Peach Perspective: The Best of 2023’s Christmas Ads

The best Christmas adverts – indeed, the best adverts full stop – speak truths that resonate with their audience. A consumer feeling seen and understood by a brand big or small is only ever going to benefit the bottom line, increasing customer loyalty and, the brand’s hope, spending. 

From tear-jerkers that inspire the giving of meaningful gifts, to barnstorming big productions which remind us of the unbridled joy the season can bring, Christmas ads traditionally lean on these truths to underpin emotional connections. This year it’s no different and we’re having our say on some of the most talked about Christmas ads of 2023.

Josh | Senior Designer | The Bag for Life | JD Sports Christmas Ad 2023

The JD Christmas advert for 2023 has certainly struck a chord with its audience, especially the younger demographic. Unlike many cliché Christmas ads, this one stands out as relatable and far from “naff.” 

The absence of overt “Xmas vibes” is a refreshing approach, subtly incorporating seasonal nods such as snow-dusted pavements and Christmas family dinner scenes. The portrayal of tight-knit family moments resonates with authenticity, offering a cool and daring perspective on ‘real life’ for many kids.

What sets this ad apart is its ability to evoke a genuine connection, a testament to being crafted by creative minds with relatable upbringings rather than a formulaic approach by advertising professionals. 

The clever incorporation of the JD bag throughout various scenes adds a layer of ingenuity, with moments like someone using it to pack Christmas dinner or a girl using it to shield her hair from the rain. The advert successfully captures the essence of the brand’s identity, ensuring it not only appeals to its target audience but does so without any cringe factor. 

In essence, JD has once again showcased its knack for understanding its audience and delivering adverts that are not only visually appealing but deeply resonate with the viewer’s experience.

Jen | Account Manager | M&S Christmas Clothing & Home | 2023 Christmas Advert

Marks and Spencer, perhaps buoyed by their recent successes, have taken a braver approach. 

This year, their advert asks us to do Christmas our way – and gives us permission to ditch the bits we hate. Christmas is still Christmas without the paper crowns, Elf on the Shelf or board games after all, isn’t it? It’s not hard to imagine the marketing team’s focus groups way back in early Spring, passionately deriding the Mumsnet Elf on the Shelf one-upmanship, or the tedium – not to mention cost to the wallet and environment – of writing and posting cards.

The ad sees famous faces including Hannah Waddingham, Tan France and Sophie Ellis-Bextor embracing Christmas games, crafts and traditions on the one hand – but then gleefully doing the extreme opposite on the other, all to the fairly unimaginative yet entirely suitable soundtrack of a cover of Meatloaf’s “I Would do Anything for Love.”

The abandon with which elves are put in mortal danger, cards are blow-torched and crowns shredded has earned the brand a fair bit of negative attention. But M and S’s creatives won’t mind too much. Like the best of them, not only have they bravely spoken a universal truth that resonates with their audience – but their ad is being talked about. All their Christmases will have come at once.

Michael | Photographer and Videographer | Boots Christmas Advert 2023  #GiveJoy | Boots UK

Boots 2023 Christmas campaign, dubbed ‘Thank you, Santa,’ is a heartwarming effort to spread joy and generosity this Christmas. The main feature is a beautiful TV ad created by The Pharm, which tells the story of a young girl and her mom embarking on an adventure-filled journey to the North Pole to give Santa a present of his own. Along the way, they encounter multiple characters who help them come closer to their goal, always leaving an appropriate and/or cheeky gift as they part.

The cinematic style, as always, works a treat and lends it that little bit of ‘silver screen magic.’ The 60’s crooner track ‘I’m gonna get there somehow’ by Val Doonican enhances the feeling of nostalgia, Christmas spirit, and adventurous journey at the same time!

While the ad is 1:30, it doesn’t overstay its welcome. It’s fast-paced yet always on point. Every shot counts, and the viewer always gets to see something that pushes the story forward. The cast is superb, the locations are well-chosen, and a subtle touch of CGI adds to the feel. Undoubtedly a monumental production task, which can go unappreciated when condensed to a 1:30 video… So here’s to all who worked hard on it, well done!

Overall, Boots’ campaign is a clever, well-put-together, and down-to-earth celebration of the joy of giving and going the extra mile during this year’s Christmas.

Lauren | Head of Marketing | Fuzzy Feelings | Apple Holiday Film 

Apple’s “Fuzzy Feelings” Christmas ad flips the script of the usual festive cheer. The storyline revolves around a young office woman with a seemingly grumpy and cold boss. Using her creative skillset and iPhone, she creates a touching film featuring her irritable manager, editing late into the night on her MacBook.

As the narrative unfolds, the live-action shots reveal a different side of the story, providing insight into the reasons behind the boss’s chilly demeanour. In collaboration with TBWA\Media Arts Lab, the advertisement seamlessly blends live-action with stop motion, tugging at our heartstrings.

The advertisement skillfully addresses the impact of loneliness on people’s overall well-being during a time that is traditionally celebrated as the ‘happiest time of the year.’ Apple succeeds in delivering an emotional punch, offering viewers those familiar fuzzy feelings and evoking a well-known lump in the throat. The advert serves as a poignant reminder of the impact of kindness and friendship, something as simple as a chit-chat can change someone’s day for the better. 

In conclusion, Apple’s “Fuzzy Feelings” Christmas ad goes beyond the traditional festive narrative, offering a poignant exploration of human connection and kindness.

Unique Christmas Spirit

Getting into the festive spirit now involves diving into Christmas ads, as brands set the perfect tone for the festive season that lies ahead. The year unfolded with a dazzling array of campaigns offering narratives brimming with heartwarming tales, engaging and daring storytelling techniques, and innovative production values. These ads, in their unique ways, weave a special kind of magic into the very fabric of the Christmas spirit. 2023 brought the Christmas ad game.

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