Supermarket giants deliver Christmas 2023 ads (except Iceland)

Supermarket giants deliver Christmas 2023 ads (except Iceland)

In a year where even Big Spenders are taking a leaf from Scrooge’s book, Creative Moment rounds up the Christmas ads vying for your turkey time-out.

But what do they say about 2023?

Waitrose welcomes Graham Norton

Created by Saatchi & Saatchi and shot by acclaimed film director Autumn De Wilde, Waitrose’s Christmas advert launched 2 November, with a boujee house party theme.

Debuting during ITV1's Emmerdale, the advertisement humorously highlights common challenges faced during a Christmas house party, including early arrivals, bathroom lock-ins, police visits, and power outages. Each predicament is swiftly resolved with the introduction of Christmas delicacies, such as Waitrose's premium turkey, Shimmering Salmon Mousse, and Florentine-inspired Panettone.

Talk show host Graham Norton makes a stylish appearance midway through the ad, donning a tuxedo and carrying The Golden Bûche de Noël cake before joining the other guests. Set to the tune of Depeche Mode's Just Can't Get Enough the advert emphasizes the message that "when the food's good, everything's good."

Themes: relatability, celebrity, friends and family, pop appeal

Sainsbury’s #rickrolls audiences

Familiarity is on the menu for Sainsbury’s this year, as it makes use of real employees and musical underdog Rick Astley for its Christmas campaign, created by New Commercial Arts.

Launched on 3 November, the advert is mainly set inside a real store, but also gives a glimpse inside Santa’s Lapland abode, covering ‘The Big Fella’s’ mission to get his Christmas Dinner sorted.

A young girl kicks off the advert, using the store’s loud speaker to ask: “Hey Sainsbury’s, what does Santa eat for his Christmas dinner?,” prompting colleagues to recommend favourites from the Taste the Difference range, a ‘charcuter-tree’ sharing platter, buttermilk turkey crown and No beef wellington.

Rick Astley’s cameo, meanwhile, sees him asking: “how about some cheese?”, while a colleague responds: “C’mon Rick, cheese before pudding, you know the rules” and another sings “and so do I” in the tune of his hit Never Going to Give You Up.

Naturally, Santa has opted for a Sainsbury’s feast, and a tracking shot of the food concludes the ad, with the new slogan ‘Good Food for All of Us’.

Themes: Staff spotlight, pop appeal

Asda: Bublé and cheap

Now synonymous with Christmas cheer, due to his televised appearances and seasonal albums, Michael Bublé was chosen to front Asda’s 2023 Christmas Campaign, which launched on 4 November.

Acting as Asda’s ‘Chief Quality Officer’, the singer-songwriter is depicted sampling seasonal offerings including cheeseboards, truffles and parmesan pigs in blankets.

The ad, shot by Oscar-winning filmmaker Taika Waititi, concludes with an Asda colleague calling out, “Off for the night are you?” to which Bublé responds that he’s only just getting started as he joins retailers choir to sing ‘Walking in a Winter Wonderland’.

Themes: Staff spotlight, pop appeal, quality focus

Lidl pulls the heart strings

Lidl has revealed a touching campaign reminiscent of John Lewis, featuring a determined raccoon set on returning a little boy's lost cuddly toy.

The supermarket tasked agency BBDO, film production company Zauberberg and directors Dorian & Daniel with its Christmas offering.

The narrative: when the boy accidentally drops the gift his mother gave him, the raccoon goes to great lengths, climbing road signs, riding the tube, and even sailing on a log across a river to ensure the boy receives it on Christmas day.

In the end, the raccoon successfully places the toy under the boy's Christmas tree, with the family joyously celebrating and enjoying their meal. The advertisement aims to underscore the significance of small acts of kindness during the festive season.

Themes: animation, high production, heart-warming

Morrisons shines light on humble oven glove0

Morrisons 2023 advert is centred around a pair of oven gloves that come to life singing a rendition of American rock band, Starship’s classic 1987 power ballad Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now, as the Christmas day meal is being prepared.

Leo Burnett's first Christmas spot for Morrisons launched on 15 November. “More of the winning feeling” was conceived by creative director Gareth Butters and directed by Tim McNaughton from The Bobbsey Twins.

Morrisons chief customer officer and marketing officer, Rachel Eyre, described the oven glove as “the tuneful cheerleaders of the nation’s Christmas chefs,” as the ad looks to show support for festive hosts on the busy day.

Themes: Fun, family, pop appeal

Aldi takes inspiration from Willy Wonka

On November 6, Aldi revealed its Christmas advert, drawing inspiration from Willy Wonka in 'Kevin and the Christmas Factory.'

This is the eighth year that Kevin and his friends have starred in the German discounter's festive campaign. The ad, created by advertising agency McCann, opens with five lucky winners – including Kevin – waiting to enter William Conker's gravy-filled wonderland.

Each contestant faces different challenges, with Kevin emerging as the last fruit and vegetable standing, granted access to the factory's "cheese." Expressing generosity, Kevin asks, "Can I share my good fortune with everyone?" The ad concludes with the message: "Seasonal goodwill permeates the air, as Christmas becomes sweeter when shared."

Themes: Fun, animation

M&S Food gets Christmas sparkle from Hollywood stars

Created by Mother, M&S’ ad features stars including stylist and presenter Tan France, actor Zawe Ashton, and singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor, as they do away with the unnecessary rituals and routines that people feel obliged to do at Christmas – from creating hand-made decorations to wading through a stack of greetings cards.

Themes: alternative-Christmas, animation, fun, celebrity

And finally, Iceland’s strategy this year is… not to run a Christmas advert at all.

This year, Iceland, which has publicly backed’s Formula For Change campaign to help struggling families, made the choice not to run one at all.

In 2018, the supermarket’s advert was banned from television because it was branded ‘too political’, as it raised awareness of rainforest destruction caused by palm production.

Richard Walker, executive chairman of Iceland Foods, said: “We’ve received a lot of enquiries about when we’ll be airing our Christmas TV ad. This year, Iceland will not be releasing one.

“As a business, we were faced with a decision. Do we spend millions creating and sharing a TV advert, or do we invest the money supporting our customers during the cost-of-living crisis?

“This was a no-brainer for us. I am grateful that as a family-run company, we can make the decisions we believe are right for our business and our customers.”

Themes: Minimalism, cost-of-living

Iceland print ad credits:
Art Director: Herman Dias
Copywriter: Charlie Loxley

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