It's that time of year again, when we switch on the telly to be bombarded by big-budget Christmas ads. Hitting us, like a tightly-packed snowball to the lower abdomen, with the fear of having to start buying presents.
To be fair, we've had some classics over the years. Supervalu melted us into a puddle of tears in 2020, after a really tough year for us all. Lidl touched our hearts with this effort a couple years back, too.
2021, however, has been a bit of a mixed bag. Maybe we're all just so worn out from the last couple of years and Christmas ads aren't really doing it for us. Maybe we've simply hit the point of diminishing returns. Who knows? All we know is that it's still early November, so there's no need to panic about presents. Yet.
Anyway, here's what we've got so far.
Ah lads, call me soft but I think we've got a winner here. This was late to the party but it's really hit the nail on the head this year. The ad follows a woman coming home to Ireland for Christmas only to bump into an old flame. The two seem to reconnect every so often but it doesn't work out...until. Well, you'll just have the watch it.
The British retailer has become the self-appointed champion of the Christmas ad. Every year, we wait, white-knuckled in expectation, to be introduced to a new tear-inducing storyline and whispered cover of a popular old song.
Well, we got a song at least, a very 'John Lewis' version of 'Together in Electric Dreams'. The ad itself, telling the story of a young boy starting a friendship with an alien in his back garden, has had mixed reactions. It's nice, but definitely isn't a classic.
The supermarket chain has become a frontrunner in the best Irish Christmas ads over the years. This year however, they've gone for a bit more of a low key approach. They seem to be just running last year's ad of loads of CGI elves making the shop look pretty and then returning to their lifeless plush-toy exteriors, which look to be purchasable at all good Lidl outlets. Cha-ching!
Marks & Spencer
Another big hitter of the festive ad, M&S seems to have run out of ideas. So instead of coming up with an original concept, they've just paid Tom Holland a heap of cash to voice Percy Pig and have him run around the store with Dawn French in pursuit. OK, I guess?
The fashion retailers probably have the best Christmas ad of the year so far here. It's simple, yet effective. A kid plays organ at a local community concert and his shiny blue boots (that his parents got him from TK Maxx, no less) turn him into a Aerosmith-playing rock star.
It's charming, gets a laugh and is pretty much the outlier of the crop so far.
Boots continued in the same vein as M&S and got some big names in their ad. They recruited 'Doctor Who' star Jenna Coleman to play a woman who gets gifted a magical, endless bag filled with gifts. She then proceeds to give everyone gifts, including her lovely nan (aww!). The campaign has the hashtag #BagsOfJoy, because everyone loves a hashtag and definitely still uses them.
We must say, though, it's quite a nice ad, if not a little cheesy. Well done Boots for making a semi-memorable advert!
It looked like we'd seen the last of Kevin the Carrot. Honestly, we were starting the grieving process. But Aldi would never let us down like that.
After teasing us last week with a short video of this year's new character Ebanana Scrooge, we got treated to the full Christmas ad which retells the story of Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol'.
Of course, the spirit of Christmas is our old friend Kevin. He guides Ebanana through the town to show him that Christmas is a time to show your good-natured side.
We also get a glimpse of Marcus Radish-ford, which leads us to believe this a universe populated entirely by fruit and veg versions of real-life people. The possibilities for next year are endless now.
The Kevin-verse is well and truly here.
There's sure to be more adverts coming our way over the next few weeks, so be sure to check back for updates.