What makes a great Christmas Advert? | h2o | Creative Communications Ltd.
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What makes a great Christmas Advert?

What makes a great Christmas advert?

What makes a great Christmas Advert?

A few years ago we took a look at exactly what it was that made Christmas adverts, and in particular John Lewis’s, so powerful. Since then, adverts have only got bigger with more brands taking part, with Disney, Marks & Spencer and Boots all vying with John Lewis for that coveted spot of best Christmas advert of the year.

With bigger budgets, star studded casts and a whole heap of anticipation each year encouraging viewers to engage from friends tagging you to your Mum sharing it on the family WhatsApp group. 

We’ve seen many brands launch their adverts earlier than ever this year with an eye on global supply chain issues, fuel and driver shortages, with Very releasing theirs 85 days before the big day. If you’re interested in taking a look at this years ads from all the big brands around the world, take a look at this comprehensive article from the Retail Gazette.

Here we take a look at what makes Christmas adverts such a key part of big brands’ Xmas marketing plans.

Emotional appeal

Christmas is most peoples favourite time of the year, and Christmas adverts mark the start of the festivities. Provoking emotions for children and adults alike, tugging on your heart strings and filling you with warm fuzzy feelings. Cultural references and stirring festive memories of your childhood will always win hearts and minds. The stronger the emotional appeal, the better the virality.

Tell a good story

Everybody loves being taken on a journey, the emotional backstory where it looks like all hope is lost, only for the magic of Christmas to come along and save the day, giving you that warm fuzzy feeling. It’s much easier said than done though, and doesn’t always work in the way that brands imagine. 

M&S Christmas Advert 2021 - Percy Pig

Spread Some Christmas cheer

Eliciting feelings of happiness and warmth, after all that’s what Christmas is all about! Some brands have moved away from the solely emotional, tugging on the heart strings angle, and have introduced some humour to their campaigns. Everyone loved Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot and their spoof John Lewis campaigns generated twice the social engagement than their own Christmas campaign in 2015. And don’t be negative – it’s the season of goodwill and no one likes a scrooge!


No matter how emotional the story is or how much it makes you laugh, a good soundtrack will always take it to the next level. Once the classic Coca-Cola ‘Holidays are coming’ advert is in your head, you’ll be repeating it over and over (sorry about that!). The lyrics alone are a symbol that Christmas is fast approaching and of course, everyone knows it’s Coca-Cola!

One brand that generally get this spot on is John Lewis, from Tom Odell’s Real Love accompanying Monty the Penguin and Gabrielle Aprin’s cover of The Power of Love in 2012 and everything in between helping the well known brand be the one that everyone waits for year after year.

Harry Stephens