The RH Great Christmas Ad Review 2018

Every year brands battle it out to have the best Christmas ad, and nothing signals the start of the holiday season like the Coca Cola truck…or Kevin the Carrot, right?

As well as the heart-warming ads we’ve all come to expect, this year we’ve been treated to celebrity cameos, tearjerkers and even political statements to encourage us to spend money this Christmas.

But which are the RH team’s festive favourites and which ones see us reaching for the remote? Read on to find out what we think!

John Lewis & Partners – The Boy and the Piano

The John Lewis Christmas ads have had the nation in anticipation ever since their first one way back in November 2007. The 2018 Elton John ad will live long in the memory, not just because of the use of an international mega-star, a soundtrack from our youth and the high budget production, but, the fact, like the ads mentioned above and all good ads…. there is an idea in it: a well-thought out Christmas present can inspire!

– Paul Ridgers, Managing Director

After eagerly anticipating it, I was soooo disappointed with their ad this year. Whilst I get the basic idea to encourage a ‘gift’ in someone with a gift, it was ludicrous to think the average person can afford the piano in the ad and I feel this will alienate some viewers. It seemed to me too like JL had to agree to Elton promoting his new film in the ad for him to agree to participate! Great ad for Elton but not JL.

– Dawn Fletcher, Studio Manager and Senior Designer

Waitrose & Partners

JL & Partners are extremely clever, they understand their ads are a talking point (good or bad). The JL Elton ad has a sweet and simple message ‘some gifts are more than just a gift,’ however, Waitrose ‘mocks’ ad is the winner for me.
“Nothing stands in the way of enjoying Christmas food” not even Elton, and the playful comment “I prefer the one with the penguin” is pure genius. It is what people always refer to and it’s a cheeky jab at the hype around the JL Christmas ads each year! Harmless fun, entertaining and a well thought-out cross-promotion.

– Shala Weeks, Senior Media Planner and Buyer

Iceland – Say hello to Rang-tan

Iceland has obviously been dreaming of a green Christmas and have produced a lovely animated tale about the plight of the orangutan under threat from the production of palm oil. Strangely banned for being overtly political this ad has been a viral hit and deservedly so. My only criticism would be that this advert isn’t particularly Christmassy and so it could have been made at any time of the year.

– Geoff Dodd, Creative Director

Although it may not be particularly ‘Christmassy’, Iceland’s ad encouraged people to talk about a serious environmental issue, rainforest destruction. Even though the ad was banned, it gained huge traction on social media with many big-name celebrities sharing it among their followers. The ad forced people to think about the products they buy and I’m yet to see any comments that with agree with the ad being ‘too political’ – great job Iceland!

– Sophie Hancox, Social Media Manager


Sainsbury’s have found themselves in the unfortunate position of having produced a perfectly respectable ad based on the premise of a school show. The only problem is it bears a strong resemblance to another ad that hit our screens only a few weeks before, for the John Lewis and Waitrose Partnership (yes, them again), which in turn was not dissimilar to the film Nativity.

– Geoff Dodd, Creative Director

Aldi – Kevin the Carrot and the Wicked Parsnip

Yet again Kevin is everyone’s lovable hero with this perfectly thought-through story, these always bring a massive smile. Aldi h basrilliantly created this addictive character that we all want to know what happens next to, whilst they are selling the character merchandise off the back of it!

I found it a genius touch to have the teaser one simulating the Coke lorry ads which we all recognise as iconic. Incidentally, these Coke ads are a great example of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, we have been loving them for years, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without them in the run-up… and the company doesn’t need to get an ad agency re-thinking a brand new ad concept year-on-year (not that we’d complain 😊).

– Dawn Fletcher, Studio Manager and Senior Designer