It’s that time of year again!

Dec 22, 2020 / Industry Insights / FOTW

This article was written by Marlon Griffin, Creative Director @ FOTW

The goose is getting fat, jack frost is knocking at the door and we’re getting hit by the 2020 crop of Xmas ads.

Now I love this time of year, time at home with the fam, great TV, the promise of pressies (usually sensible socks these days)…

…and the adverts get interesting with big ideas and emotive stories which regrettably we don’t get enough of throughout the year.

This year is no different, but whereas it once seemed John Lewis had supremacy and owned this time of year, at least on TV, the title now seems up for grabs with more and more big brands throwing their hats into the ring.

I’ll be honest – I think the John Lewis advert is a bit beige this year. Not one to remember.

‘Give a little love’

Maybe it’s because there isn’t one strong storyline to emotively connect with? There is no boy & a penguin, no girl and a dragon, but rather a mish mash of different animation techniques with an underlying message that a little bit of kindness goes a long way.

I think the biggest issue is that after the year we’ve all had in 2020, it feels like this advert is out of touch. This advert could have run last year, or next. There is no real cultural relevance, reflecting ‘this Christmas’. I’m sure there could have been a much stronger & emotive story which could have been zoned in on to reflect kindness in 2020. Maybe a story about a kid who couldn’t hang out with his Grandad, who could only communicate through the glass window? Or the daughter of a mum on the frontline? There are just so many powerful scenes we’ve seen supporting the notion of kindness & helping strangers this year that it just feels like a missed opportunity.

On the other hand, Tesco have weighed in with an absolute Christmas Cracker!

‘No Naughty List’

This very much reflects this year, it’s culturally relevant and could not be shown last year or next. It’s right now and on the money, but what’s most amazing is that it’s managed to find humour in the pandemic. And it’s actually funny! Not ‘advertising’ funny, but genuinely funny. There’s nothing more British than self-deprecating humour, in fact we are proud of it, and here the lens is firmly turned back on ourselves as we see how we’ve navigated our way through lock-down. (Hands up who bought two family packs of Loo roll?)

With the antidote for Covid now being rolled out things are looking up, so let’s get this year wrapped up like some crappy stocking fillers, and let’s get excited about 2021! (I won’t mention Brexit)

So, to end on a positive note I thought I’d also include my favourite Xmas advert from recent times. There have been so many great pieces of work, but when I thought about which advert I’d watched again and again and never got bored in the slightest – There was only one. An advert that hit that magical stratosphere of becoming more than an advert. It became ‘ENTERTAINMENT’. An advert that actually left you feeling like you’d had an Xmas treat when it came on by surprise in the Ad break. Yes, I’m talking about last years Xmas Ikea advert. Enjoy!

‘Silence the Critics’

On that note I wish you all a safe Merry Xmas and Happy New Year!!

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