M&S and John Lewis kick off the race for our favourite Christmas ads of 2021

The countdown to Christmas has officially begun. John Lewis and M&S have given us an early present to celebrate by releasing their festive ad campaigns a week earlier than usual.

Since they launched their first ad in 2007, the John Lewis Christmas advert has become somewhat of a tradition for us here in the U.K. and is a sure sign that Christmas is fast approaching. This year, for their 2021 campaign they’ve given us an out-of-this-world experience. The two-minute film, titled “Unexpected Guest” sees Skye – an alien – crash land into the woods only to be discovered by Nathan, a young boy who introduces himself with his light-up Christmas jumper. It’s all very cute. During their time together Nathan shows Skye a collection of his festive family traditions.

They decorate a tree, eat mince pies, throw snowballs, watch a Christmas film and in the end he even gifts her a Christmas jumper. It’s a real modern love story.

John Lewis said they wanted to remind us all of the magic of experiencing Christmas for the first time. After so many of us missed out on our festive traditions last year, we all needed something to enlighten our holiday spirit for 2021. And with its tagline of “a Christmas as magical as your first”, this ad does just that.

Marks & Spencer have dubbed this Christmas their biggest ever and launched two marketing campaigns on the same day. M&S Clothing launched a musical advert encouraging customers to have an “anything but ordinary” Christmas. M&S Food also brought Percy Pig to life for the first time to celebrate the launch of its new Christmas food range.

In the ad, the M&S store closes for the night, meaning it’s time for Dawn’s festive fairy to wake up. She drops her wand on a present with Percy Pig wrapping paper and this causes Percy to come to life for the first time. Percy then excitedly follows the fairy around the store, using his newfound voice (Tom Holland of Spiderman fame, in case you were wondering) to ask about the food on offer. We love it a lot.

M&S Food director of marketing Sharry Cramond said the company felt a particular need to try and bring some magic to people’s Christmas celebrations, especially when so many festive plans didn’t turn out as expected last year. We reckon they’ve absolutely done that for 2021.

We’ve loved having a little bit of normality back in our lives this festive season, and our ecommerce photography work with M&S Home has definitely got us into the Christmas spirit too.  

With a range of brands releasing their holiday ads as we head towards the big day, here’s a roundup of some of our favourites:

Disney – The Stepdad

Disney really tugged at our heartstrings with this beautiful family-centred ad. Get the tissues out, we mean it. 

Matalan – Real Moments, Real Magic

For 2021, Matalan are celebrating the little things that make Christmas, Christmas and feature loads of unbelievably cute moments wrapped up into their 30 second ad.

Boots – Bags Of Joy

Magic handbags? Check. An eyelashed snowman? Check, Check. Mary Poppins at Christmas? Check, Check, Check. 

Sports Direct – Go All Out

England’s Euros heroes are the stars of the show for the sportswear retailer, but keep an eye out for Emma Raducanu and Big Narstie’s cameos.

Hobbycraft – Craft Together This Christmas

Hobbycraft encourage us to focus on the joys of crafting little details this Christmas with an ad soundtracked by indie band The Dunwells.

Etsy – Our Santa

Etsy serve us a powerful short story of a boy who spots his granddad feeling underrepresented in traditional festive iconography, with a real beautiful ending.

TK Maxx – Christmas To The Maxx

TK Maxx channeled their inner Jack Black in School of Rock for their advert this year, with an ad that finishes on a massive singalong accessorised by a pair of fabulous boots. Watch the full two minute version, you’ll love it.

Looking for a multichannel agency that can adapt to any brief? seventy7 can help you with any last-minute Christmas campaigns for your brand, find out how here

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