Here come the million-dollar ad campaigns: How nine big brands are advertising this Christmas

John Lewis Christmas ad

The Christmas shopping countdown is officially on, and festive advertising is no longer just about sleek TV ads with high production value.

Even UK retailer John Lewis, whose annual Christmas advertisement generates significant shopper excitement each year and is reviewed by most of England’s mainstream press, is no longer just a two-minute commercial.

This year’s story is of small girl Bridget and the trampoline she gets for Christmas, which proves a hit with both a cast of adorable furry wildlife and her dog, Buster the Boxer. The ad doesn’t end at the TV though – there’s a full online backstory for the family in the ad, merchandise of the animals featured, and a virtual reality experience available in Oxford Street that ties viewers into the world of the ad. The soundtrack is even available to viewers via Spotify.

But co-ordinating a multi-platform Christmas campaign is tricky business, especially when everyone is cautious about consumers switching off traditional media altogether. How are some big names tracking? Here’s a quick round-up.

Paparazzi eyes on Cadbury

You don’t have to have even finished an ad in the UK before the eyes of the media critique your campaign. This morning the UK’s Daily Mail, and interested citizens, were busy critiquing the filming of Cadbury’s major Christmas commercial and its similarities to Coke’s holiday campaigns.

School kids at Corby Glen were reportedly involved in extras as a massive holiday-themed Cadbury truck pulled in, but critics said the filming looked a bit too much like this ad:

Nervy elves at Myer

Myer has embraced a very Aussie Christmas this year with the Myer Windows at Melbourne’s Bourke Street store telling the story of One Christmas Eve – a tale of Bella, who visits her grandparents in Melbourne’s St Kilda for a barbeque on Christmas Eve. Meanwhile, the anxious elf is back for another year.

Westfield’s Nanna squad

They know best, because they’ve been there and done that. One of Australia’s largest shopping centre networks is promoting Christmas shopping by featuring some of the country’s most high profile grandmothers – with some of the nannas also appearing at tie-in promo events across the country.

Aldi’s Americans

Americans already have Aldi stores and products, which makes it a bit confusing as to why they need to be converted to Australian Aldi Christmas products, but this year’s festive effort from the discount supermarket sees a family of US citizens with a bit of an Oompa Loompa vibe learning about the wonders of our local seafood.

Boobs and BBQs with Bonds

Some local retailers know their peak retail period extends beyond the Christmas rush into new year sales. This year Bonds has gone sentimental with 26 Aussie summer wonders, one for each letter of the alphabet from “Aircon” to “Zzzz”.

Grown-ups visiting Santa at David Jones

From adorable toddlers to 30-somethings who insist on sitting on Santa’s lap, David Jones’ 2016 Christmas offering looks at the diversity of ways that Australians celebrate the holiday – then features a dream sequence in which good Aussie bloke Martin shrinks and goes swimming in the sink when doing the dishes.

 Telstra tries beat poetry

This minute-long feature on the use of Telstra products for connecting with family features the words of an omniscient narrator.

Burberry’s £10 million “film festival” 

And it might not have a direct festive feel, but Burberry unveiled one of the most expensive winter campaigns going around last week, hiring big name actors to tell the life story of the brand’s founder in a clip directed by Academy Award-winner Asif Kapadia, director of films like Senna. With four million online views since November 1, the brand should be hoping for bang for buck with a reported price tag of £10 million pounds ($16.4 million).

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