Christmas 2018: The battle of the ads

Christmas brand marketing | Christmas tv adverts | Brand marketing masterclass
It’s time to deck the halls, delve into the mince pies and loosen your belt buckle in time for the turkey and stuffing. As Noddy Holder would say, “It’s Christmas!” With that, comes the much-anticipated battle of the big brand ads. While many are a masterclass in brand journalism and are certainly generating a buzz, here are our highlights of the year so far.

Jade Ziola-Sammons, senior account executive at Stone Junction Ltd

An unsurprising front runner in the pick of the 2018 Christmas ads, McDonald's has raised its game in the annual festive publicity battle. The ad shows Santa and his reindeer delivering gifts on Christmas Eve, with the reindeer getting upset as Santa returns from each visit empty handed as no-one has left out treats for them.

Mr Claus then chooses to head over to McDonald’s, where ‘reindeer treats’ are being sold. The result? Santa heading back to his sleigh with a full sack of McDonald's carrots snack packs and some very happy looking reindeer.

Opting to promote its healthier snacks, the festive ad creator said “the ‘#ReindeerReady’ campaign aims to remind customers that we are there when they need us at this time of year — from a Christmas shopping coffee break to a pre-party burger or even a mid-present delivery carrot stop.”

Watch the ad in full here: McDonalds Reindeer Ready Ad

The Big Night
Many viewers are hailing the Sainsbury’s ‘The Big Night’ Christmas 2018 advert as their fave this year already. Directed by the same director as movie hit, The Greatest Showman, it certainly has the feel-good-factor that everyone wants from a Christmas ad.

Featuring 59 kids aged 6-11 dressed up as a variety of Christmas-y items, including a set of Christmas lights with plug included, and — my personal favourite — a TV playing the Queen’s speech, it’s clear to see why it's giving everyone that warm fuzzy feeling.

Watch the ad in full here: Sainsbury's The Big Night Ad

Now this one is a real cracker.

Everyone anticipates the John Lewis Christmas ad every year, but not many people spare a thought for the poor chap, Mr John Lewis, the computer scientist and father of four from Blacksburg, Virginia, USA, who holds the Twitter handle, @johnlewis.

Every year, he is inundated with questions, comments and complaints from the British public looking to get in touch with the retail brand through social media. Poor Mr Lewis is left responding to each and every one with witty, polite replies, reminding everyone that he is #NotARetailStore.

Twitter has jumped on the saga by featuring Mr John Lewis as its star in its 2018 Christmas film, asking everyone to join the conversation on Twitter this Christmas, even if it is by mistake.

Watch the ad in full here: Twitter Not A Retail Store ad

The Boy and the Piano
The countdown to the John Lewis ad is over. With previous themes including monsters under the bed, the man on the moon and even a trampolining boxer dog under its belt, the retail giant had a lot to live up to in 2018.

And you couldn’t get much bigger than global superstar Elton John, who fronts this year’s campaign, taking a trip down memory lane to showcase the importance of a gift. The ad closes showing a young Elton receiving the gift of a piano for Christmas — and, as they say, the rest is history.

Now, while the Elton John – John Lewis mashup hasn’t exactly got the nation welling up like in yesteryear, it has got them talking. The hashtag #EltonJohnLewis has been used across Twitter, with even other retailers jumping on the bandwagon – or festive sleigh – to get their voice heard this year (take a look at Lidl’s response to the John Lewis ad).

Watch the ad in full here: John Lewis The Boy and the Piano ad

So, which is your favourite festive ad of the year so far? Are there any not released yet that you think that will be the 2018 Christmas cracker? Or are you looking to make an impact with your brand marketing in 2019 and want some tips and inspiration? Why not drop me a line on or call +44(0)1785 225416 to have a chat.

Jade Ziola-Sammons

Stone Junction is a cool technical PR agency based in Stafford. We work for all sorts of businesses, with a particular focus on technology, technical and engineering companies. We like being sent cake and biscuits by clients, journalists and prospects.

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