Recently published data from the Advertising Association suggests that brands are expected to spend a record £6bn on Christmas advertising this year.

However, consumers’ moods are on the opposite end of the spectrum – according to GfK, Brits are less likely to make major purchases this Christmas than they were last year.

So how do brands make sure that the investment is worth it, and the message reaches their sceptical consumers? What is the measure of a successful Christmas ad? Some may say it is the number of people who get teary within 30 seconds of watching the ad, whereas others quote the increase in Brussels sprouts sold year-on-year.

After hours of debating (and many mince pies later), here at TMc, we decided that what makes a Christmas ad successful is the degree to which a brand is able to establish a cultural connection with its target audience.

And to show you what I mean, I’m going to take you through some of the adverts that made us cry and laugh (and think) this year.

Aldi – Kevin and Katie

After a 15% sales growth YoY last year, it seemed like Aldi’s advertising team were facing an impossible challenge this festive season. However, according to a study by Kantar Millward Brown, Aldi’s 2017 Christmas ad is the best performing amongst all grocery retailers so far when it comes to persuasion, or how likely a viewer is to be transformed into a buyer.

Aldi is good price, everyone knows it, so there is no need to say it on advert. Instead, Aldi tell a heartfelt and funny love story. The consistency and cohesiveness of the ad mean that brand attribution and recall are high. A firm office favourite, Aldi has ticked all the boxes for a successful Christmas ad this year.

Debenhams – You Shall Find Your Fairytale

This festive season Debenhams have gone for a modern twist to a favourite classic. The advert shows a woman who loses her shoe on a train and a man trying to find her to return it. The modern twist on Cinderella aims to ‘seduce and inspire’ shoppers on Christmas. Debenhams has done a great job in creating a magical Christmas utopia that is attractive, aspiring and appealing to shoppers of all ages.  

Boots – Show Them You Know Them 

Boots’ festive advert shows two real-life sisters sharing gifts at Christmas and reminiscing about their shared past. Boots wants to be known as the place for gifting, and that’s exactly what the ad communicates. The video has all the components of a perfect Christmas advert: it’s heart-warming, there is product placement, there is a dad sat on the arm chair. It’s recognisable, it gives great gift ideas and above all, it is relatable. We all want to give the perfect gift to loved ones at Christmas, don’t we?


Tesco’s festive campaign demonstrates the different ways Brits enjoy Christmas. The main advert focuses on the turkey and how different families cook it.  Tesco chief customer officer, Alessandra Bellini explains that the campaign celebrates how people come together at Christmas, and how food sits at the heart of it all.

The ad shows that Christmas is about shared moments and experiences, and that it is okay not to be perfect. It is heart-warming and funny, but most importantly it is very relatable to mums (and dads) around the country.

Ketchup on your turkey, anyone?

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