Christmas is a time for many things. Good things, like autoresponder emails, past-midnight celebrations, and belly-aching laughter. But Christmas is also fair game for not-so-good things, like awkward family get-togethers, gifts that will be returned by January, and so, so much leftover ham that tastes like stale fridge.
So, in honor of the holiday spirit and all the last-minute shopping that will happen today as traffic clogs up the LIE, let’s take a look at 7 brands that put their best foot forward for British Christmas commercials. Because who wants to focus on the blandish American ones? Here’s to hoping we can take away something actionable from these cross-the-ponders in 2014! Happy Holidays, everyone.
1. KFC “Xmas Come Together”
“I almost tore your hair out / for the last doll in the store.” That’s the first line of this 2.5 minute long KFC jingle – and it’s every bit as hilarious as you’d expect. Long videos are hard to pull off, but KFC does it with aplomb by mixing original lyrics, great production value, and enough silliness to keep you through the whole thing. “‘Cause one of everybody’s vices is eleven herbs and spices.” You feel me?
2. Confused.com “Socks” and “Linda Photocopier”
It’s hard to outdo Geico and its monopoly of silly and irreverent car insurance commercials, but Publicis London is doing its best to take up the torch on behalf of Confused.com with their very own confused robot mascot, Brian. Do these commercials have anything at all to do with saving money? Don’t be ridiculous – the whole point is to make you remember “Confused.com.” And these 10-second shorts do that perfectly.
3. Aldi “Chocolate Reindeer”
Another brilliant short involves Aldi’s adorable sneaky gift-giver, who explains in a whisper to the camera that his sister likes both Aldi’s 120g chocolate reindeer (.99p) and Lindt’s 100g chocolate reindeer (£2.00). Without bashing Lindt, Aldi’s little spokesman compares prices and explains that his sister would probably just like a chocolate egg better, and tosses it into her Christmas stocking while keeping the reindeer for himself. Fancy that! A commercial that shows why you’re better than the competition without bashing them. Smart.
4. Cadbury’s “Unwrap Joy”
Cadbury’s famous purple wrapping covers an entire, quiet town in their latest minute-long offering. The houses, the cars, the streetlights – everything is covered up. Can you guess what happens next? Kids burst out of the doors and joyfulling tear everything down, of course. Sure, equating the unwrapping of a Cadbury egg with the abandonment of stress and the embracement of fun during the holidays is a stretch, but this is just brilliant.
5. M&S “Christmas 2013”
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley has never looked so good in this Ozian romp through Wonderland. There’s nothing amazing about the script for this commercial, but it’s a perfect example of how great production value and good casting can hold an audience spellbound. As we follow Rosie through the familiar landscapes of Oz (and wonder why there’s a magic carpet with an Aladdin-like hunk on it, or why the lion is a poofy-haired Chinese lady), we hardly need a reason to keep watching. At the very end, M&S pulls us back in with a reminder that they spent tons of money to make this commercial with a guest appearance by Helena Bonham Carter as the Wicked Witch. And we go, “Wait…what’s M&S?” Mission complete.
6. Morrison’s “Go on…it’s Christmas”
Regardless of whether Beauty And The Beast is your favorite Disney movie, you’ve undoubtedly seen it and know the melody of “Be Our Guest.” Morrison takes advantage of this familiarity and pulls of their own glorious gingerbread man rendition. Yet another example of great production value carrying the production – this is just too fun not to watch.
7. John Lewis “The Bear and the Hare”
Christmas is second only to the Superbowl in terms of cash-cow commercials in the US, but it’s probably the biggest yearly marketing expense for British companies, and it shows. John Lewis’s charming 2-minute animation does just about everything right. It has mood-setting music, a compelling narrative without words, and cute characters that keep your interest. At the very end, the big reveal ties back into the company, and any Scrooge who hasn’t bought presents yet will feel pretty compelled to do so – and at a discount retailer.