This week: Holiday ads galore, a provocative outdoor push and surprising moves from a megastar.
The top 5 creative campaigns you need to know about right now
5. Tesco: Christmas Party
Agency: BBH London
We saw U.K. holiday ads galore this week, and while the tone was admittedly more restrained this year, many also entertained us. Aldi gave us Kevin the Carrot in its version of “Home Alone,” McDonald’s tugged at the heartstrings with its Alternative Christmas List and Lidl poked fun at mascots with its “Lidl Bear.” But special mention must go to Tesco for alluding to the U.K.’s tumultuous politics in its campaign, with a parody of a political broadcast that manages to squeeze the words “budget” “cuts” and “referendum" into one 60-second ad. Its price-focused message seems in tune with the times, too.
4. Sheertex: Dual Meanings
Agency: Red Antler
Sheertex, a direct-to-consumer hosiery brand that has to date advertised heavily on social media, made the move to outdoor this week with billboards in New York and Toronto that lean into provocative dual meanings. Phrases that brands would normally run a mile from, like “tested on animals,” or “supports big oil,” actually explain the durability of its tights. A ballsy move that should aid the brand in its move from niche to mainstream.
3. Penny: The Rift
Agency: Serviceplan Campaign
German retailer Penny won a Cannes Lions Grand Prix this year with its depressing but poignant spot 2021 holiday ad “The Wish.” This year’s follow-up is even more bleak (if that’s possible) but it's undeniably powerful, as rifts appear in an apartment block reflecting the divisions in society. The spot touches on Covid, Ukraine, climate change, immigration and more but ends on a note of hope.
2. Belvedere Vodka: Belvedere x Daniel Craig
If you thought you could predict what Daniel Craig in a luxury vodka ad would look like, think again. LVMH-owned Belvedere drafted in director Taika Waititi ("Jojo Rabbit," "Thor: Ragnarok") to craft the spot and the results are incredible as Craig grooves his way through Paris and struts his stuff in a five-star hotel. It's certainly an unexpected look for the Bond star and a chance to show off some astonishing moves (even if it reminded some people of the 2016 Spike Lee Kenzo ad.) We also love the funny out-takes that reveal Waititi being diva-like behind the camera. A bold and fun move for the brand that’s sure to get it some attention.
1. John Lewis: The Beginner
The U.K.’s John Lewis Christmas ad is always highly anticipated and has become something of a barometer of the country’s mood. This time, the retailer and its longtime agency have struck the right tone on that front with this sensitively handled story of a prospective foster father learning to skateboard. A blend of gentle humor, a track designed to evoke "modern nostalgia" (Blink-182’s “All the Small Things,” covered by Mike Geier) and a purposeful message about the company's commitment to children in care ensures that this campaign stays true to the well-known John Lewis formula while shining a light on an important and under-publicized issue. And the reaction so far? Poet Lemn Sissay, who grew up in care, told the BBC the ad was "phenomenal" and marked "a real moment in Christmas advertising."