Marketing

Amazon in hot water for ruining kids’ Christmas: Here are the biggest festive ads of 2017

Emma Koehn /

Amazon has ruffled feathers the world over this week, with customers hitting back at a Christmas advertisement they say robs kids of the magic of the season.

With each passing day more marquee brands are unveiling their festive ads for 2017, but Amazon hit a snag with its efforts, which featured a dad hiding Amazon boxes, rather than Santa himself.

The “give a little bit” campaign sees smiling cardboard boxes cheerfully travelling between Amazon warehouses and the family home, but shoppers hit back at the UK version of the ad, which they say raises questions about Santa’s role in delivering presents.

“Some of us parents actually like keeping our kids believing as long as we possibly can,” one shopper told the brand on Twitter.

Other social media users say their children have been asking whether the ad means parents deliver Christmas gifts, rather than the big guy.

When questioned by The Sun, an Amazon spokesperson said the ad depicted “a few extra gifts” from parents, with the company confirming Father Christmas was still working around the clock.

The magic of festive ads still hold value

Director of Social Concepts, Jessica Humphreys, says Amazon’s efforts show the risks of focusing on the consumerist aspect of sales at this time of year, rather than on emotion.

“I think it’s still all about the magic — if you’re adding the magic, you’re inviting children to be part of it as well,” she says.

In trying to promote itself as an efficient digital company, Humphreys believes Amazon is aiming an ad at adults – a dangerous move when it comes to what consumers expect about these campaigns.

“With these ads, it’s about excitement, it’s a journey, it’s also about the magic of Christmas.”

As brands face the final weeks to capture shoppers, here’s a taste of how other big names are positioning themselves this year:

Aldi UK
Kevin the Carrot rises again

UK shoppers have an epic love story on their hands with this year’s effort from Aldi, with adorable ‘Kevin the Carrot’ finding love on a late-night train journey.

David Jones
A gingerbread journey

An ambitious gingerbread person travels the world in this year’s DJs campaign, suffering at the hands of animals before the kindness of humans offers some icing and protection.

Target Australia
The festive rush

From hectic gift buying to kitchen disasters, the race to the end of the year isn’t pretty. Target has taken a realist’s approach this year, complete with family stress and mess — and reminding shoppers the store is there to help.

Bonds
All neon

There’s no pine trees in sight, but Bonds’ effort uses bright red and flashing lights in hopes of getting its new underwear and kids’ ranges into stockings this year.

Debenhams
The urban fairytale

UK department store Debenham’s, which landed in Australia last month, has gone for a postmodern love story this year. It is, however, complete with winter coats and hats that probably won’t fit the bill amidst an Aussie summer:

John Lewis
Moz the Monster

The Guardian reports this year’s John Lewis commercial cost seven million pounds, continuing the retailer’s tradition of family-friendly, attention grabbing campaigns.

As per usual, the campaign focuses on an adorable creature: This year, a cheeky monster called Moz who is keeping kids up all night.

Myer
Friends, elves and festive feelings

Myer’s very nervous elf returns this year, with the department store’s campaign focusing less on the retail offering and more on the relationships between its animated characters.

Aldi Australia
Backyard cricket

Aldi’s down under offering plays on nostalgia and quality beards in an ‘Aussie Christmas’ story.

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Emma Koehn

Emma Koehn is a former senior journalist at SmartCompany.

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