As the hushed Coca-Cola choir always tells us around this time of year, the holidays are coming, which means the high street’s big guns have unveiled their Christmas ad campaigns – and it’s a season of contrasts.
John Lewis has once again tugged on the heartstrings but has moved on from last year’s cheeky chappy and his eager anticipation of the big day. This time a great dollop of nostalgia has been slathered on the quiet and emotion-packed promotion to the soundtrack of a breathless rendition of Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s Power of Love, as a snowman embarks on an epic journey across motorways and over mountains to get Mrs Snowman a hat, gloves and scarf set to keep the chill off. It’s been known to bring a tear to the eye of fully grown, cynical human beings and has clearly set the standard for Christmas campaigns.
It’s interesting then that Marks & Spencer has produced a completely different style of ad for its seasonal gambit. Much in the mould of its previous ads, the M&S campaign is a riot of colour and celebration but for this outing Twiggy, Lisa Snowdon, Jamie Redknapp, Dannii Minogue and the gang have all been left out in the cold, replaced by a jolly bunch of models of all ages representing the same customers the famous faces did but without the eye-watering price tags. Kids explode out of gifts in a shower of confetti. Gangs dance in a surreal ‘Britain’s Got Talent and a Penchant for Competitively Priced Clothing’ kind of way. Snowballs are hurled and lipstick applied. The soundtrack is as eclectic as the product categories M&S is trying to show side-by-side (INXS next to Kool & The Gang anyone?) as jim-jams mix it with jumpers, pencil skirts and scarves.
I suppose we’ll only know whether the feelings or frocks approach works best when the sales start, which should be, oh, right about now.