The RH Great Christmas Ad Review 2019

The Christmas Advert battle gets bigger every year, with all the brands you can think of getting into the festive spirit to be at the forefront of consumers heads when it comes to Christmas.

But which are the RH team’s festive favourites? We got Creative Director Geoff, Head of Digital Tom and Studio Manager/Senior Designer Dawn to pick their favourites, and not-so favourite ads from the festive season.

IKEA – Silence The Critics

Although Grime music isn’t my bag, I like the vibe of this Christmas ad for Ikea. It stands out from the other Christmas explosions of festiveness. It makes you smile with its quirky singing character ornaments and demonstrates how to spruce up your place, while getting the whole family involved. The script is entertaining from beginning to end.

However…

If we analyse it further, at its heart, the ad shows a family surrounded by so much mess that even the ornaments are fed up with the state of the place. This mess is caused by laziness (let’s face it, lack of time isn’t the issue here, as the family is just sat around doing nothing). It’s tough to get people to change their ways, so in short, it’s all a tad unrealistic, but then singing ornaments indicate the creative team probably weren’t interested in being too realistic.

As the T-Rex sums it up… the family’s efforts make the place ‘fresh & clean’, which also would have been achieved by a good old tidy up, vac and polish! Voila, no £££s needed. But also no advert!

Dawn Fletcher, Studio Manager & Senior Designer

Hafod Hardware

No, I hadn’t heard of them either, but they have arguably produced the Christmas ad to beat this year. It follows the rules laid down in the John Lewis big book of advertising – there’s a cute child, a slowed down cover version of a popular track, 2 minute duration and a warmly nostalgic feeling that washes over everything.

However, what does set it apart from John Lewis is the budget – £100 instead of £7 million and the child star, genuine amateur compared to stage school darling. You see Hafod Hardware is a real, family owned and run hardware shop and the kid is the latest in family to ‘work’ here. Authenticity in a Christmas advert is worth its weight in gold (frankincense and myrrh).

Christmas cracker.

Geoff Dodd, Creative Director

Walkers Crisps – Too Good To Share

This ad has had a lot of air-time early into the season, but I haven’t seen it recently. It sticks in my mind for its brilliance!

It features Mariah Carey, who has a reputation for being a diva. So, for her to agree to this idea, which highlights those ‘tendencies’ of hers, is genius.

In the ad, she fights with a guy for the right to the last bag of Walkers. She wins it by letting out one of her classic high-pitched warbles which smash people’s glasses, and everyone drops what they are carrying to cover their ears, including the guy holding the pack of crisps. She has a moment of weakness, feeling sorry for him so gives him one crisp. The guy lights up with a beaming smile, only to have the crisp snatched away by one of the doves from a gift she gave to someone earlier.

Dawn Fletcher, Studio Manager & Senior Designer

Argos – Book of Dreams

As a ’90s child the Argos catalogue was everything to me when it came to choosing what to ask for Christmas. As I got a bit older it also became a gateway to easily find presents for my parents too.

The 2019 “Book of Dreams” campaign really captures that nostalgia.

The TV ad is great is its own right), and plays on that generational angle with an excellent ‘80s soundtrack.

But it’s the digital campaign that nails it for me.

Promoted through a seasonal series of rather excellent Instagram Stories (and I assume other channels too), argosbookofdreams.co.uk is probably one of the best examples of a brand microsite I’ve can remember seeing. A comprehensive archive of every edition of the legendary Argos catalogue dating back to 1974/5, there’s something for just about everyone to reminisce over here. In fact, it’s a valuable documentation of retail trends from the last 40 years.

Just spare a thought to the poor sod who got the task of digitising 100,000’s of pages it!
Sure, we’re looking at unabashed consumerism here and it’s not exactly a “big idea” (I’m fairly sure comedian Bill Bailey coined the phrase “book of dreams” about 10 years ago), but that’s all entirely true to the Argos brand: it’s not original, it’s not unique, it IS a little bit low-rent – and that’s fine.

We should all admire the honest way Argos has positioned it’s role within the holiday season – there’s plenty of other retailers who could benefit by focusing less of selling yet another seasonal marketing mascot (*cough* John Lewis *cough*) and more about what shopping with them really means.

Tom Richie, Head of Digital

Burberry – What Is Love?

From the sublime to the ridiculous. Called ‘What is Love?’ this ad raises more questions than it answers. Who are these people? What are they doing? Why a centaur? Where the f is Christmas? And why are they so bad at dancing?

Burberry has done some lovely festive ads in the past, which leaves me wondering what went wrong this time. It’s almost as if the idea of Christmas is too mass market for Burberry and so they’ve given it a wide berth.

Sorry, Christmas stinker.

Geoff Dodd, Creative Director