And the best Christmas ad of 2021 goes to…

To everyone reading this blog… congratulations, you have made it to the final month of 2021 – and what a year it has been since Freedom Day back in July. With Christmas just around the corner and the weather getting chillier, it’s only right to get your cosiest jim-jams on, make a nice hot cuppa and put your feet up to enjoy your favourite TV shows. 

The UK’s leading retailers have been extremely busy and meticulously well-organised to launch their Christmas campaigns on time this year. We have already started to see Christmas ads from Aldi, Asda, Boots, Amazon, TK Maxx and the nation’s favorite, John Lewis – as well as many others. This year has been a very difficult year for our big high street retailers; therefore, it has been imperative for companies to implement creative marketing initiatives in their Christmas ads post pandemic and bring back the festive spirit for the remainder of the year.  

Campaigns have been launched as early as 1st October where online retailer, Very, dropped its Christmas campaign – 85 days early. The emerging trend here is a greater digital focus as retailers aim to target consumers seeking to purchase goods online rather than in store. Nevertheless, companies have still executed Christmas campaigns to elicit joy, warmth and love through their messaging, to bring back the connected Christmas feeling within the wider community. 

We will be paying attention to see who else catches our eyes, but for now here are Space & Time’s top 6 Christmas ads of 2021 to date.


6. John Lewis– Unexpected Guest 

John Lewis has gone very ‘Stranger Things’ with their 2021 advert. The two-minute film follows a young boy named Nathan who meets a girl named Skye, whose spaceship has landed in the wood behind his house. We watch and see how their friendship takes flight through snowball fights, movies and eating mince pies. However, ever so predictably, the alien takes flight too after fixing her UFO, leaving the boy in tears on Christmas.  

With the extra-terrestrial theme to this year’s ad (and no real mention of the shop itself or themes of family and community), this ad has left many underwhelmed. Maybe John Lewis is trying too hard with their stripped-down cover of a popular song and need for a creative storyline, however, the ad needs more product placement as there is no sight of an annual Christmas toy this year. Not to mention Iceland mocking the famous ad in a hilarious spoof… 


5. JDSports – Welcome to JD Street 

Only a few Christmas ads are geared solely towards UK youth culture, but JD Sports couldn’t have been clearer on its target audience, with a London based ad featuring some of the UK’s coolest young celebrities wearing Nike, Adidas and Puma. This season, some of the biggest names in entertainment and sport are featured throughout the festive JD Street including Maya Jama, Aitch, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Little Simz, Jadon Sancho, KSI, and more! The big-budget Christmas ad resembles the frantic last-minute shopping days before Christmas as well as that treacherous walk down a slippery icy high street.  


4. Aldi– A Christmas Carrot by Charles Chickens 

Kevin The Carrot is back for Christmas 2021 and he’s teaching lessons in joy and goodwill to rotten old Ebanana Scrooge. The animated ad also features a special cameo from Marcus Radishford (voiced by Marcus Rashford himself) and teaches the important lesson “For you to be happy, you need to be kind.” Aldi had understood the Christmas assignment this year and, in sync with their campaign, they have pledged to donate 1.8 million meals to families over the festive period. It’s also worth noting the success of the favorable animated characters as over 75,000 people queued outside Aldi from 4am to buy the festive toys. 


3. Amazon– Kindness, the greatest gift 

Amazon’s 2021 advert encourages kindness and checking in with those around you. It features a woman who gifts her younger neighbour a birdbox, after noticing she might be suffering from the anxiety of post-pandemic life. The ad is set to Adele’s moving new song, ‘Hold On’, which tugs on the heart strings in harmony with the messaging behind the ad.  

The ad was also launched in line with the Amazon Christmas shop – where a portion of what customers spend this year will be donated to charity if they shop via the Amazon Smile portal on its usual website. 


2. M&S Food – Percy Pig comes to life for the first time EVER! 

Tom Holland is the voice of Percy Pig. Need I say more? For the first time, M&S have animated the ever-popular sweet and let him run around the store. Did I mention Dawn French is also a fairy in this ad?! Showcasing the store’s Christmas food collection, this joyful ad will leave your mouths watering and googling the nearest M&S Foodhall to try some of the delicious delights displayed. 


1. Boots–#BagsOfJoy  

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a winner. Taking number one for best Christmas ad of 2021 is Boots’ ‘Bags of Joy’ campaign, starring actress Jenna Coleman. This ad tells the story of Joy and her bottomless bag of gifts, fitting for every occasion. Each scene within this ad shows the joy of being with friends and family, finding the perfect gift and connecting with one another. Not to mention, the product placement within this ad is perfectly executed, showing a wide range of products associated with Boots throughout the ad. I personally loved the nostalgic childhood feeling relating to Mary Poppins, with a bag of endless gifts and joy which is very wholesome to see after the year we have all experienced. 

Stay tuned for more Christmas updates from Space & Time! 4 weeks and counting…