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The festive season is almost upon us – which means it’s time for advertisers to up their budgets and start producing shiny snow-covered campaigns again. This Christmas Marc Lewis, the highly-revered creative mind who leads the School of Communications Arts London, will review (in his opinion) the merits of some of the biggest brands' seasonal spots with a creative eye, separating the Christmas crackers from the turkeys.

One of the things that really grinds me up about Christmas adverts is that they almost all show scenes with snowy landscapes.  I’m 45 years old and you could count the number of white Christmases I’ve lived through on one hand.

With global warming, it would be more honest to throw in a couple of beach scenes.

That’s exactly what TK Maxx has done in its Christmas commercial from Wieden+Kennedy. Yes, there are some snowy scenes at the beginning of the film, but we get to see all seasons in this story.  Why?  Because, finally, I get the chance to review a Christmas commercial with a big idea at the core, made by a real agency.  The only other commercial that has received a positive review from me so far was produced in-house by Lego.

The big idea is that TK Maxx has hidden some extra-long stockings in stores and online. If you find one, you get presents all year round. Christmas every day.  What’s not to like about that?  It smacks of understanding the TK Maxx customer.  It looks nothing like any other Christmas commercial.  It’s almost as if it was made by some of my alumni.

Ahem.

One of the problems with advertising is that it has become so formulaic. This advert breaks rules while maintaining an emotional connection with its audience.

Another issue with advertising is that it looks like it was made by committee, made for research, made to keep the client.  This spot has the creative team’s personality woven into every frame, being witty, intelligent, playful, and down-to-earth.

Will it be the best Christmas ad this year?  I hope not; I still have plenty to review and I want to believe that we can do better.

But this commercial makes me proud to teach.  After watching the shite from Argos, Asda and Amazon  (that’s just the ‘A’s), it’s so gratifying to watch something with an idea at the heart, with personality at the core and funny bones all the way through.

Score out of 5?    

4.25

Keep up with The Drum's 2018 Christmas coverage here.