency The Academy and will run across Zizzi channels from today. EH

14 November: Patrick Stewart narrates advent calendar-inspired ad for Sky Cinema

Sky Cinema lets viewers look through the 24 windows of an advent calendar-inspired Christmas mansion block in its 2018 festive campaign, each of which reveals a different family brought together by a range of blockbuster and Christmas films (all on Sky Cinema, of course).

Narrated by Patrick Stewart, it is the first time Sky’s in-house creative agency has done the Cinema Christmas ad, which alongside the 60-second TV spot will include DRTV, radio and out-of-home.

“Christmas is such a huge time of year for Sky Cinema and it’s really important for us to communicate the sheer breadth of movies available during the festive period,” says Carli Farmer, director of Sky TV products and premiums.

” It’s been brilliant to have the Sky Creative Agency team on-board for their first Sky Cinema Christmas campaign and they’ve pulled out all the stops to deliver a commercial that fulfilled our brief while bringing to life the magic of Christmas”. EH

14 November: Advertisers’ Christmas spend to hit record £6.4bn

Businesses will spend £6.4bn on Christmas advertising throughout the final quarter of the year, up 5% on 2017, according to economic forecast data from the Advertising Association.

Brands spent £6.1bn on festive advertising during the last quarter of 2017, meaning 28% of the total £22.1bn spent on advertising last year was invested in the run-up of Christmas.

Music plays an important role in many brands’ Christmas campaigns – this year has seen renditions of classics such as Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Go Your Own Way’ (Tesco), Robbie Williams’ ‘She’s The One’ (Boots) and the New Radicals’ classic 90s song, ‘You Get What You Give’ (Sainsbury’s), with rumours Elton John might appear in this year’s much-awaited John Lewis ad. Given music is so important, the Advertising Association commissioned a separate piece of research into consumers’ attitudes towards the music that appears in Christmas ads.

It finds Coca-Cola’s ‘Holidays are Coming’ is the nation’s favourite festive tune, while Irn Bru’s cheeky version of ‘The Snowman’ from its 2011 ad (see below) and Lily Allen’s cover of ‘Somewhere Only We Know’ from John Lewis’ 2013 ad complete the top three.

Nearly one in five people associate a particular song or artist with a Christmas ad and a similar number have searched online for Christmas ads so they can listen to the music, leading more than one in 10 to become fans of an artist or song.

Karen Fraser, leader of advertising think tank, Credos says: “Advertisers are increasing their investments in Christmas advertising year-on-year, because they know Christmas advertising works. As the UK high street faces an uncertain future, Christmas is one of the key periods for retailers. Advertising helps stores attract customers, and that helps sustain jobs and high streets in the UK. We need advertising, and we need Christmas advertising in particular.” LT

12 November: Brits will eat 504 mince pies in their lifetime

1,386 gifts bought, 1,008 sprouts and 504 mince pies eaten, 1,827 baubles hung and 252 crackers pulled. These are just some of the impressive numbers Brits will rack up in their lifetime according to research from Amazon looking at the festive shopping habits of UK consumers.

Across the average adult lifetime, the average Brit will spend 882 hours – more than 36 days – buying presents and will listen to more than 1,008 hours of Christmas music (the equivalent of listening to Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You more than 16,000 times).

They will receive 630 presents and travel, on average, 20,097 miles to get home during the festive period – the equivalent of travelling from Land’s End to John O’Groats 23 times and just short of going around the globe once.

Partners and spouses were voted by 46% of respondents as the best present buyers, followed by mothers (27%) and then daughters (17%).

While the average UK adult will buy 22 presents this Christmas, those in Oxford are apparently the most generous, splashing out on 33 gifts each for their friends and family, followed by the residents of Sheffield who purchase on average 26 presents. Closely behind are the people of Manchester and Newcastle upon Tyne who buy on average 25 gifts each.

Almost half (48%) of Brits carry out all their Christmas shopping online, with those polled citing that the ease of browsing online is the top reason for doing so, followed by saving time and the wide variety of products available. EH

9 November: Martin Freeman gives Torvill and Dean a run for their money in Vodafone ad

Martin Freeman has put his skates on for Vodafone UK’s Christmas ad to “highlight Vodafone’s dedication to helping customers stay connected this Christmas” (obviously).

Freeman’s character and his girlfriend Clare (who he fell for in last year’s Christmas campaign) arrive at a family Christmas gathering.

In a huge plot twist, Aunty Sue arrives unannounced, which means they didn’t get her a gift.

Uh oh. A panicked Freeman doesn’t know what to do, but with a few taps on Clare’s handy Google Pixel 3, the nightmare is sorted – “thanks to Vodafone’s great network connectivity”.

In elation, Freeman is transported to the rink where he gives the performance of his life.

The campaign kicks off on TV today, appearing in commercial breaks during the X Factor live show on Saturday 10th and Coronation Street on Monday 12th. It will also air in the launch of I’m a Celebrity on 18th.

The #ChristmasCovered creative will also run in store, online, out of home and across social and PR channels. EH

9 November: Iceland’s Christmas ad banned for ‘being too political’

Iceland’s festive ad has been banned from being aired for breaching political rules, after it failed to win over regulators.

The grocer stuck a deal with Greenpeace to rehash its animated short film highlighting the destruction palm oil is having on our rainforests and the orangutan communities. The harrowing film is narrated by Greenpeace advocate Emma Thompson and follows the story of a little girl and a young orangutan named Rang-Tan.

The ad was designed to offer consumers the choice of an orangutan friendly Christmas but has been banned from TV and will be launched on YouTube instead.

According to Clearcast, the watchdog responsible for vetting ads before they are broadcast, the advert breached rules within the 2003 Communications Act which ban political advertising.

A spokesperson for Clearcast says: “Clearcast and the broadcasters have to date been unable to clear this Iceland ad because we concerned that it doesn’t comply with the political rules of the BCAP code. The creative submitted to us is linked to another organisation who have not yet been able to demonstrate compliance in this area.”

Iceland’s founder Malcolm Walker says the company sought permission to use Greenpeace’s film and remove the logo to replace it with Iceland’s.

“It would have blown the John Lewis ad out of the window. It was so emotional,” he adds.

This year Iceland became the first major UK retailer to pledge to remove palm oil from its products. EL

9 November: Harvey Nichols fills Christmas windows with Champagne

Harvey Nichols has unveiled its Christmas window display – a sparkly display of metallic colours, lights and shapes inspired by festive celebrations.

A giant Champagne bottle fills the first and second window, before it pops and pours hues of gold and silver that fill the remaining windows along Knightsbridge while 3D bubbles burst out of the windows to attract passers-by.

Gifts from fashion, beauty, food and wine will be displayed in every window, surrounded by hanging baubles and gold leaf.

To celebrate the new Disney film Mary Poppins Returns, four original costumes will be showcased in the Knightsbridge windows alongside gilded umbrellas.

“Our 2018 Christmas windows are all about the exciting festivities that take place during the season; celebrations, parties and catching up with friend,” says Janet Wardley, head of visual display.

“This inspired us to create a luxurious display of dazzling metallic colours, lights and shapes, filled with hero gifting ideas – helping our customer get into the Christmas spirit!” EH

8 November: Harrods unveils Fantastica Christmas windows

Described by creative visual director Alex Wells-Greco as “the pinnacle of sensory storytelling”, Harrods Fantastica Christmas windows put a luxurious twist on a host of festive rituals from unwrapping gifts to the Queen’s speech.

One window is dominated by a giant Christmas dinner with turkey and all the trimmings, while other windows feature shimmering giant sweets and a Dolce & Gabbana inspired ‘leftover fridge’ (see above).

Outside its London flagship store Harrods has erected an eight-metre Christmas tree adorned with more than 100 oversized gourmet delights, including cranberries, candy canes and Brussel sprouts.

To support the visual merchandising campaign a series of interactive activities are set to run throughout November and December, including pop-ups, tutorials, gift personalisation and food tastings. CR

8 November: Marks & Spencer asks the nation to pick their #MyMarksFave food

What better way to work out what’s the nation’s favourite Chirstmas food than to travel the length and breadth of the UK in a van looking for answers?

This was the approach favoured by Marks & Spencer, which asked consumers across the UK to pick their #MyMarksFave for the Christmas dinner table. Answers ranged from soft buttery turkey and ‘game changer’ sprouts, to shimmering chocolate acorns and a prosecco drenched Christmas pudding. CR 

8 November: Heathrow brings back Doris and Edward the bears for a “quintessential” British Christmas

Heathrow’s Christmas marketing campaign will once again star Doris and Edward Blair, the bears that have been the stars of their festive advertising for the past two years.

In this year’s campaign, the Blairs are seen returning to the UK from their Florida home after longing for the “quintessential” British Christmas. The ad opens with Edward enjoying lying in the sun, until he hears the sound of Christmas carols and begins to miss Britain at Christmas time, leading the couple to book a flight back to Heathrow.

Set to 1980s tune Every Time You Go Away by Paul Young, the campaign was created by Havas London. It will be on YouTube, social media, TV and outdoor.

Ross Baker, Heathrow’s chief commercial officer, says: “The nation’s love for Doris and Edward is overwhelming and has been since we first met them in 2016. For many people, being close to the ones we love is what really makes Christmas special. This is why we see The Blairs return to their family from warmer climes, as many of Heathrow’s passengers make similar journeys home for the festive season.” SV

7 November: JD launches biggest ever Christmas campaign

JD has turned to celebrities such as boxer Anthony Joshua, Manchester United footballer Jesse Lingard and US actor Jaden Smith to give its Christmas campaign some start power.

The film featuring the stars will air on TV in the UK, France, Holland, Spain, Italy and Ireland, as well as cinemas in Malaysia and Singapore. Campaign imagery will be used in stores and in out-of-home, while social media will be used to amplify its reach.

Stephen White, JD’s group marketing director, says: “We chose the line-up because they are aspirational and influential to our audience and provide a huge reach across social media platforms. The campaign and the icons who appear in it echo JD’s global market leading position.”

6 November: Save the Children warns Christmas jumpers should be ‘worn responsibly’

Save the Children is promoting its annual Christmas Jumper Day with an ad, created by adam&eve DDB, that warns the clothing must be worn responsibly.

To demonstrate why, the campaign features people who have not fully thought through whether wearing a Christmas jumper is appropriate. One is a fitness instructor leading a spin class; another is a dentist; while a third is a policeman on a stakeout.

The campaign, which will run across TV, outdoor, press and radio, ends with a callout for people to request fundraising packs and sign up to the event.

Vicky Fallon, campaign fundraising director at Save the Children, says: “While there’s a very serious intent with all our fundraising, we love how people embrace the fun and silliness of Save the Children’s annual Christmas Jumper Day, and we love how adam&eveDDB have captured this in their ‘Please wear responsibly’ campaign. For you, it’s just £2 and a lot of fun but the more you raise, the more we can give children in the world’s toughest places a better future.”

Christmas Jumper Day takes place on Friday, 14 December. SV

6 November: TK Maxx reveals the joy of The Neverending Stocking

Think Christmas is only one day a year? Think again. This festive period TK Maxx is introducing The Neverending Stocking, a friendly gift giving super-sock that comes to life after a customer finds it nestled between the shelves.

The stocking lives with its adopted family for a whole year delivering gifts for the whole family, before on the stroke of midnight on Christmas Day the following year it is sucked up the chimney and flies out into the night sky.

Designed by Wieden+Kennedy, this is TK Maxx’s third Christmas campaign under the Ridiculous Possibilities brand platform and will run in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Poland, Austria and the Netherlands across TV, print, digital, social, mobile and experiential.

The in-store launch tomorrow (7 November) will see TK Maxx offering shoppers the chance to actually win a host of treasures every month for a year. A limited number of bespoke ‘neverending stockings’ will be hidden on the shelves of TK Maxx stores across Europe and online, with the winning shoppers receiving a year of gifts that can also be donated to family and friends.

“We have worked together with all our agencies to create a campaign that is beyond a straight broadcast message, rather it aims to engage with our shoppers in an experiential and engaging way. It brings to life TK Maxx’s brand message of ‘Big Gifts. Small Prices’ through the main Christmas TV ad, as well as creating standout in this busy season,” says Deborah Dolce, TK Maxx group brand and marketing director.

“We are encouraging our customers to visit stores and search for one of the neverending stockings, whilst also reminding them that TK Maxx is a perfect gift destination for both Christmas and beyond.” CR

5 November: Lego debuts first global Christmas campaign

Lego’s first ever global Christmas advert hits UK TV screens today, looking to show how Lego can transcend the limitations of a plastic building block and ignite the even the wildest of wishes of the imagination.

From space jets to a high speed police chase, the 60-second spot – set to Strauss’s Blue Danube Waltz – features children from all over the world unwrapping their Lego gifts before being transported to another world.

‘This is not a Brick. It’s their wildest wishes,’ the voiceover says.

The campaign, created by Lego Agency, Lego’s recently renamed in-house team, will air in 36 markets. It will also include a Facebook chatbot called Ralph and an AR filter for children and their parents to play with. EH

2 November: Aldi brings back Kevin the Carrot, again

Aldi is teasing its Christmas marketing campaign for 2018, releasing a 40-second trailer that reveals its festive mascot, Kevin the Carrot, is back for the third time.

In the spot, created by McCann, Kevin is featured driving a lorry that looks suspiciously similar to the Coca-Cola Christmas truck. But he finds himself in trouble once again when the lorry is knocked off course by an avalanche, leaving Kevin teetering on the edge of a cliff.

Can Kevin survive to feature in another Christmas campaign next year? We can only hope so. SV

2 November: Amazon boxes sing Jackson Five

Amazon has brought its singing boxes back for a second year, giving their rendition of that renowned festive classic (…) Can You Feel It.

Throughout the ad – which will run in 30-, 60-, and 90-second spots – people (and dogs) who have “embraced the spirit of Christmas” are able to see the magic of the boxes come to life.

And for the first time, Amazon is letting its hardworking delivery drivers and warehouse workers see the boxes sing too.

The TV ad, created by Lucky Generals, will break in the UK on Saturday evening, before rolling out in the US and other countries thereafter. The campaign will also run online and across print and OOH. EH

2 November: Littlewoods ‘Own the Show’ big top festive fun

A circus show is the theme of Littlewoods’ Christmas 2018 ad, created by St Luke’s, in which a colourful cast of performers showcase some of the items shoppers can buy from this year – from gifts and electricals to decorations and festive fashions.

In the circus ring, inspired by the Littlewoods brand’s purple circle, a ringmaster mum puts on the year’s best show with Littlewoods backstage, helping her to deliver “everything that is needed to give her family the best Christmas”.

The 20-second spot, ‘Own The Show’, features a cover of the theme tune from the film ‘The Greatest Showman’ by Panic! At The Disco. It ends with the line: ‘Own the show with Littlewoods’, voiced by actress Jaime Winston.

“This year, Littlewoods has continued to focus on the proposition of ‘Own It’,” explains Ben Cooper, Littlewoods’ head of brand.

“Through the use of our circus, our ringmaster Mum owns the show with a little help from Littlewoods. We offer a huge range of brands that she can spread the cost on, interest free, and there’s no time of year this is more important to our customers than at Christmas.”

The campaign will run in two bursts until Christmas on TV, YouTube and social channels. EH

2 November: Barbour celebrates Snowman’s 40th birthday with bespoke film

Barbour and Penguin have joined forces to celebrate the 40th anniversary of beloved children’s classic The Snowman.

The campaign, made by The Corner London’s in-house production team, is a 110-second bespoke film using real-life people to to depict the impact that The Snowman has had on one family. Like the original film, its focus is on actions rather than words.

The film features the cast wearing a mix of Barbour product including classic styles alongside Barbour x The Snowman licensed product exclusively produced in partnership with Penguin for the 2018 festive season.

Paul Wilkinson, global marketing and commercial director, says: “We are delighted to be partnering with Penguin Ventures to celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Snowman. It is a classic and much loved story which has become an established part of family Christmas traditions.

“In our film, Evie’s enthusiasm and magical imagination really brings this story to life. It captures both the innocence of children and the nostalgia of adults. Everyone wants to believe that ‘Maybe just Maybe’, magic can happen.” EH

1 November: Fortnum & Mason unveils first Christmas film

Fortnum & Mason is celebrating having been around for more than three centuries’ worth of Christmases with its first ever festive film as part of its Masters of Merry campaign.

Looking to showcase the momentous change that has happened over the past 300 years, as well as celebrating the “merriment and magic” of Christmas, the 45 second film is a mix of original archive footage and live footage of Christmas products shot at Fortnum & Mason’s flagship Piccadilly store.

“This season has always been at the heart of Fortnum & Mason,” says Zia Zareem-Slade, customer experience director.

“The extraordinary food, the joy-giving gifts, the exceptional moments – the spirit of Christmas has been the catalyst in all that we do. And while many things will change in the next 300 years, Fortnum’s at Christmas is one thing that won’t. It’s a proud moment for the brand to see our spirit translated into film at Christmas – we hope it will resonate with customers old and new”.

The film, which has been directed by Aardman Animations of Wallace & Gromit fame, launches globally today and will be shown exclusively on digital and social channels. The Masters of Merry campaign will run across all channels. EH

1 November: Notonthehighstreet gets handsy with C4 and UKTV

British online retailer notonthehighstreet will sponsor a range of festive entertainment across Channel 4 and UKTV’s portfolio of channels until the end of the year, starting today.

Predicted to reach over 39.7 million adults, the partnership which runs until 31 December will deliver over 2,000 hours of sponsored programmes including Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas, The Simpsons and Gogglesprogs.

The nine unique idents, which have been created and produced by Drum and Nice Biscuits, show hands writing thoughtful notes and gift tags to loved ones, while also showcasing the range of products from small businesses available on notonthehighstreet.

Two notonthehighstreet partners, Amy Elson from Chambers and Beau and Laura Sayers from Laura Sayers Illustration, also feature in the ads, while the voice over is done by Shaun of the Dead actress Jessica Hynes.

“This year we wanted to approach our advertising in a different way,” says Ella D’Amato, Chief Commercial and Marketing Officer at notonthehighstreet.

“Partnering with C4 and UKTV allows us to engage with our audience repeatedly and at scale this Christmas around programmes we know they’re watching and enjoying with their families.”

The creative will also run across notonthehighstreet’s social channels from 2 November and at the curated pop-ups at Waterloo Station between 2 and 22 November and Westfield White City between 3 and 24 December. EH

1 November: Cineworld uses Mary Poppins to count down Christmas

Cineworld is hoping Mary Poppins will inspire families to go to the cinema this Christmas.

With both a cinema advert and digital advent calendar, the brand is aiming to encourage both parents and children to gift themselves with a trip to see a film.

The cinema advert, created by agency Twelve, shows a busy family at home during Christmas but the children become excited when they spot the silhouette of Mary Poppins flying to their home. On arrival she hands the parents the ‘perfect gift’ who then go out to the cinema while she looks after the children.

The ad pays homage to the iconic nanny and coincides with the new film Mary Poppins returns which will land in Cineworld cinemas on 21 December.

Head of marketing for Cineworld, Casey Cohen, says: “With a focus on brand storytelling and a pinch of inspiration from Mary Poppins, our advert is a heart-warming tale that will capture imaginations and celebrate Cineworld as the best place to watch a movie.”

Cineworld is also launching a digital advent calendar, starting on 1 December. Consumers will be able to count down virtually with each day revealing a variety of cinema related promos, including a ‘first look’ at film content and prizes from the Cineworld gift range, including an Unlimited card. MF

30 October: Girl fulfills space dreams after helps parents find the right gift

Parents are invited to do some future-gazing in’s Christmas campaign with a heart-warming video about finding the gift that helps children find their gift.

The animated film, created by St Luke’s, opens with a young girl playing with her toy rocket (that’s right, girls like rockets too) before following her journey through life as her interest in the universe and space travel grows.

Going for that ‘aww’ moment, the film ends with Elsie’s parents staring up into the stars as their astronaut daughter looks back down from space.

“The greatest gift you can give someone is the power to be whoever and whatever they want to be – and that’s what we’ve focused on this year,” says Sylvia Woon, chief marketing officer at parent company Shop Direct.

“Our ‘find their gift’ campaign aims to put Very at the heart of Christmas, inspiring consumers to give that one gift that could help a loved one realise their dreams.”

The multi-media campaign will run for two months and is backed by activity on digital channels, mobile, VOD, print and out-of-home advertising. The 30-second TV spot will appear within the X-Factor break on 3 November and on 6 November during a network spot within the Pride of Britain Awards. EH

30 October: The Christmas race begins at John Lewis and Waitrose

John Lewis

With less than two months to go, Waitrose customers are beginning to stock up on festive treats, with sales of mince pies up 38%, stollen up 22% and advent calendars up 40% this week.

Meanwhile, Gift Food sales at John Lewis rose by 14% and Christmas trees by 18%. EH

26 October: The Entertainer to sponsor This Morning

High street toy retailer The Entertainer will be sponsoring ITV’s This Morning and Phillip Schofield’s How To Spend It Well as part of a multichannel Christmas push.

The £1.5m campaign, which celebrates ‘Little Festive Moments’, includes the sponsorship and activation of the campaign across PR, social media and in-store marketing from the end of October.

Phil Geary, chief marketing officer at The Entertainer says: “Christmas is naturally a key time of the year for us.

“The sponsorship of these hugely popular TV programmes, which are loved by families across the UK, is a great opportunity for us to remain at the forefront of our customer minds, by reaching almost half of British parents as they prepare for the festive season. It’s also great to further strengthen the relationship we have with ITV following our CITV sponsorship.”

The investment follows The Entertainer’s mid-year results, which revealed a 25% increase in total sales, while online sales were up 21% year on year. EH

25 October: Shopkeepers sing Mariah in Visa’s Christmas ad

Did Christmas even happen if you didn’t drink too much mulled wine and wail Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas at the top of your lungs at least once?

Well now it’s the turn of real shopkeepers from across the UK to give their rendition of the festive classic in Visa’s 2018 Christmas campaign.

It is the first campaign Visa has launched during the Christmas ad season. With Christmas being one of the most important times of the year for small retailers, the ad aims to highlight the need to support the high street during the festive period.

Let’s hope Mariah can inject some much needed Christmas cheer into what has otherwise been a tough year for many retailers on the high street. EHh2>