The Battle for Christmas

Buster the Boxer.jpg


The UK is expected to spend a record £77.56 billion this Christmas. It is no surprise that retailers want effective messages for their brands to attract customers. Once again John Lewis dominated the festive season, but there has been some serious competition this year. We look at some of the key contenders in the battle for Christmas.

John Lewis

How do you make an ad go viral? Simply throw in some furry friends! If there is one thing we’ve learnt from YouTube; cats or dogs are always guaranteed to pull in the viewings.

John Lewis has applied this method brilliantly. ‘Buster the Boxer’ tugs at our heart strings as he steals the show on Christmas morning. We’re even prepared to brush over the fact that Dad has put Santa out of a job!


Mrs Clause proves a favourite in this year’s effort from M&S. Let’s face it; we all secretly like the idea that Santa’s stylish better half travels the globe in a helicopter, helping those in need of some seriously good gifts.


One of the only adverts to tackle a real life issue, in a thought provoking, and charming style – bravo Amazon!


James Corden makes yet another appearance in a British ad (isn’t he meant to be in the States now). Despite being a little long the musical number has brought Sainsbury’s the right message home. Spend time with the ones you love (and don’t forget the massive Sainsbury’s finest turkey).

Heathrow Airport

Doris and Edwards family reunion is a real tearjerker. It perfectly captures one of the best things about Christmas time: families coming home to spend time with each other. Plus, who doesn’t love teddy bears or grandparents?


H&M produced a Hollywood blockbuster with Wes Anderson directing the advert. Stylish and certainly appeals to the more fashion-conscious consumer.

Bringing the message to life…

As much as we enjoy Christmas adverts, they are crucial for brands to demonstrate their relevance to customers. The brands that link their adverts with experiences are often more successful.

Step into Busters Garden

In my opinion, John Lewis has once again excelled at bringing their Christmas marketing to life in the real world.

For those of you who are yet to visit the fourth floor in John Lewis Flagship store in Oxford Street, there is a lovely little Virtual Reality inspired activation that transports consumers directly into ‘Busters’ garden’. That’s right; you can even take a jump on the trampoline!

Heathrow – a personalised welcome

Heathrow is giving every passenger the chance to have their own heartfelt reunion in arrivals, reflecting that of the teddy bears' Doris and Edward, which feature in Heathrow's 2016 Christmas ad.

To celebrate those tender moments, the airport has partnered with London-based street artist, Ben Eine, to create a range of personalised banners, helping family and friends to make greeting their loved ones extra special this year. 

2016 has been another good year for Christmas adverts. However, if Brands want an excellent 2017 then they need to continue to bring their strategies to life in the real world.

Madison Byrne, Marketing Manager

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