Did you find “Man on the Moon” charming or did its sentimentality prompt waves of nausea? Were you baffled by Mulberry’s miraculous offering? Here, the Drapers team picks their favourite - and least favourite - 2015 Christmas ad campaigns.
Samantha Warrington, head of content production
Although much criticism has been written about the John Lewis “Man on the Moon” campaign – pointing out, for example, that an old man would be unable to survive in the airless atmosphere of the moon and that physics would prevent balloons from transporting a telescope to him – it has to be lauded for sidestepping an in-your-face sales pitch in favour of promoting greater awareness of older people who may be on their own at this time of year.
The least memorable ad has to be Debenhams’ ”Found it”. Having seen it many times already, I still could not recall the theme or the narrative without having to watch it again – with irritation. By attempting to appeal to all demographics, it fails to engage successfully with or appeal to any. And how can we be sure its present recipients aren’t skilled practitioners of “gift face” (see below)?
Charlotte Rogers, features and special reports writer
I don’t care what anyone, says: I love John Lewis’s “Man on the Moon”. From the dreamy rendition of an Oasis classic (courtesy of Norwegian songstress Aurora) to the cute-as-a-button little heroine and the charming gentleman himself, John Lewis’s Christmas 2015 advert has all the right ingredients for a bit of Christmas magic. So it might not be worth the staggering £5m investment, but I defy even the toughest cynic not to have a tear in their eye when the little girl’s present lands on the moon’s surface all tied up with ribbons. If nothing else, the advert is designed to encourage people to think about the plight of older people who might have to spend the festive season without friends or family, and for that reason alone the Man on the Moon deserves a big thumbs-up.
Jill Geoghegan, senior reporter
My favourite Christmas video this year was without a doubt from Harvey Nichols. More of an anti-Christmas campaign, the ad focuses on the “gift face” the department store claims 72% of adults pull when given an unwanted present. Funny, tongue-in-cheek and completely relatable, this one is a complete cracker.
Mulberry’s offering was my least favourite. The ad shows a woman receiving a red Mulberry bag on Christmas Eve, which causes unexpected visitors – including two shepherds and three men wearing festive crowns from Christmas crackers – to drop by and “share in the wonder of a miraculous gift”. Now don’t get me wrong, I would love to find a Mulberry Bayswater under the tree as much as the next girl or boy, but likening a handbag to Jesus – possibly a step too far.
Kirsty McGregor, news editor
Harvey Nichols did it for me this year, but then I would always choose humour (preferably with a twist of sarcasm) over sentimentality. It’s also possible I identify – to a worrying degree – with the woman in the ad. House of Fraser’s ad has also grown on me, as I think it’s one of the only ones that is really fashion-focused and makes you want to buy the clothes, alongside Net-a-Porter and Mr Porter’s first effort, which is beautifully shot and bang on message.
The one that left me a little cold was Very.co.uk. It’s almost there, but the faceless pink boxes don’t stir much emotion.
James Knowles, online content editor
This year House of Fraser has found a way to showcase its product via its “Your Christmas, Your Rules” ad in a way that is colourful, creative and memorable. Very.co.uk’s “The Journey” is a charming ad too, and you have to love Mulberry’s off-the-wall nativity-themed effort, complete with a withering stare from a sheep when one of the characters describes one of its totes as “just a bag”.
Debenhams’ 2015 Christmas ad is better than last year’s effort but, like its predecessor it feels quite underwhelming and low-budget compared to its rivals. There is nothing wrong with the “Found It” concept, but the department store could present it in a much more creative way.
Rebecca Dyer, deputy production editor
Somewhat controversially, I think I actually liked the Lidl ad best – it has a touch of humour and a cute dog, which always helps. Similarly, the Harvey Nichols ad uses humour to good effect, and both are easily relatable and quite human.