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This Festive Season’s Viewing Treats

Every brand has the potential of telling an engaging festive season story and many advertisers do rise to the occasion by providing some of the best commercials to be viewed in any given year. Early indications would suggest that this year will no different.

1. John Lewis & Partners, The Boy and The Piano

Advertising Agency: adam&eveDDB, London

This is the agency’s tenth festive season campaign for John Lewis and as in previous years, it has been eagerly awaited by viewers of all ages.

Directed by Seb Edwards, the excellently crafted storyline of the commercial is about the power a thoughtful, loving Christmas gift has to be inspiringly formative, and even influence a young child’s future direction in life.

The commercial stars Elton John who looks back to that Christmas morning in his youth when he received a special gift that changed his life.

He described the commercial as; “a lovely opportunity for me to reflect on my life in music and the incredible journey I have been on, and how first playing a piano marks the moment when music came into my life. The ad is absolutely fantastic and I’ve truly loved every minute of being a part of it”.

In the spirit of Christmas gift offerings, Elton donated a generous portion of his fee to the Elton John Charitable Trust.

2. Apple, Share Your Gifts

Advertising Agency: TBWA/Media Arts Lab, Los Angeles, USA

Animation Company: Buck Studios, USA

Apple’s latest commercial is a charming story for the festive season about a young girl who is shy about revealing her creativity.

The superb animation is backed by a great soundtrack of the song ‘Come Out and Play’, composed for the commercial, by 16-year-old musician Billie Eilish.

3. Apple, Making of Share Your Gifts

Animation Company: Buck Studios, USA

Buck is a commercial production company with offices in Los Angeles, New York and Sydney, Australia. Their highly creative studios consist of an international collective of directors, producers, digital artists, graphic designers, illustrators and animators.

The ‘Making of Share Your Gifts’ is a fascinating ‘behind-the-scenes’ look at the meticulous planning, the painstaking construction of stunning miniature sets and hand-crafted miniature props.

The production crew’s collective sharing of their creative gifts is a fitting metaphor for the commercial’s thematic ode to creativity.

4. Sainsbury’s, The Big Night

Advertising Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, London, UK

Sainsbury’s, the British supermarket chain’s charming new festive season commercial was directed by Michael Gracy.

The story about a group of children performing in a Christmas school play is wonderfully crafted and a visual delight to watch.

A young girl takes center stage with a ‘star’ performance of the song You Get What You Give’ by the nineties American alternative rock band, the ‘New Radicals’.

5. Sainsbury’s, Meet the Kids Behind The Big Night

Planning for the commercial started in January this year and this ‘look behind the scenes’ of the children involved and their amazing enthusiasm during the long process of costume fittings and rehearsals, is the biggest viewing treat of all for me.

6. Bouygues Telecom, Groovy Dad

Advertising Agency: BETC, Paris, France

This festive season commercial for Bouygues Telecom, a Paris based mobile network operator and internet service provider, was directed by Martin Werner.

The story about a new smartphone Christmas gift to a caring Dad who loves to ’groove’ to Redbone’s ‘Come and get your love’ from the Marvel Studio ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ movie soundtrack, is a fresh and amusing generational story that is highly watchable.

7. KFC Christmas, The Crossroads

Advertising Agency: Mother, London

Roast turkey is the traditional Christmas meal offering in Britain but in truth it is not a great family favourite and secretly roast chicken would probably have been the preferred family choice.

As one of the posters in this integrated campaign insightfully reads; ‘The trick to enjoying Christmas turkey? Lowering your expectations’.

Directed by Nicolai Fuglsig, the ‘Crossroads’ commercial is an amusing Western-style parody featuring the theme music from Ennio Morricone’s classic Western “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” as the soundtrack.

The two protagonists are of course, a chicken and a Christmas turkey and the winner of the face-off can probably be easily guessed.

As Hermeti Balarin, partner at Mother, reminds us : “There’s only one day of the year in which you can’t get your favorite fried chicken at KFC. And that’s the 25th of December. Chicken rules the roost on the other 364 days.”

8. PayPal, Introducing Uncle Awesome

Advertising Agency: Buzzman, Paris, France

Directed by Martin Kalina, the commercial is part of an integrated multimedia campaign planned for more than 15 European countries.

The story is about a traditional family Christmas gathering and the arrival of an uncle who is notorious for his boorish behaviour.

The said uncle, who also habitually provides thoughtless Christmas gifts that are always cringingly inappropriate and everyone dreads opening, is observed by his young nice with a critical and disdainful eye.

Is it possible that this year, despite his lamentable presence yet again, things will be different?