Retail TV ads – The race for top spot at Christmas


It’s become tradition for major retail companies to see who can put out the best Christmas Television Ad year on year, to top the rest. Some of the most popular ads we’ve seen so far include those from John Lewis, Sainsburys and Coca Cola, all receiving millions of views on YouTube within their first month of release. However now more and more companies have joined the race and are starting to put more time and effort into their adverts to compete with these retailers to come out on top. With only 1 month to go until Christmas, most companies have already released their Christmas adverts, so let’s take a look…

John Lewis

‘Moz the Monster’

The number one Christmas advert this year so far comes from John Lewis. The advert called ‘Moz the Monster’ tells the story of a monster living under a child’s bed, and gained 7.3 Million views on YouTube within the first four days of it airing. John Lewis seems to always come on top with its Christmas adverts, with last years receiving 21.5 million views on YouTube within the first month of it being released, beating all other retailers in 2016. Last year’s advert was highly anticipated, and it seems it was the same this year, with people getting very excited to see what the company creates this year. However there has been some mixed reviews for Moz with some people saying they’re unsure of the concept, it wasn’t Christmassy enough or didn’t pull on the heart strings enough. You can buy Moz the Monster related merch from John Lewis, from books to pyjamas, so not only is John Lewis promoting their normal products, but they have also been able to sell new merchandise made specifically for this advert.

Marks and Spencer

Paddington & The Christmas Visitor

The second best advert this year goes to M&S with their advert ‘Paddington & The Christmas Visitor’. The advert shows Paddington inadvertently come across a burglar who he mistakes for Santa Claus and helps him deliver what he believed to be his Christmas presents, instead unknowingly returning all the presents the man just stole, which afterwards seems to bring the burglar much happiness and he appreciates it. With the recent film Paddington 2 being released in the UK on the 10th of November it seems like M&S has jumped on this bandwagon and teamed up with Paddington to make a Christmas advert that really pulls on the heart strings. Many companies use these endorsed advert techniques in order to appeal to a wider audience with people who like the ‘celebrity’ buying from companies just because they are associated with them. In this case Paddington is a family friendly film that both adults and children enjoy, so makes this a great endorsement for M&S and this marketing technique seemed to work for them as they received 5.4 million views on YouTube within a week of posting the video.


 Kevin the Carrot

An unlikely contender entered the race for best Christmas advert this year with Aldi’s new Christmas advert receiving 1.9 million views within a week. Last year Aldi introduced ‘Kevin the Carrot’ on his quest to meet Santa. They also released a much shorter, 26-second advert of Kevin sitting at home waiting to watch the new John Lewis Christmas advert, which only received 119, 339 views on YouTube, but received a lot of great comments with most finding the tongue in cheeky humour very funny. With the success of Kevin, Aldi decided to have him return for this year’s advert, which followed his journey to find love. Both adverts were narrated by award winning actor Jim Broadbent. Last year Aldi managed to boost its Christmas sales by 15%, so this year with the success of the new advert they should be expecting to boost it even more.


Every bit of Christmas

Sainsburys have been a contender for the best Christmas advert for a good few years now and this year is no different. With their heart felt war advert in 2015 and their stop motion advert last year which received 13.4 million views in the first month, they were expected to bring big things this year. Their ‘Every bit of Christmas’ advert this year has raked in 1.3 million views on YouTube after just one day and uses real people and some pets celebrating Christmas, with the video going viral on social media sites such as Facebook, so the statistics make it appear that this is their best advert yet. Nevertheless, viewers are split, some saying they enjoyed the down to earth nature of it, but quite a few people saying they are left disappointed by the video as it didn’t tell a story and wasn’t what they expected.


You shall find your fairy-tale Christmas

This year Debenhams opted for a modern Cinderella story in their new Christmas advert ‘You Shall Find Your Fairytale Christmas’, where a beautiful woman loses a shoe and a handsome man begins a hunt to find her and return the shoe. The advert even features a famous Hollywood actor Ewan McGregor who is mainly narrating the whole advert. Their advert this year received 1.2 million views within 4 days, which is significantly higher than their advert last year that only received 244, 136 views overall, so Debenhams have really stepped up their game this year and are now in the running with the other well known contenders for the best Christmas advert.


Get more out of giving

Very’s ‘Get More Out of Giving’ advert follows a little girl and her journey to hand out all of her Christmas gifts, enlisting the help of a wolf to deliver her gift to Father Christmas. When the girl loses the gift in a river the wolf jumps in to save it but ends up going over the cliff. Later on, we see the wolf, who is now just a toy floating in the river with Santa picking it up and gifting it back to the girl on Christmas. Group Director of Shop Direct that operates Very said that the advert created 12 months to make, with 30 people working on the animation. This shows the extent that some companies go to, to get a great Christmas advert and in this case, it seems to have paid off with more than 1.2 million people watching it on YouTube in less that 2 weeks, with some people saying it is the best Christmas advert of the year so far.


Ready for take off

Argos fork out every year to create a great Christmas advert to show of their Christmas spirit and promote their business. This year their advert ‘Ready for take off’ gained 1.1 million views in the first two weeks and shows the elf’s distribution service, when one quick thinking elf finds a present that has been left behind and goes above and beyond to make sure the present was delivered on time. This advert is promoting Argos’ commitment to speedy delivery and fast track delivery service. This year Argos are also hosting a competition where the winners will see their children’s image staring in the advert for an entire day in November.



Focusing on community, Waitrose’s Christmas advert #ChristmasTogether starts with a very snowy scene of a village who get snowed into the local pub for Christmas day. Instead of all getting upset, they start to all work together to create an amazing Christmas meal and when they just go to sit down and eat just as two people barge into the pub having dug a path to let the people out, but no one wants to leave. The advert was created by the same people who did John Lewis’ ‘Moz the Monster’ advert this year and raked in around 914, 000 views in 3 days.


Show them you know them

In Boots new Christmas advert ‘Show them you know them’ we see two sisters in present day exchanging gifts, before flashing back to when they were younger, showing clips of them laughing, playing, fighting and hugging throughout the years. The advert received 520,164 views within the first 4 days, with many saying it is a great advert, whilst others are left wondering what was in the box that left one sister so happy.

Heathrow Airport

Heathrow Bears

A Late entry to the mix is Heathrow airport with their ‘Heathrow Bears’ advert. They first used these bears in 2016, showing an old couple’s journey home for Christmas. This year we see how these bears met and follow them throughout their lives. The advert has already got almost 300,000 views on YouTube after 3 days of being posted and many people saying that this advert is their favourite, so this advert has been set to be a great contender for the best Christmas advert this year.


‘Asda Christmas Imaginarium’ 

Asda’s advert ‘Asda Christmas Imaginarium’ has a Willy Wonka feel to it, as we follow a girl with her grandfather as they sneak through a food factory, that does sweet treats and party nibbles to full blown meals and gin. Although Asda received significantly lower views than some adverts with only around 122,748 in the first two weeks, it is being praised as a great Christmas advert that many people are enjoying. In addition to the full 60 second ad, Asda are releasing four more 30 second adverts that will reveal more mysteries of the ‘Asda Imaginarium’.

The race to the top spot is so important to retail companies, as it gives them a chance to gain a piece of the billions of pounds we spend in the UK every year, with last year hitting a new record of 77.56 billion pounds spent over Christmas. The Christmas adverts are greatly anticipated and if a company gets it right it can really help increase their revenue over the festive period, which has been proven by many large companies increasing their amount of sales during this time significantly.



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