While last year’s Christmas celebrations were scaled back due to Covid-19, hopes are high for this year to be one of the biggest festive seasons on record, with retailers feeling confident in the run-up and wasting no time in rolling out their no-expense-spared Christmas campaigns.
Here’s a round-up of the latest 2020 Christmas adverts in UK retail. We’ll keep updating this page each time a new campaign is launched.
Which are your top three adverts so far? Sports Direct’s film takes my top spot purely because of all the sports stars who appear, including my fave, Emma Raducanu.
George at Asda – Slay It
George at Asda launched its first standalone campaign for the brand this week, celebrating “inclusion and diversity” as the ad depicts a trans person’s homecoming.
The spokesperson for the campaign is Layton Williams, star of hit musical, Everyone’s Talking About Jamie.
“Seeking to embolden anyone that feels anxious to head home this year, George is encouraging everyone to own their identities and ‘Slay it’ – featuring standout pieces from the partywear range, including sequinned co-ords and an inimitable fuchsia taffeta minidress”, the retailer said.
Morrisons – Make Good Things Happen
Morrisons is introducing Farmer Christmas to the nation as it follows two young friends discovering the other hero of Christmas for its festive flick.
The 60 second TV advert tells a tale about Farmer Christmas who works “all year too” in order to deliver a delicious Christmas feast to tables all over the country.
As British farming’s single biggest customer, Morrisons has chosen to hero farmers in its advert as a way of thanking them for all the work they do to help make Christmas so special.
Sainsburys – A Christmas to Savour
Sainsbury’s has unveiled its much anticipated Christmas advert ‘A Christmas to Savour’ which celebrates the enjoyment of friends and family coming together, following last Christmas not being “quite as expected”.
The advert opens with someone plugging in Christmas tree lights, with the words ‘Welcome Back to Christmas’ appearing on the screen, before the fairy lights illuminate and everyone and everything freezes.
Sainsbury’s immerses viewers in a single moment by travelling through and experiencing every detail of the scene of a typical Christmas Day.
Homebase – It’s showtime
Homebase’s Christmas advert this year nods to the hit Channel 4 reality show Escape to the Chateau.
In the quirky ad Dick and Angel use their DIY expertise to set up their own Santa’s Grotto inside a Homebase using only tools and decorations available in-store before a couple of stunned workers then arrive, impressed by the bizarre scene.
Tesco – This Christmas, Nothing’s Stopping Us
Tesco unveiled its 2021 festive campaign, focusing on the idea that nothing will get in the way of Christmas this year, following last year’s Covid-19 restrictions.
The advert, created by BBH, follows a woman determined to celebrate Christmas with her loved ones, despite the obstacles being thrown in her way, to the soundtrack to Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’.
However, with a ‘little help’ by the Big 4 grocer’s employee, she overcomes the hurdles in her way.
Aldi – A Christmas Carrot
Bargain retailer Aldi released its full Christmas advert for 2021 and Kevin the Carrot is officially back to the relief of many.
The bargain retailer teamed up with Marcus Rashford for its Christmas campaign as it pledged to donate 1.8 million meals to families over the festive period.
The ad, styled on A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, features the return of the famous Kevin alongside a medley of fruit and vegetable characters – including Marcus Radishford, Tiny Tom, Peas and Goodwill and Kevin’s Dickensian family.
JD Sports – Welcome to JD Street
JD Sports unveiled its star-studded line up for its ‘King of the Streets’ 2021 Christmas Ad.
Celebrating the best in British talent and the city that bore the sportswear retailer, the advert was filmed on the streets of Greater Manchester, in the same neighbourhood where JD Sports was founded 40 years ago.
Several famous faces feature in the festive film including radio and TV presenter Maya Jama, and Manchester-born rapper Aitch.
They’re also joined by Manchester United winger Jadon Sancho, England’s Jude Bellingham, and Love Island star Joanna Chimonides, with several other rappers, YouTubers, and sports stars also making an appearance.
Joules – Live Merry & Bright
Joules wanted to capture the true spirit of the festive season with their Christmas advert this year.
The festive flick shows a group of friends and real-life wild swimmers enjoying a walk on the beach for their annual festive get-together, brightening the landscape with their colourful Joules outfits.
Joules marketing director Claire Tait csaid: “Bold, brave and unapologetically colourful, that’s how I would describe our Joules Christmas advert this year,”
“Demonstrating a real sense of adventure, true friendship and a genuine connection with nature, what better way to showcase our Christmas clothing and lifestyle collection than to show a group of friends spontaneously deciding to take a dip in the sea together.”
Lush – The Snow Fairy
The popular cosmetic retailer Lush has unveiled its Christmas advert for 2021, giving a primetime spot to one of it’s most successful Christmas products – its Snow Fairy range.
The Snow Fairy makes her on-screen debut in Lush’s first short animation advert.
The retailer collaborated with creative studio FeralChild, which crafted the animation with a team of talented artists.
Barbour – Paddington, Please Look After This Bear
Barbour has teamed up with Paddington Bear for its Christmas campaign this year.
Titled ‘Please Look After This Bear’, the festive film follows the mishaps and adventures of Paddington Bear as he comes up with an idea to re-wax Mr Brown’s beloved Barbour jacket for Christmas.
Barbour group marketing director Paul Wilkinson said in a statement: “Paddington Bear is a much-loved children’s character who is kind-hearted and full of good intentions even if he does get into scrapes along the way!”
As well as being full of nostalgia, the festive film also aims to highlight the joy of giving a special present and to celebrate Barbour’s 100 years of sustainability by re-waxing jackets for a century.
John Lewis – Unexpected Guest
This year the highly-anticipated advert from Waitrose and John Lewis was released earlier than usual to meet growing consumer demand for an early festive period.
The ad takes viewers on a journey as a young boy called Nathan befriends space traveller Skye who lands in the woods beside his home.
Their friendship develops as Nathan introduces Skye to many of his family’s festive traditions and brings them to life for her in the woods.
Marks & Spencer – Percy Pig comes to life
The Marks and Spencer advert for 2021 features its iconic Percy Pig coming to life ahead of the snack’s 30th birthday next year.
Voiced by spiderman actor, Tom Holland, Percy explores a Marks and Spencer’s Food Hall with a Christmas fairy, played by Dawn French.
“I’ve loved Percy Pigs for as long as I can remember, and when I was asked to be his voice – his first ever voice – it took me less than a second to say yes,” Holland said.
M&S Food director of marketing Sharry Cramond also said the company felt a particular need to try and “bring some magic” to people’s Christmas celebrations after the pandemic ruined many customers’ festive plans last year.
Sports Direct – Go All Out
Sports Direct released a festive film titled ‘Go All Out’ which aims to inspire people to get up off the sofa, go outside and play sport this festive season.
The £6 million campaign features a star studded sporting line-up including England players Jack Grealish and Jordan Pickford, US Open winner Emma Raducanu, Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill and grime artist Big Narstie.
Sports Direct chief marketing officer Beckie Stanion said: “From your TV screens to your smartphones, Go All Out is a truly integrated campaign that shows up consistently, and natively, across multiple channels.”
Smyths Toys Superstores – If I Were A Toy
Smyths Toys has unveiled its 2021 Christmas advert titled ‘If I were a toy.”
The two-minute film follows a little boy called Oscar who turns his toys into life-sized friends as he flies over the city park.
As Oscar flies, see your children’s favourite toys come to life as he lights up a magical Christmas tree at Smyths Toys Superstores which of course, has Pikachu on top.
Asda – Asda On Ice
This year, Asda has called on three time Dancing on Ice Daniel Whiston to choreograph its festive film.
The ‘Asda on Ice’ ad is set to a new imagining of the ice dancing classic ‘The Bolero’ and follows a family skating through a series of Christmas moments before reaching the big day itself.
The ad aims to showcase the importance of the little moments that make Christmas special alongside Asda’s range of festive products.
House of Fraser – House of Festive
House of Fraser has launched its House of Festive Christmas advert with the heart of the campaign serving as “a reminder of the joy of Christmas, gifting and shopping” and features a multi-generational cast “luxuriating in the fun, extravagant, festiveness of the season – everything they can find at the ‘House of Festive’”.
The retailer’s campaign is aimed at Christmas gifters, “in particular those who see the Christmas shopping trip as an annual event, buying for all, and so needing the unique mix of brands and departments on offer at House of Fraser”.
The department store retailer said the ad gained its inspiration from “insight into our desire to make this year’s Christmas particularly special after the disappointment of last year’s cancelled celebrations”.
Lidl – A futuristic Christmas
For its 2021 festive film, Lidl has predicted the future of Christmas, giving shoppers a preview of what the supermarket thinks a future Christmas could look like.
Lidl’s ad starts in the present day, as a family sit around a kitchen table preparing for a traditional Christmas lunch.
In the next scene, the same family sits at the table for Christmas dinner again – but this time it’s set decades into the future.
Claire Farrant, marketing director at Lidl GB, said: “After a challenging couple of years, the nation wants to look forward not back, which is why we’ve set our light-hearted ad decades in the future.”
Debenhams – A Christmas Like Never Before
Over the weekend, Boohoo unveiled the first Debenhams.com Christmas advert since taking over the retailer.
The film, narrated by eight-year old Scarlett Rock and her father from Staffordshire, focuses on the “importance of togetherness”.
Starting by reminiscing on the last year and special moments families and friends missed out on, the video reminds its audience that unlike 2020, this year people have the chance to make “magical memories” with loved ones.
The campaign features a family of all ages, highlighting the wide appeal that Debenhams.com’s Christmas offer has, including fashion, beauty and home.
Boots – Bags of Joy
Boots has released a festive film titled ‘Bags of Joy’ for 2021, which centres around spending time with loved ones at Christmas.
Starring BAFTA nominated actress Jenna Coleman as the character ‘Joy’ and directed by Academy Award winner Tom Hooper, the ‘Bags of Joy’ advert tells the story of Joy and her magical bag which wields the power to make her Christmas truly magical and delivers the perfect gifts to her friends and family at every opportunity.
With the pandemic spoiling family plans for many last year, Boots wanted to tap into the true spirit of a family Christmas, with a campaign that celebrates togetherness and nostalgia.
Very – It’s the very best excuse
Very.co.uk was one of the first retailers to launch its Christmas TV advert this year, targeting those who like to plan ahead for the festive period, with a series of “Very best excuses” to do everything we can only get away with at this time of year.
The 30-second film which launched 85 days before Christmas depicts the confused reaction of Halloween trick-or-treaters when they arrive at a house fully decked out for Christmas.
The advert also features a choir of carol singers performing a version of “Holly Jolly Christmas”, with updated lyrics that tell how Christmas is the best excuse of the year to get away with so many things we wouldn’t ordinarily do.
TK Maxx – Christmas to the Maxx
TK Maxx unveiled its all-singing, all-dancing 2021 Christmas advert, featuring a special version of Walk This Way by legendary rock band, Aerosmith.
In its biggest Christmas campaign to date, the retailer aims to capture the spirit of making this Christmas feel extra special, whatever that may mean for each of us.
The advert tells the story of an unexpected hero, an awkward teenage boy called Laurie getting ready to perform at a Christmas comeback concert in his local town hall.
Filmed in Orpington, the advert marks many firsts for TK Maxx, as Poland, Austria, Germany, and the Netherlands will be broadcasting the TV advert for the first time, alongside UK and Ireland.
Argos – Baubles to last year
Following the disappointment of last year amid the pandemic, Argos wants Brits to “go big” this festive season.
The ‘Baubles to Last Year, Christmas is On!’ campaign puts the spotlight on people going all out by wearing blinged up festive jumpers, baubling their beards and setting fire to the Christmas pudding with a blow torch.
Hobbycraft – Moments We Make This Christmas
Hobbycraft has launched its ‘Moments we make’ festive campaign for Christmas 2021, centering around the sense of achievement and joy customers get when giving and receiving something handmade at Christmas.
Hobbycraft head of marketing and brand Joel Pickering said: “Building on the success of our autumn advert our goal this Christmas is to inspire our new and existing customers to get creative this Christmas, whether that be by booking onto a workshop or visiting the Hobbycraft Ideas Hub, which is our home of inspiration and advice.”
Notonthehighstreet – Gift The Extraordinary
The online marketplace for small businesses across the UK, Notonthehighstreet has released its festive advert for 2021 titled ‘Gift The Extraordinary’
The company’s advert aims to capture the excitement and anticipation of consumers who want to celebrate Christmas with loved ones for the first time in two years due to Covid, hero-ing the ‘extraordinary’ qualities of each and every person in the country.