Christmas ads 2016: The different approaches to brand storytelling

Christmas ads brand storytelling 2016

Can you believe it’s that crazy time of year again? Once again the big brands are fighting to stay top of mind and relevant.

For retail brands, this is the key time of the year where they need to enhance their connection with their customers to stay top of mind and maximise their share of wallet. It’s also become quite a competition between the big UK retailers for who can deliver the most talked about ad.

Here’s our selection of some of this season’s ads. Who do you think does best in delivering engaging Christmas brand storytelling?

Aldi Australia – Nothing beats the perfect Aussie Christmas

The German supermarket chain manages to find the perfect way to connect with the Aussie spirit of Christmas by highlighting how we do things differently down under.

M&S – Christmas with love from Mrs Claus

The British retailer mixes things up this year by focusing on the work of Mrs Claus. While Aldi has a laugh at the expense of Americans, M&S slips in a little dig at Aussies – as if we can be easily forgotten!

John Lewis – Buster The Boxer

Famous for their Christmas ads, John Lewis seems to have polarised its fans this year by not being Christmassy enough. There’s plenty of cute animals and a snowy backdrop but this doesn’t appear to be enough for some as Santa doesn’t make an appearance. Despite this, it is still one of the most talked about ads of the season.

If nothing else, the John Lewis ad is worth it for the many parodies it’s inspired, including this one starring Obama, Clinton and Trump.

Waitrose – Home for Christmas

According to some, Waitrose has trumped many of the usual suspects for this year’s best Christmas ad, at least in the UK. The ad tells the story of a courageous robin who undertakes an epic journey home to Britain, where a young girl eagerly awaits his annual return.

Myer – Saving Santa’s Star

Aussie department store Myer has gone all out this year to rival the UK department chains with their Chrissy tale of saving the Southern Cross.

David Jones – How do you do Christmas?

David Jones breaks with the Christmas fairy tales to recognise that we are all different and do Christmas in our own way.

Sainsbury’s – The Greatest Gift

One of the later entries, Sainsbury’s only released their ad this week and it’s already being praised by many who think it tops John Lewis and M&S. The ad tells the story of Dave, a hard-working and devoted Dad, who realises that the greatest gift he can give people this Christmas is his time.

Burberry – The story of Thomas Burberry

By far the biggest spender this year is Burberry. It’s an epic production that we’ve already featured on this site telling the brand’s story through it’s founder Thomas Burberry.

Read more about the ad here.

H&M – Come Together

A late entry from the Swedish fast fashion chain, directed by Wes Anderson. Starring Adrien Brody, H&M’s Christmas story is set on a train and is loaded with personality that successfully transfers across to the H&M brand. Read more here.

If there’s any that we’ve missed that you think should be included, drop us a note and we’ll update the blog!

Merry Christmas.

Michael Hughes

Michael is Managing Partner and Strategy Director at Truly Deeply, a brand agency with 25 years’ experience working with brands to position them for growth. His deep expertise is in unlocking the strategic power of your brand to create a differentiated, compelling and authentic brand proposition that will engage all your audiences. Michael has extensive experience working across Australia and the Middle East working with leading Australian and International organisations across just about every sector.

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