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Christmas TV ads – is Kevin the Carrot still fresh? Can Tesco deliver?

This time of year really serves to remove any doubt that TV advertising still gets noticed and still makes an impact.  From late November onwards we’re all talking about this season’s Christmas TV ads.

Our Creative Director, Tim says:

Ding dong merrily on high…it’s that time again when marketing departments of well-known retailers and supermarkets say “You know what, to hell with it, it’s Christmas! Spend as much as you like on TV production and airtime. We want to get noticed, talked about, loved! If that involves farm animals wearing designer outfits, people turning into Christmas trees or a singing oven glove – then so be it. Just one thing. If we’re going to spend a Santa’s sack full of money on our advert we want to hear our tills jingling in return”. No pressure there then. For me, the ads that might just put a smile on the clients face this year as well as the nation’s are TK Maxx, Lidl and Boots.

So which festive ads stand out this year?

Love them or hate them, pretty much everyone has an opinion on this year’s clutch of Christmas TV ads. So what is our team’s take on the year’s festive offerings?

The Tesco ad generally received the AJ thumbs up for being wholesome and just on the right side of sentimental without being nauseatingly twee. However, one team member did remark that is was “a bit invasion of the body snatchers”.

The response to the John Lewis ad was much more lukewarm. Someone rightly pointed out that now the John Lewis Christmas ad has become a “thing” the retailer is under pressure to produce something that “wows”. The feeling is that this year, they missed the mark but it is an ad that becomes more enjoyable after a few views. If you don’t quite “get it” yet give it a few watches and you might come around.

Aldi’s effort also fell short.The general feeling was that whilst “Kevin the Carrot” did the business a couple of years ago we’re all just a bit bored of poor Kevin in 2023. However, someone did especially appreciate the river of gravy…

Universally loved was the TK Maxx advert. As one team member succinctly put it “who doesn’t love a duck in slippers, it actually made me laugh out loud”. The TK Maxx ad really nails it with all the ingredients for a festive hit. Genuinely warm humour, check. Clear messaging, check. Funky music, check. Hedgehog in a bobble hat, check. 

So which Christmas TV ad takes the number one spot this year?

It’s safe to say, like the general public we didn’t reach a consensus on which ad was the “best” but that doesn’t really matter. After all, a good Christmas ad doesn’t need to be universally loved (although that helps!) but it does need to stand out from the crowd, grab attention and give consumers something to think about. 

So does a John Lewis’ Venus fly trap make you hoot with laughter or do you find yourself just a bit confused? Does the Tesco ad warm your heart or leave you cold? Whatever your opinion, for many of us Christmas TV advertising joins the Snowman and the Kings Speech as traditional festive viewing. Personally, it’s not Christmas for me until I see that Famous Grouse sauntering across my TV screen.

If you’d like to find out more about TV advertising, get in touch or read our blog piece here.