The Christmas Ads of 2022

We are through Halloween. The fireworks have stopped. And so begins the festive advert competition. Here we take a look at some of the adverts and themes for this winter season as the shops battle for cash and attention.

For most brands, the festive period is probably the most important in the retail calendar. Last year’s adverts had an overriding theme of kindness and optimism following another difficult year of a global pandemic, what will 2022’s festive ads hint at?

The last 12 months haven’t been any less challenging than the previous few years’, with covid still lingering in the background, an economic crisis looming and worries about rising energy bills, higher-interest mortgages and generally more expensive goods. So how have the biggest retailers balanced their need for our cash, with a sensitivity to the economic downturn? With nostalgia largely it seems and the knowledge that in times of crisis, people will want to feel that their money is going further and doing more.


John Lewis: The Beginner

John Lewis has opted to stay a little closer to planet earth (remember last year’s friendly alien?), by bringing us a more meaningful message and raising awareness of children in care. Following the launch of the Partnership’s ‘Building Happier Futures’ programme, a long-term commitment by John Lewis to help young people with experience of the care system in various ways, including finding meaningful careers.

Set to the soundtrack of All the Small Things, a cover of the Blink 182 track performed by Mike Geier, it’ll no doubt prompt a few tears. The ad aims to encourage supporting John Lewis in its mission by purchasing from its Lewis Bear range, where 25% of the profits will go to Action for Children and Who Cares? Scotland – the partner charities that worked with adam&eveDDB, as well as specialist advisors, to create the ad.


Lidl: The Story of Lidl Bear

The Lidl advert was one of the first festive ads to hit our screens and creates a star in Lidl Bear, who experiences the highs and lows of fame at Christmas time. But as the world goes crazy for this cute and cuddly stuffed toy, the question is: will Lidl Bear make it back home for Christmas with its family?

The advert weaves in  elements of Lidl’s Christmas offering, including alternative mains like the Deluxe Vegan Garland and desserts like the Deluxe Chocolate Cottage.

Claire Farrant from Lidl GB said: “What stands Lidl Bear apart from other Christmas characters is its hilarious, deadpan expression. By displaying no emotion, it manages to create humour and deliver our message about what’s actually important this Christmas.”


Marks & Spencer: Gifts That Give

M&S also promotes a cause through its festive campaign as it’s set to donate £1million to the Neighbourly Foundation, a charity that supports local community causes across the UK.

Positioning the retailer as the most thoughtful destination for stylish gifting this holiday season, the Gifts That Give shows how the presents consumers choose from M&S help support local good causes. The campaign features over 70 cast members from some of those real initiatives including: The Kaotic Angels Club, Bengali Sanskriti Club Peterborough, Paddington Arts Dance Group, Valley Invicta Primary School at Eastborough’s Majorettes, the Kearsly Brass Band, Caenhill Countryside Centre and the Y Centre Skaters.

It is a beautifully heart-warming advert, that brings in all the joys of Christmas. “When we found out that many charitable groups and organisations are experiencing a drop in funding, we knew that we had to put community spirit right at the heart of this year’s campaign and create something that would make people smile,” said Anna Braithwaite from M&S Clothing and Home. “Gifts that give is a heart-waring, feel-good and colourful celebration of the unsung heroes that do so much for many”.

Created in collaboration with House 337, the campaign was produced by Partizan and directed by Michael Gracey (the Greatest Showman). It features music by Harry Styles, with the ad’s soundtrack Treat People with Kindness marking only the second time he has allowed one of this tracked to be used on an advert.


Aldi: He Shoots, He Scores… Or Does He?

Aldi decided to just go for it and put a World Cup in December. The advert pays homage to an iconic 1998 Nike World Cup Advert.

Created by McCann UK, the advert shows returning favourite Kevin the carrot and his family in the airport departure lounge, preparing for a Christmas trip to Paris. Set to the soundtrack of Elvis Presley’s A Little Less Conversation, it’s full of fun and has little nod to Home Alone.


Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference: Pudding It Out There

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Christmas range is its premium in-house brand. In normal times, this ad might have stressed the luxury quality, however, this year the advert focuses on the word ‘difference’. It stresses how the range can offer alternatives for those who aren’t fans of the traditional Christmas treats.

Featuring Alison Hammond, the story is set in an imaginary world where a festive feast is planned and the cook is ordered to make something other than Christmas Pudding. The result is a Taste the Difference Caramelised Biscuit Christmas Pudding.

The advert was created by Wieden+Kennedy London. As a tie-in with the advert, Sainsbury’s is opening the Pud You Dare Café at HELLO LOVE, London, where visitors can enjoy a traditional pudding or try the brand-new Taste the Difference Caramelised Biscuit Pudding for free.–v-tSZA


Asda: Have Your ‘Elf a Merry Christmas

Everyone has a favourite Christmas movie, and for many, the Christmas just isn’t Christmas without a revisit to  2003’s Elf. Asda has cleverly brought back Will Ferrel as Buddy the Elf, using original footage from the film, created by Havas London and directed by Danny Kleinman through Rattling Stick, it was all put together via state-of-the-art VFX created by Framestore.

Buddy brings his unique flavour of Christmas cheer to this Asda supermarket, giving a little snapshot of the festive treats on offer along the way.


Morrisons: Farmer Christmas Returns

Morrisons usually take a traditional approach to branding, keeping the focus firmly on the  quality of its food, and emphasising its support for British and Irish farmers. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have that Christmas spark with the return of Farmer Christmas, introduced last year.

Created with Publicis • Poke and directed by Frank Todaro of Moxie Pictures, the ad follows Farmer Christmas, who we hear speak for the first time, as he travels across his field on a tractor to his festive workshop. The advert again showcases the work British farmers do to help make Christmas special and pays tribute to Morrisons’ own workers: the “real life elves” who help make more than half the fresh food it sells.

This ad is the first in a series of ten Christmas TV ads showcasing Morrisons’ fresh food and festive deals to tie in with the World Cup as well as the Christmas period.


Tesco: The Christmas Party

Taking a political theme, this advert was inspired by Tesco data showing 87% of us believe Christmas brings joy, with a third feeling it is more important this year than ever. We’re told that Tesco has formed ‘The Christmas Party’ to help the nation stand up for joy this Christmas (I guess someone needs to), and people take to the streets to remind us of all the elements of Christmas that bring joy, including party food.

The tongue-in-cheek concept was developed by Creative Director Christine Turner and Creative team Marc Rayson and Callum Prior of BBH and directed by Fredriek Bond from MJZ production.


Matalan: The Christmas Cupboard

A Narnia based story, sticking to the idea that getting ready for Christmas is a magical time and a good way for people to take their minds off their problems.

Created by McCann Manchester, the hero steps through a magical wardrobe and takes us on a journey featuring  fashion, gifting, and homeware collections. The concept responds to the brand’s research that shows its customers love to prep for Christmas and emphasises the value that Matalan offers.


Argos: They’re Coming, Be Ready

This year’s story, created by The&Partnership, tells the story of  a young couple who expect a small and quiet Christmas dinner, but are surprised when friends and family descend en masse.

It’s a joyful ad that reminds us to get prepared for the return of the big Christmas get together (after the last few years in lockdown) with the message: “They’re coming, be ready”. Cue the couple looking through the Argos app to see what they might need to accommodate more guests.

“Argos has always been for everyone, especially at Christmas,” says Toby Allen from The&Partnership. “And by everyone, we mean everyone. No matter who’s coming, how many of them, and what chaos they bring, Argos will have you covered.”


TK Maxx: Nail Christmas For Less

How to be generous on a budget is the theme of this ad, featuring Clothing and homeware, retailer TK Maxx square this circle in style by tacking it head-on. It focuses on Sam, whose father asks how she bought such great gifts. Sam responds: “Just went to TK Maxx”.

The message is clear no one is going to look down on you for shopping at a discount store. Sam dancing to a soundtrack of Cerrone’s 1977 hit ‘Supernature’ and getting hi-fives from everyone in town.

Created by advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy London, the ad was filmed in Poland and director by acclaimed director Max Siedentopf.


A creative time of the year for marketers to enjoy what is on offer, but equally who doesn’t love a Christmas advert.

Photo by Jamie Davies on Unsplash

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