Welcome to the second instalment of Wyatt’s ‘On the Trail’ series, where our team of intrepid marketing explorers delve into the latest campaigns, and tell us exactly what they love about them. This month – you guessed it – is a Christmas special…so, grab a preemptive mince pie and let’s dive in, shall we?
ALDI: Kevin the Carrot’s Christmas Launch 2019
Spotted by: Ricco Leung
Kevin the Carrot is back! ALDI’s sure-to-be-long-running festive campaign (we’re already a few years in) has certainly brought an element of peril to proceedings. Stoke-on-Trent’s favourite son, Robbie Williams, returns to voice our orange hero, who’s been taken hostage (carrotnapped? Vegducted?) by order of the fearsome Leafy Blinders.
Throw in a ‘Greatest Showman’ theme, flying sprouts, and lines like “cover me in cranberries”, and you’ve all the ingredients (sorry not sorry) for the biggest-budget Christmas caper in the FMCG and retail worlds. No wonder ALDI stores were braced for a rush when the cuddly toys came out. There’s nothing not to like here – the bright-eyed charm, the cheeky references, the soundtrack. Be as cynical as you want about Christmas, but if you don’t smile at this…well…you’re just a little bit cold inside.
Sainsbury’s: Nicholas the Sweep
Spotted by: Bobby Tanser
Those of you who thought Sainsbury’s 2018 idea was just too happy for a Christmas ad will be delighted as the retailer takes us back to the bad old days of workhouses, want and a worrying lack of health and safety. To celebrate (if that’s the right word) Sainsbury’s 150th anniversary, the brand’s come over all Dickensian, with a glimpse into the cruelties of Victorian London. Nicholas, a poor orphan, is banished from the city (historical accuracy not being hugely important in the festive season) after a terrible misunderstanding involving an orange.
Exiled to the North Pole (geographical accuracy as above), he’s taken in by Mrs Sainsbury, who knows of his innocence and – through some prompting – sends him out with a bag full of the orange fruit to “do something special for someone at Christmas”. And there’s a happy ending after all – sure to warm the cockles of all but the stoniest-hearted captain of industry.
Chiltern Railways: Christmas Chickens (SOUND ON!)
Spotted by: Ricco Leung
There’s a lot to be said for annoyance as an advertising technique, particularly on Spotify. And not all of it’s good. Having your songs interrupted by that one. Damn. Advert. Yet. Again. We’ve all experienced the rage, but one thing is true: it gets people talking – so, if there’s a way of turning annoying radio ads into something that just makes people smile, well…surely Christmas is the time of year to make it happen?
Enter Chiltern, which has come up with a cracking rendition of perennial festive favourite Jingle Bells. With chickens. There’s just something about chickens that means, when you hear the telltale ‘bwark bwark bwark’, it somehow combines the penetrating annoyance of the sound with something disarming. Give it a listen. After all, unless you’re paying for Spotify Premium, you won’t really have a choice.
Boston Pizza: Christmas Pizza Box
Spotted by: Chris Hill
As you’d expect from our perfectionist Creative Director, there’s not been a huge amount of work so far this Christmastime that’s caught Chris’s eye. That being said, there is one piece – and it’s a novel combination of turkey dinner…and…pizza.
Cranberry sauce, gravy, turkey with all the trimmings: Boston Pizza have created a Christmas monster – and now they’re singing about it. Cooking up a little ditty called the ‘Chorus of the Pizza’, and designing an all-singing caroling box for delivery, it’s certainly an interesting way of getting people talking about pizza at a time when, normally, sales take a nosedive. But then, these are not normal times…
Dogs Trust: Not Just For Christmas
Spotted by: Anna Taylor-Moore
It’s not a new idea – unfortunately – but it’s telling that we still need to highlight the fact that a dog is for life, not just for Christmas. Dogs Trust’s newest iteration of its campaign goes straight for the heartstrings, with an ad that had our Anna in bits.
The way this emotional story about these lifelong partners is told may have changed, but – at a time when puppies are too-often treated like toys for children, then later abandoned or neglected – it has never been more important to spread this message far and wide.
Argos: The Book of Dreams
Spotted by: Simon Hall
Just when you’re recovering from that piece, here – have a face full of NOSTALGIA. That’s right, Argos has turned back time, not to the glory days of Victorian childhood poverty, but to the 80s and 90s. The days when, instead of pressing their faces to the window of the sweet shop, hoping Old Man Grimshaw would spare them a couple of Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls, children would spend the long, dark evenings poring over the pages of the Argos catalogue.
We’ve all got memories of the laminated book of dreams – all the toys, camcorders, consoles and (if you’re from a certain part of the world) shell suits you could ever desire. And now, because those people with those memories now handily have a certain amount of disposable income and decision-making agency, Argos has rather cannily brought it all back. Just in time for Christmas. Imagine that.
That just about wraps up this Christmas for campaigns that caught our eye. We’d love to hear from you about what Christmassy creativity and festive concepts piqued your interest – but, apart from that, all that’s left to say is: we hope you have a wonderful holiday season, and a relaxing New Year. See you in 2020.