Whilst Christmas this year may end up being very different to those we are used to, one constant that never fails to get people in the festive spirit are Christmas ads. From Amazon to Asda, TK Maxx to Pepsi Max, and of course the eagerly anticipated John Lewis ad. Companies are becoming more creative when it comes to marketing for Christmas in order to stand out from the bustling crowd.

Today festive campaigns of course run across multiple channels, both digital and offline. However, with fewer in-person shoppers and commuters, this year’s activity is likely to take a digital focus.

Christmas shoppers may not be battling down Oxford Street this year and most are likely to opt for the digital route, but marketing this year is bringing nostalgia and comfort in a bid to making it feel like a Christmas to remember.

Here is a selection of the best ads to come out so far for Christmas 2020.

Argos – An evening with AbracaDaisy & The Incredible Lucy 

With music from Gary Barlow, Argos turns up the nostalgia this year with memories of flicking through the Argos catalogue in search of the perfect present. The gift chosen is a ‘box of tricks’ which brings the entertainment to the front room with an unbelievable magic show, pulling the magic ‘book of dreams’ Argos catalogue from a hat at the end.

Ironically, physical copies of the Argos catalogue were discontinued this year after almost 50 years in print, with 70% of their sales now coming from online purchasers. Their Christmas ad pays a nostalgic tribute to the ‘book of dreams’, making not just the kids, but adults, want to flick through the catalogue for something they would like under the tree.

Amazon – The show must go on 

Following the story of a young ballet dancer whose performance gets cancelled due to Coronavirus, this advert shows friends and family working together to ensure her performance is not missed, creating an outside show with posters, a homemade costume, and a torch bought from Amazon to use as a spotlight.

The underlying message from Amazon is that whilst we may face setbacks this year, we should still look out for those close to us and the community.

John Lewis & Waitrose – Give a little love 2020

For the past few years, the John Lewis & Partners Christmas ad has consistently been the one everyone waits for, but this year they have taken a different spin on things. Gone is the popstar covering a much-loved song of old and in are the local Waitrose staff. But the message this year is even more prominent, detailing their new ‘Give a little love’ work with two charities: FairShare, helping those facing food poverty; and Home-Start, working with parents who need support. To support these charities John Lewis & Partners will be matching donations up to £2 million and donating when a MyWaitrose or JL card is swiped. They will also be selling a range of limited-edition products where all profits are donated, and they have a fund of £1 million to give to those most in need in the local community. A truly great gesture to promote a sense of community during the holiday season, especially one as turbulent as this.

TK Maxx – The Lil’ Goat 

Conveying a lighthearted mention of the tough year we have all had, TK Maxx believe everyone deserves something special this festive period. The Lil’ Goat strutting in the snow in beret and cravat whilst proud farmer, Gary, looks on saying ‘she blooming well deserves it’ after ‘such a hard year’, gives a comical and relatable message that will resonate with most.

At the end of the ad the Lil’ Goat knocks the TK Maxx sign, changing it to TK Maxx.com, encouraging users to shop online rather than instore.

Very – Christmas is this Very moment 

A flippant take on the usual wholesome Christmas story, Very reminds us of the little habits of Christmas that we are all guilty of at some point. From judging the neighbours on their over-the-top Christmas lights, to taking a peak at a present ‘accidently’ found at the back of the wardrobe.

A quick glimpse of the Very app shows the viewer how easy it is to sort out presents for friends and family (and postie), without leaving your home.

Understandably when the availability of bricks and mortar retail over the key shopping period is doubtful at best, there is a focus on ecommerce running throughout these executions. It’s likely that, even where a significant broadcast investment is made, online media will play a major part of campaign delivery.

Grant Hilborne, Media Executive