Video: Our verdict on this year’s Christmas TV adverts

11:24 14 November 2014

John Lewis/PA

John Lewis/PA

“Monty doesn’t do the revolting things penguins usually do, like regurgitating fish, he’s a right laugh”

John Lewis: Monty the Penguin 
(1 min)

New from the manipulative masters of heartstring plucking is the tale of Monty the Penguin and his human master, an unusually perceptive lad who worries about his playmate’s lack of female company rather than the usual things six-year-old boys think about, like flatulence jokes, Wotsits and dinosaurs. Monty doesn’t do the revolting things penguins usually do, like regurgitating fish, he’s a right laugh, what with his sledging and frolicking and what-not. But it’s a Tears of a Clown situation as secretly, Monty yearns for the soft touch of a woman.

- Anthropomorphism: In buckets. The penguin is CGI, you know. And Father Christmas isn’t…I’ll stop there.

- Winsome female vocal: No, Tom Odell sings John Lennon’s Real Love. Tune!

- Actual product shots: No. But dear Lord you should see the accompanying Monty product range.

- An inter-species friendship involving a hare and a bear: No. That’s so 2013.

- Conclusion: Never read George Murray Levick’s Natural History of the Adelie Penguin – the section about the bird’s bedroom antics was deemed so shocking in 1913 that it was removed to preserve decency. No wonder Monty shares the same name as the incorrigible uncle in Withnail and I.



Tesco: Lights On (1 min)

This is not one for the environmentalists. Quite obviously shot in high summer – although it’s nowhere near as obviously summer as the Lidl ad where people are almost sweating – it simply involves people putting up Christmas lights. Yawn.

- Anthropomorphism: None.

- Winsome female vocal: No. A brass band play Irene Cara’s What a Feeling (the same song is on the Gaviscon ad).

- Actual product shots: No. But the whole thing is shot in/outside a Tesco.

- How many Tesco staff does it take to put up the Christmas lights?: No comment.

- Conclusion: Not as good as John Lewis, better than Waitrose’s effort, though.


Marks and Spencer: 
Magic and Sparkle (1 min 40)

Last year, the festive offering from M&S included Helena Bonham-Carter appearing as a giant green wizard and David Gandy’s clothes falling off. So this year was always bound to be a disappointment. Two fairies, Magic and Sparkle, clock in for a wish-granting shift at the coalface – flittering about the night sky, they ping a bra to a cross-dressing man, replace greying briefs on a frozen washing line with cocktail dresses which will be ruined by morning, find a lost cat, make it snow and then offer two strangers the gift of sexual tension. At no point is there a gothic tea party involving a semi-naked David Gandy. M&S has literally broken Christmas.

- Anthropomorphism: Do fairies count?

- Winsome female vocal: Yes, Julie London’s Fly Me to the Moon.

- Actual product shots: Yes! Well done, M&S.

- Helena Bonham-Carter appearing as a giant green wizard: No. I don’t want to talk about it.

- Conclusion: Every time you say you don’t believe, an M&S advertising executive might think twice before leaving David Gandy out next Christmas.


Boots: Special Because (1 min)

It’s midnight on Christmas Day – you know, the time when you’ve worn yourself out with unfettered jollity, volcanic family rows and enough alcohol to fell an elephant, when you’ve Christmassed the heck out of everything. But this isn’t the case for one family, who get up to be there when their selfless mum gets back from her shift at the hospital being paid double time and avoiding the nightmare of Christmas dinner (what you’d call a double win). But there is no escape: They Are Waiting. In reality, if you work night shifts, the very last thing you want is to find your entire family waiting for you when you get home. You just want to go to bed. But ho hum, Christmas is all about sacrifice.

- Anthropomorphism: No. There’s a dog in it, though.

- Winsome female vocal: No, it’s a droning chap, Alexi Murdoch.

- Actual product shots: No, but we do see a Boots store that’s perplexingly open in the dying minutes of Christmas Day.

- Percentage of the UK population that wish this ad had included Boots’ anthem, Here Come the Girls: 0 per cent.

- Conclusion: Everyone else’s family is far nicer than yours.


Iceland: That’s Why Peter Goes to Iceland (30 seconds)

Probably the most honest ad of all – I even believe that Peter Andre shops at Iceland, such is his unbridled joy at what lurks in the store’s endless aisles of cheap and cheerful chilly delights. There are no heartstrings being tugged, just Peter dilly-dallying by a freezer marvelling over beef wreaths while women marvel that Katie Price’s ex-husband is in Iceland. Personally, I’d be shocked these days if I saw him anywhere else.

- Anthropomorphism: No. And to suggest otherwise is insulting to Peter.

- Winsome female vocal: Maybe. I was transfixed by Peter.

- Actual product shots: Loads. Iceland pass the Sir Alan Sugar test.

- The Face of Iceland Future, ones to watch: Stevi from The X Factor, Mercedes from Hollyoaks, Joey Essex.

- Conclusion: Cool. Man.


Next week in part 2: Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Aldi and Lidl’s festive offerings...


  • You can tell when even Companies are cost cutting by cutting out a few humans and replacing them with CGI Alternatives. Penguins should only be available in Wrappers and in 6 packs

    Report this comment

    Che Bramley

    Sunday, November 16, 2014

  • Once you have seen any advert 3 times it becomes a pain like the rest .. And with non BBC channels it is 16 plus minutes of adverts every hour... it is getting like the USA which is even worse... And the bottom Line is .. Who actually buys loads of things because of adverts... Most who have seen adverts on TV for 10 years or more hardly ever watch them... Adverts are everywhere in our lives including junk mail..Football and other sports .. And cold phone calling... .. So I cannot see anyone getting excited about Xmas adverts.. Thank god for catchup tv with no adverts...

    Report this comment


    Friday, November 14, 2014

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