Sunday, December 5, 2021

Aldi’s Christmas ad with Marcus Rashford as a radish nailed the festive mood

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So many of this year’s Christmas ads feel like storytelling ticking off, but Aldi’s ones capture the real meaning of Christmas

The second wave of the celebratory campaign was a bit better, but in my opinion only one brand really made it.

At the beginning of this month, I criticized the first batch of Christmas retail campaigns that were launched in the middle of COP26 without addressing sustainability or showing a great deal of corporate responsibility.

Sainsbury’s, the quintessentially British supermarket, always waits until after Armistice Day to launch its own Christmas campaign and continues to be a major supporter of the Royal British Legion.

However, Sainsbury’s, which some years ago ran some powerful pre-Christmas commemorative campaigns, seems to have stopped; his 2021 film simply expresses relief that traditional Christmas is back. It’s a nice ad, but a bit safe.

McDonald’s, whose festive film shows a girl’s cute imaginary friend growing up, is pretty beautiful and actually resembles what John Lewis served up a decade ago.

Unfortunately, this year the ethical positioning of many retailers only extends to being “kinder” to people and being more community-minded.

Brands from Amazon to Coca-Cola to Tesco follow this approach. Everyone has invested a lot of money in decent, fairly long films. Too often, they feel like they are ticking boxes instead of telling stories with real ethical conviction.

O2’s festive offer is at least more focused and more relevant to the brand. Once again, the cell phone retailer is bringing up something they call “data poverty,” which I think is a thing.

VCCP London’s campaign transforms the O2 mascot, Bubl, into an army of animated minions committed to helping 1.5 million households in the UK that are not connected to the internet. Does the company promise to donate free data to these people? It’s a little confusing.

However, the holiday campaign that really stands out for me in an otherwise more appropriate harvest in 2021 is that of Aldi.

The German discounter promises to donate 1.8 million meals to families in need at Christmas.

McCann advertising agency has produced an animated Dickensian parody starring former branded character Kevin the Carrot and a radish voiced by Marcus Rashford MBE, who has teamed up with Aldi for his work on food poverty.

It’s designed to appeal to kids and adults alike with a great soundtrack and lots of festive puns.

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