christmasads

Supermarket sweep: the winning festive retail spot

Amplify's creative director Jordan Dale reviews the retail ads of Christmas 2022...

To read the original article, published on 19th December 2022, visit The Drum.

Not done your Christmas shop yet? Amplify's creative director Jordan Dale reviews the retail ads of Christmas 2022, from unattainable bears through to the ones that'll have the foodies running to the aisles.

John Lewis

A topic that goes untalked about being brought to the biggest Christmas storytelling stage in the UK - a big win in my eyes. Done in a way only John Lewis can, taking full advantage of their insanely engaged viewing history.

Asda

Even the Grinch cracked a smile watching this film. In a time where others are trying to sidestep around the multiple crises that we’re dealing with in the run up to this christmas, this spot just reminds us to take the time to be merry. And I'm 1000% here for it. I enjoyed the behind-the-scenes film just as much as the ad itself. A simple idea, executed incredibly well.

Tesco

What ASDA does to lift our heads above the clouds into a joyous merry place, Tesco somewhat brings us back down to reality. The rallying cry is an attempt to let the nation know “it’s all going to be alright”, but personally, when it comes to this christmas ad season, I’m just looking for entertainment to keep the brand top of mind, rather than being talked to about ‘budget-busting’ prices.

Sainsbury's

A nice story that clearly goes after those festive foodies looking to create a little magic in the kitchen this Christmas. It’s charming, simple, entertaining, but get’s the message across. I like it.

Aldi

Home Alone is one of my top 3 Christmas movies, so Kevin the Carrot had a lot to live up to in my eyes. And it does, to an extent. Maybe I’m falling out of love with Kevin a little bit - I hate to compare carrots to elves, but when you put the two ‘movie-inspired’ spots next to each other, ASDA clearly comes out on top. But bonus points for getting a phallic joke into a UK Christmas ad.

Lidl

The ad itself is a tried-and-tested filmic technique of “rapid-rise-to-fame-story”, with all the usual visual cues to modern day success. And it’s a clearly self aware execution that owns the fact it’s using this technique - which I like. But what I love the most about the spot is how badly it makes you want to buy that bear, followed by the refusal of Lidl to sell it, coupled with pushing people towards donating to those who need it most.

Amazon

Being a native New Zealander, I have to rein in my bias towards Taika Waititi directed films. The thing that I love (and no one else probably cares about) is seeing a cast of NZ actors in a very NZ style home being in a global ad. The thing I find hard to get excited about is the ‘global-ness’ of the film. The lack of dialogue and the mute pointing/gesturing to guide the narrative along at first goes unnoticed, but by the end of the 2 and half minutes has me gasping for some sort of voice. Regardless, it’s a lovely simple story.

M&S Food

Never been a Dawn French fan, so never going to be a fan of her character. Sorry M&S - it’s not you, it’s me.

M&S Clothing

A feel good spot for a feel good cause. Not a hugely engaging narrative, but I come away from it feeling good about what M&S are doing this year with their Neighbourly partnership. Albeit not the seasonal, smile-inducing highs of an ASDA or a Sainsbury’s, it focuses on bringing the good vibes - which I like.

THE WINNER: Pretty clear front runner - ASDA and its perfectly crafted charm. Turning nostalgia into now-stalgia, and making me feel good about the supermarket’s approach to the holiday season. It’s what everyone needs this year, and without sounding too Groundhog Day with ‘we need a bit of joy after the year we’ve had and the year we’ve got ahead”... we really bloody do. And seeing Will Ferrell prance around a supermarket lights my christmas pud on fire.