The Top 5 Best (and Worst) Christmas Adverts of 2017

Written by - 06/12/2017

It’s officially early December, which means that Christmas is very much in the fast-approaching middle-distance, whether we like it or not (although, who doesn’t love Christmas, other than Whoville’s resident green & furry fiend?)

It’s been a couple of weeks since the marketing rollout truly began for some of the UK’s biggest brands, all the way from the retail sector, to business and TV.

With the hype surrounding Christmas adverts growing more and more real every single year, we thought it apt to take a look at 5 of the best (and 5 of the worst) ads designed to get us in the festive mood in 2017. In true ‘Top of the Pops’ style, we’ll be saving the best for last, so let’s get crack(er)ing!

The Good

5. Aldi

Since his television debut last Christmas, Kevin the Carrot has been capturing the hearts of millions with his dinner table misadventures. Only this year, he’s not just out to save his own bacon, but to rescue newcomer Katie from a rather un-festive breach of the peas. It’s beautifully animated, wonderfully charming, riddled with pop culture references, and fantastically punny. A well-earned Top 5 listing. Congrats, Kev.

4. TK Maxx

This year’s offering from TK Maxx is a bit of a sidestep from a brand that, up until this point, has taken itself all too seriously, and it has been done beautifully. The entire campaign, from the concept of their Christmas competition (to offer a free ‘White Christmas’ to anybody that finds a limited edition snow globe in store or online), to the execution of the Bill Nighy narration & absolutely amazing on-screen faux T&Cs (“*Helicopter delivery not available. Soz”) just screams of Christmas joy. A clear contender for the best Xmas ad this year.

3. Iceland

Iceland has stepped up their Christmas game in a big way with their fantastic ‘homemade’ Christmas adverts, breaking the fourth wall by editing over joy-filled children opening their presents on Christmas morning with lip-synced adult voices and poorly photoshopped frozen foods. With a range of short, but hilarious adverts, the one I’ve picked out below is a personal highlight, but I would highly recommend checking out the rest whenever you can, especially if you’re looking for one of advertising’s funniest entries into the Christmas advert history books.

2. BBC One

Each and every Christmas there is always at least one advert guaranteed to tug at our heartstrings and leave us all a weepy mess, and the BBC have pulled out all of the stops to make sure that they’re the ones reaching in and giving our cardiovascular muscles a tickle. It combines the simple concept of a father and daughter coming together at Christmas, with beautiful stop-motion animation from the same puppeteers and animators that brought us Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr Fox and Isle of Dogs, as well as Anomalisa, Corpse Bride & Trollhunters. If you (like me) were sick of Clean Bandit’s ‘Symphony’, you’re certain to rewarm to it after having seen this Christmas ident for the thousandth time. Christmas Kudos to the BBC. Chrudos.

 1. Heathrow Airport

I’m not crying, it’s just been raining…on my face. Heathrow has brought back Mr & Mrs Bair for another year, with a celebration of the airport’s rich history and it’s long-serving habit of bringing families together at Christmas. With a trip back through the years to when the Bairs first met, we journey through Christmases past, culminating in a heartwarming reunion of the entire Bair family in 2017. The only downside is the unanswered question, are they really bears, or are they, in fact, human? Are they both?! Were-bears.

The Bad

5. Asda

In true Asda fashion, their Christmas input in 2017 is spectacularly green, but I guess that we should be thankful that there isn’t a hideous wool-blend uniform or a bottom slap in sight. In what appears to be a Wonka-esque Victorian Steampunk era dystopian Christmas Hell, we are introduced to a girl and her elderly companion, (possibly her Grandfather, unconfirmed), who take it upon themselves to break into a factory full of Circus Strongmen, Miniature Warehouse staff, Pop-up Chefs & Gin cannons. I’ll be honest, I’m not entirely sure what I just watched…

4. Debenhams

‘Tis the Season to be creepy, eh Ewan McGregor? Why don’t you take your ladder back to the shadows from whence you came, and stop pestering young couples trying to enjoy their Christmas Meet-cute? And stop taking credit for it! Fate didn’t intervene, you just turned some bloody lights off. Cheeky sod.

3. Argos

If 2017’s Argos Christmas advert proves anything, it’s that their Warehouse & Logistics division has lacklustre quality control procedures. Between the regular-sized elves and the shocking suggestion that they alone are responsible for the delivery of Christmas presents (where’s Santa!?), I don’t know who to trust anymore. Christmas is cancelled, Timmy. Argos forgot to put your order in the Sleigh-jet-reindeer thingy. Also, Santa is apparently retired, or dead.

2. Waitrose

Waitrose’ Christmas 2016 advert was possibly my favourite of last year, but it’s an unwelcome crash back to reality as we get closer to Brexit. An unsubtle reminder that Waitrose is pretentious, expensive, and assumes that a pub in the middle of the Scottish countryside is going to stock in plenty of Waitrose Double Cream and Lentils. They probably had to walk for at least 6 hours to get to the nearest Little Waitrose, because Ocado doesn’t deliver to Ballynakill.

Now in full spectrum black & white, because they decided to double down on the snobbery. Merry Christmas.

1. Sainsbury’s

Could this be the most cringe-worthy thing I’ve watched all year? Most definitely. I see the intention (I think), but is 2017 really the year that you want to risk making your own (terrible, uncatchy, rage-inducing) Christmas song? After the 3 previous instalments (1914, Mog, The Greatest Gift), I am thoroughly unenthused and enraged. Somebody, please make them stop (also pass me my Nectar card so I can burn it). Seasons Greetings (How many brackets is too many brackets?)

The Snuggly (Honourable Mentions)

Possibly the most spectacularly animated short I have seen since the BBC One 2017 Christmas advert.

John Lewis

Nothing says Christmas like being tortured by a giant hairy Monster. Except everything’s going to be okay because he’s just misunderstood. Like Ghosts, or Taylor Swift.

Marks & Spencer

Paddington fools a Christmas robbery by being an absolute moron. He also lets the perpetrator go off with a sandwich and a smile. He’s got priors Paddington. Well done, mate.

Sky Cinema

Movies are good. Traditions are good. Christmas is good. I still maintain that The Sound of Music is no good. At least this Christmas ad is good.