Settle in For Christmas Adverts this World Television Day 

We’d be missing an opportunity if we didn’t take the chance to tip our advertising cap to World Television Day. Established by the General Assembly of the UN, World Television Day was set up to recognise the increasing impact television has on informing, generating and affecting public opinion.

At this time of year, the mission couldn’t be better shown than in the raft of Christmas adverts that are sparkling across our screens. Each year there is at least one stand out winner. Each year an advert gets us talking, gets us laughing or maybe even shedding a tear. One way or another, the Christmas advert is the queen of all adverts.

The flurry of festive marketing has got us thinking. Just what is the magical formula that makes a Christmas advert so good? What is the secret to yuletide ad triumph?  Walking through a few of the 2022 stand outs, it’s clear there are a few key components. While it might not be essential to hit all of these markers, getting a couple under your Christmas belt should help pave your way to festive success.

Emotional triggers

We want to be moved at Christmas. When we’re watching a longer advert, emotion is key. The overarching goal is to make us feel something. To feel something strongly enough to be motivated to shop or to engage with a brand. Incorporating emotional triggers in any Christmas advert whether through characterisation, message, music or all normally leads to something great.

Our top emotional pick this year is M&S’s advert ‘The Gifts that Give’. Featuring snapshots of gifting moments interspersed with unusual appearances of animals, choirs, and other groups, we eventually find out that all the gifts available through M&S actually offer support to community groups. With the economy where it is, this is exactly the kind of emotional trigger we need. A story that gives back. A brand that engages with the world as it is now. A gem of an advert, galvanising anyone who feels the motivation to help and give back to their communities.

Time stamp insights

Looking back over the years, the best of the Christmas adverts interweave festive messaging with commentary on the world. Whether it was in the height of Covid, or this year acknowledging the financial pressures of an economic downturn, consumers respond to adverts that speak to the world they are experiencing.

This year’s time stamp winner is TK Maxx. The brand brilliantly tackles head on the financial pressures that consumers are experiencing. It turns out there’s no shame in discount shopping.  Actually, you can get what you need for less and what better reason to dance in the streets?

Ticking the same time stamp box, Tesco quietly but meaningfully comment on the political situation by launching their own Christmas Party. Fronting their party political advertising with the tag line ‘We Stand for Joy’ it’s a clever way to call for goodness and bring the focus back to what’s really important. We’re here for this uplifting and tongue-in-cheek take on festive marketing.

Christmas innovation

We’ve all seen the same adverts reworked and repurposed over and over again. They do nothing to interest or engage their viewers. Innovation and originality is where it’s at. Finding a different want to position Christmas, to highlight products, to entrench a brand into your very idea of Christmas and what that entails. It’s perhaps the hardest of the markers to hit but when it’s done right, it will live on in people’s memories.

This year Aldi have turned out a clever take. Linking with the December World Cup they target football fans and Christmas shoppers in one fell swoop. Creating food characters whose names are neatly worked into a voice over from an iconic 1998 Nike World Cup Advert – we’re smitten with MarrowDona – it feels like a fresh (no pun) take on food, Christmas and what spending time with family might mean. No matter whether that involves football or not.


The godfather of all advertising missions, focusing on storytelling is fundamental. John Lewis have a reputation of hitting the mark on this front. Each year they create a character and storyline that grips the viewers and brings us along for the ride with the music and setting beautifully interwoven into the story.

It’s no surprise that they take the crown again this year with a tear jerking narrative of a middle aged man teaching himself how to skateboard. Cataloguing his failures and humiliation, late night skatepark practice and laughing at his own mistakes, all serenaded by a stripped back version of ‘All the small things’. The emotional arrival of a young girl from the care system carrying her own skateboard explains his efforts and ties up the real meaning of Christmas with a beautiful bow.

On a more light hearted note but story telling none the less is Asda who we think deserve 5 story-telling-stars. Their version of a medieval feast is witty and light, approachable and heartwarming all at once. Plus it sneaks in Teenage Dirtbag as its soundtrack which is pretty hard to beat.


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