Recipe for TV Advertising Success at Christmas in UK

Recipe for TV Advertising Success at Christmas in UK

Christmas adverts in UK have become so popular that their releases have become a national event. Companies such as John Lewis, Asda and Sky are bringing forward the release dates of their adverts every year in an attempt to gain the most coverage and attention. Think Management have put together some of the top Christmas adverts from 2015, but if you don’t have a multi-million pound budget, don’t worry, as we’ve also got some top tips of what you need to learn from these giants.
John Lewis – ‘Man on the Moon’

Released on the 6th of November, at 6pm, ‘Man on the Moon’ is John Lewis’s latest Christmas advert. The story follows a little girl called Lily, who spots a lonely old man on the moon through her telescope. John Lewis produced this video in partnership with AgeUK to raise awareness of loneliness amongst older people. Nearly 23 million people have viewed the advert on YouTube.

Aldi – ‘Favourite Things’ and ‘Telescope Advert’

Aldi’s Christmas advert was also released on the 6th of November this year. They created a festive version of ‘favourite things’ from the Sound of Music. Since it was released, it has had nearly 250 thousand views on YouTube. However, on the 25th of November Aldi released a second advert about telescopes which is a parodied reference to John Lewis’s Christmas ad. Due to the humorous nature, Aldi’s ‘telescope advert’ spread round social media in lightning speed, and now has over 2 million views.

Asda – ‘Because it’s Christmas’

The Christmas advert contribution from Asda was released on the 1st November (even Asda admit it was a bit early this year!). The advert is fun and energetic, and really sets the mood for some festive fun. To date it has received nearly 350,000 likes on YouTube.

Sky – ‘Christmas Advert’

The Advert from Sky Movies was released on the 5th November and has nearly 2.5 million views. The main character is a young girl called Rosie, who is transported through different magical movie worlds to try and finish the sprouts from her plate.

Sainsbury’s – ‘Mog the Cat’

Sainsbury’s ‘Mog the Cat’ Christmas Advert is one of the most view adverts of this year, with over 25 million views on YouTube! (That’s 2 million more that John Lewis!). The advert is in partnership with UK charity ‘Save the Children’ who work to improve literacy of children in the UK. Sainsburies were a bit later than their competitors this year as they didn’t release the advert until the 12th November.

So, what do all of these Christmas adverts have in common and how are they all so successful? Although money does have a big part to play, it’s not the only variable.

A Simple Story Told Well

Christmas is one of the few times of the year when old fashioned things become ‘in fashion’ and when people forget the complexity, and enjoy a time which has been left practically unaltered for decades.  If you look at Christmas adverts from all big players over the years you will see the same old messages being repeated year in year out – and that’s because they work. Sean Kinmount, founding partner at creative agency 23Red says “Having a consistent core message each year is something smaller brands can learn from larger ones at Christmas, Marks & Spencer’s ‘Magic and Sparkle’ is a great example”.

A Memorable Soundtrack

You don’t have to spend thousands on the next up and coming artist to create a memorable soundtrack to your advert (although that certainly would help). Reduce any diegetic sounds and overlay them for something that is more memorable in consumers’ minds. The next time they hear the song or music, they might think of you again.


Whether is cheerfulness and merriness, gratefulness, or loneliness; you can’t think about Christmas with thinking about emotions. None of the big retailers used their Christmas adverts to tell consumers about the functional benefits of their products, they used them to show emotions and how their brand could change or heighten these emotions. Imposing a Santa hat and reindeer antlers on to your existing form of advert isn’t going to cut the mustard (or turkey!).

Support for Charities

Christmas is a time for helping the less fortunate. John Lewis and Sainsbury’s (coincidentally (?) 2 of the most popular and viewed adverts of 2015) did just that with their partnerships to AgeUK and Save The Children. They partnered with nationwide charities because their brands cover the scope, but for companies who are still regional bound, partnering with a smaller, regional based charity can still form a great basis for your festive offering.