Thoughts 22.11.18

Ryan gives his thoughts on some of this year’s festive ads

The Christmas ads are here and elbowing one another out of the way to get the best seat at our festively decorated dinner tables. John Lewis has held the seat for many years, and we’ve told adland what we think of #EltonJohnLewis, but I think we’re ready for a new guest that perhaps might spark a more interesting conversation.

The first wise king tapping at the door with gold crispy chicken is KFC with a very cute spot that cleverly inserts itself in the holiday mix with a plucky attitude, reminding us that chickens rule the roost. It’s fresh and fun and exists in its own space. I still have a theory that characterising the things we eat will lead to more vegetarians but, that aside, it’s a joyful bit of entertainment.

Next at our door, with a bag of premium Brussels sprouts, is Sainsbury’s. Although it’s a scenario we have seen before, it’s done beautifully and reminds us what this season is all about. In a world where everyone is looking to find a new way to do “the Christmas ad”, this more traditional ad strangely cuts through. As John Lewis steps to the side, could this slip into the space it leaves? a season without someone filling the archetypal holiday ad would be a sad moment, but not as sad as the melted snowman we all like watching every year, oh no.

Hold on, McDonald’s is making its way down the chimney with the gift of carrots for the reindeer. The spot is nice and the campaign has some brains behind it. “Dad, can we get free carrots for Rudolph?” I’m sure many a family will have a little bag of branded carrots rattling around their house this holiday season.

Sky is tapping at the window but, on this occasion, I’d leave it in the cold. It has nothing interesting to say in this spot. It’s just a preview of its content. Hopefully, there’ll be other work from the brand that reflects the fact that Britain will spend more time with it this Christmas than any other brands we discuss today.

So, who would’ve thunk it? At the head of the table, the Christmas cracker (although this could have aired any time) is offered to the brand that starts the most interesting conversation: Iceland. Actions speak louder than words, and so it is at this time of year – when we think about others, we’re reminded to think what “others” really means.

The hoo-ha around this spot not making it to our TV screens leaves me feeling a bit sorry for Clearcast, which has been at the sharp end of the complaints, but not much. Maybe I’m cynical, but it was never going to make it to air and the “ban” has led to sharing without media. There’s a gift for you, Iceland.

Now, pop your slippers on, pull up a chair and welcome to the Christmas dinner table. Would you like leg or breast? Or a KFC bucket?

Read more from Ryan Newey here.