106 Communications

6th Sense

Six Christmas ads – and not a penguin in sight.

November 2014 | 6th Sense

Busy afternoon here at 106 Comms sub-HQ (aka my kitchen table). With just 41 days to go until Christmas, it’s time to decide upon the Official Supermarket Christmas Supplier to the Magee Family 2014.

But where to begin? Surely one chain’s eggnog is as good as the next? And doesn’t every supermarket offer a quail-in-a-pigeon-in-a-duck-in-a-chicken-in-a-turkey roast these days?

When it comes to making important decisions like this, I like to turn to that most trusted source of reliable, unbiased information. Advertising.

So here’s my take on this year’s stocking-full of festive supermarket ads. Not a penguin in sight – and I do have a winner. Fancy that. Well, life’s full of #lidlsurprises.

Waitrose

Tissue rating: absolutely and resolutely dry-eyed

Magee Family Christmas Supplier 2014? No.

I think I’ve seen this one before, only then it featured a boy and his carrot. The Waitrose take for Christmas is a girl and her gingerbread biscuits. Where’s the magic and sparkle? Where are the Christmas lights? Even the girl is grey and washed out. Waitrose does fantastic food –but you don’t see any of that here. Not happy enough for me. I’m drowning in the pathos, and that’s not what I want at Chrimbo.

Aldi/Asda

Tissue rating: none. Not even a lump in my throat.

Magee Family Christmas Supplier 2014? Nope.

These two have merged into one for me. Move along now, nothing to see – even Jools Holland can’t lift the proceedings. And why is there only one black family in nearly 3 minutes’-worth of advertising? Talk about a white Christmas.

Sainsbury’s

Tissue rating: I got through two packets.

Magee Family Christmas Supplier 2014? No.

The trickiest of all to review. Undoubtedly well-intentioned, and with the added backing from the Royal British Legion, this is a cinema-worthy epic. But still, advertising is about making money; how can one supermarket take proposition of a nationally-owned event for its own commercial gain? I wish this had been created as an act of remembrance by all the major retailers, with all proceeds going to charity. Instead, and judging by my Facebook feed, Saino’s stands to make itself a lot of money from this. I’m not convinced the RBL will make as much from the chocolate bars.

Tesco

Tissue rating: surprisingly, one packet’s worth.

Magee Family Christmas Supplier 2014? Not quite, but a close second…

You want sparkle??? You want twinkle??? Ho Ho Ho – the Tesco ad delivers. No food, no Christmas table, no family schmaltz – this is a universal Tesco sitting at the heart of everybody’s local community. The Wigan store is lit up with a spectacular Christmas show following a tweet last year from a local who complained it was lacking its ‘Christmas hat’. Fabulous, totally inclusive – and as festively kitsch as The Wizard of Oz on Christmas Eve.

Lidl

Tissue rating: none. But don’t let that put you off.

Magee Family Christmas Supplier 2014? Yes! We have a winner.

Using word of mouth as their marketing strategy is completely integral to the Lidl brand, because that’s exactly how their reputation has grown over the last two years. It’s mums in the playground and friends round the dinner table who’ve turned Lidl into the current supermarket darling of the middle-classes. This ad works for me because it’s happened to me – that surprise when my friend tells she gets her delicious food from Lidl. It’s like finding out about a secret club. I love the minimal branding in the ad, the audacious mentions of M&S and Waitrose, and the build to the reveal at the end. It’s all about value for money, done in a low-key, authentic and believable way.

Phew. I’m exhausted. All this cheese has nearly put me off Christmas altogether. Time for a fortifying glass of sherry and a slice of stilton. From Lidl, you ask? Well that’d be telling.

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