Christmas Ads 2023: A Leap into Joyful Distractions

The arrival of Christmas ads was quite a moment at Boxclever this year (well perhaps just for me personally but I’ve been dragging the rest of the BC crew with me!). Amidst a backdrop of devastating news across the world and very difficult times for many people in the UK, the opportunity to spend 10 minutes of my morning watching any newly released Christmas ads has offered light relief.

We’ve recently published a summary of 5 consumer trends that are very relevant for businesses as we head in to 2024, one of them being ‘Joyful Distractions’. In my case, Christmas ads are the epitome of a small moment of joy and an opportunity to see how well brands have captured the essence of Christmas 2023 through a medium that has been created months in advance. As I’ve spent plenty of time watching them over the last couple of weeks, I thought I better share my thoughts on a couple of them with you all and see whether you agree.

So where do we start…well, no article about Christmas ads can be written without first mentioning John Lewis. Such was the eagerness around the legendary John Lewis ad that we held a ‘Watch John Lewis ad on the big screen’ meeting (definitely my kind of meeting!). I have to say that the response from the Boxclever audience was mixed. From my own perspective, I couldn’t help but smile at Snapper.

Whilst I admit, it’s a slightly bonkers portrayal of ‘togetherness’ and ‘evolving traditions’

I agree that’s it’s very Little Shop of Horrors, John Lewis have yet again got us all talking about their ad.

And what is more joyful and distracting from the current gloom, than a manic, Bocelli singing Venus fly trap? Furthermore, if you thought the Venus Fly Trap was the end to John Lewis’s ability to sell related merchandise in store, just go take a look at their partnership with Royal Botanic Gardens and the array of plants and Snapper PJs in store. My local florist has had to buy an abundance of fly trap plants, and Google has never seen so many searches for these carnivorous little things.

Amazon also managed to put a smile on my face. I don’t know about you but I just thought ‘ohh I really hope that’s me in another 30 years!’ I want to be the lady, zooming down the slope with her besties. A purely joyful moment.

According to neurologists, smiling creates a chemical reaction in the brain, releasing hormones that motivate us to act. I didn’t quite go straight to Amazon and buy a new sledge but it definitely fostered a feeling of warmth to the brand and I won’t be giving up my Amazon Prime any time soon. With their smile logo, the ability to keep the Amazon parcel centre stage and a beam inducing storyline, it’s a clever ad and there’s no doubt Amazon have done huge amounts of research into the impact of a smile. Yes, it’s short and sweet but I’m sure Amazon will continue to reap the rewards.

The final ad I’d like to mention is Lidl. Lidl have come a long way with their Christmas ads in the last few years and once again they have tapped in to the tried and tested approach of using an animal to tell a story around ‘thoughtful gifting’. As well as helping consumers to process a message, animals grab our attention and are a useful tool when it comes to distracting an audience. With a similar feel to John Lewis’s penguin or trampoline loving Buster the dog, it definitely hooked me in to discover the plight of the lost teddy. With the help of a cute racoon and an ad focusing on love and kindness, Lidl ensure the brand makes a number of appearances and show an understanding of the current context thanks to the return of their toy bank. Perhaps we’ll see more from their little racoon in 2024.

‘Joyful distraction’ is really the name of the game when it comes to Christmas ads but even by focusing on the three, I’ve just mentioned, the representation of this trend can be quite different. One thing is certain, whether it be through cute animals, crazy plants or adorable ladies, brands that make us sit up and watch and put a beam on our face are the most likely to get us to act.

I hope you manage to find moments of joy in whatever you find distracting over the next few weeks and if you’d like to hear more about this trend please download the pack here.