All the 2021 Christmas campaigns in one place
As we all know, there’s no Christmas without a heartwarming, tear-duct-shattering series of lovely Christmas campaigns. Brands and agencies line up every year to release a stream of Christmas ads with incredible production value, and just like every year, here we all reporting them all.
This year, the worldwide shortage crisis has prompted many brands and advertisers to release their Christmas ads much earlier than usual, with some showing up as early as the 1st of October to catch early Christmas shoppers. Now, near the end of November, over 30 Christmas ads have been released.
If you are looking for a list of all the best 2021 Christmas ads, keep reading; here at Creativepool we took the liberty of collecting them all for you below!
The best 2021 Christmas ads
Surely Christmas ads make a lot of people happy. But after a relatively lukewarm Christmas in 2020, when a melancholic sentiment ran as the undertone of many Christmas ads, this year's adverts are much more jumpy, optimistic and eager to get back to normal, as families join together again and stories of change and reunion take the centre stage. Consumers were looking for far more optimistic messages this Christmas – and all the top brands delivered on that.
From Disney to Very, from Coca-Cola to Boots and John Lewis and anything in between, the best brands all compete for the consumer’s attention at Christmas time, and more so this year that a shortage crisis is in plain sight. That said, there have been no compromises on quality. The best Christmas ads this year all feature some elements of great storytelling and incredibly high production value. Enough to make any creative professional happy and inspired by taking a simple glimpse at the ads below.
There may not be much to stress your tear ducts this time around – but do watch out, as the most heart-wrenching surprises will pop up whenever you least expect them. So without further ado, let’s take a look at the best 2021 Christmas ads… So far.
1. ‘Unexpected Guest’ by adam&eveDDB for John Lewis
It was tough to choose a clear number one this year as the best 2021 Christmas ad, and to be completely honest, all of the ads in this first Top 10 are equally worthy of great praise for one reason or another. I'll get to each in turn, but out of all of these, John Lewis' Unexpected Guest is certainly one of the best. The usual values of sharing and kindness blend perfectly with an underlying message of acceptance, inclusion and diversity, and as the alien kid learns to discover Christmas on their own, we too are reminded about the beauty of the holiday season. A simple story perhaps, quite reminiscent of E.T.; but a great ad nonetheless.
2. ‘Imaginary Iggy’ by Leo Burnett London for McDonald’s
Coming up as a close second is McDonald's Christmas ad, one of the very few absolute tear-jerkers in this list. Growing up has its ups and downs, but as Imaginary Iggy reminds us, as we grow up, we also lose a little big part of ourselves. Playfulness progressively fades to make room for more pressing matters in life, and in a way, we can forget about our own origins and what made us truly special in the first place. But ignore my ramblings. Get acquainted with Imaginary Iggy, and get ready to see a story in which McDonald's shows up very little, yet finds a way to connect the adult and the child in a masterful narrative play. I was expecting no less of Leo Burnett.
3. ‘Real Magic at Christmas’ by DentsuMB UK for Coca-Cola
Santa loves shoving gifts down a chimney, but most flats don't even have a fireplace nowadays. The Coca-Cola Christmas ad doesn't quite prompt rivers of tears this time, but it's still a warm, delicate depiction of a selfless act from a selfless kid. Christmas is the time of children as much as adults, but as one of those adults gets left behind in the ad, DentsuMB shows us a building-wide attempt to bring a touch of Christmas into their day, re-integrating them in a much lively community. All thanks to the simplest idea ever.
4. ‘Bags of Joy’ by The Pharm (WPP) for Boots
With great direction and incredibly high production value, Boots went big this year with an ad featuring all-time Doctor Who fan-favourite Jenna Coleman as she becomes somewhat of a novel Mary Poppins for her family and friends. But just as she is exploring the endless possibilities of a much curious gift by her Nan, she will realise that the most precious thing at Christmas is... Well, you know that, don't you?
5. ‘Kindness, the Greatest Gift’ by Lucky Generals for Amazon
Lucky Generals went the Social Good way with this splendid Christmas ad, and masterfully so. Although I would have loved to see the final gift made a bit more personal, the gift itself is not what matters; with thousands of young adults suffering from anxiety over the course of the past two years, an act of unsolicited kindness is all many will need. Amazon wants everybody to know that, when the time comes, they will be there.
6. ‘A Christmas to Savour’ by Wieden & Kennedy London for Sainsbury’s
There's no going wrong when it comes to Sainsbury's Christmas ads. This year's effort may not be as spectacular or loud as some years prior, but it's impossible to not appreciate the tremendous amount of work that went into creating these still frames. With a family this diverse and unique, how can anything go wrong?
7. ‘Rebuild the World’ by LEGO
This is not the first time LEGO decides to go big, but in this case, they've done it with even more style. Following up the spectacular, colourful and lush ad from last year, the 2021 ad by the in-house team at The LEGO Agency shows that anything is possible, when you're following your imagination. Even rebuilding the world.
8. ‘The Stepdad’ by The Walt Disney Company
Disney has always been about family, unity and sharing. This year's ad hits the perfect sweet spot to talk about anything and everything that relates to Christmas – no matter what family you are part of. The eponymous 'Stepdad' of the ad is an extremely lovable character, one you can't help but empathise with as he attempts to bring the family together at Christmas. A beautiful, touching ad by the House of The Mouse.
9. ‘Go ALL OUT This Christmas’ by Mox for Sports Direct
Asbolutely bonkers, which is exactly what Christmas should feel like to most of us. This ad is all about having genuine fun, and I bet it was fun to shoot indeed, for everyone involved in production. It also has stellar direction, which doesn't hurt. Definitely a great one from Mox!
10. 'Paddington, Please Look After This Bear' by Thinking Juice for Barbour
I will always be a big fan of 2D animation, so I may be biased about this warm ad by Barbour's integrated creative agency Thinking Juice. Or perhaps it is simply as delightful as it looks, with Paddington Bear tasked with fixing a coat in time for Christmas, a story that is all about sustainability. A brief and lovely work of animation.
11. ‘A Christmas Carrot’ by McCann UK for Aldi
Aldi had us all worried when they teased an ad with Ebanana Scrooge – and no Kevin the Carrot in sight. Fortunately, only part of that was true, and Kevin was indeed back this year to deliver a lovely version of A Christmas Carol entirely made-in-Aldi. The ad is quite literally A Christmas Carol with bananas and carrots. What else do you need? It is splendidly animated too!
12. ‘Big on a Christmas you can ALWAYS believe in’ by Karmarama for Lidl
"Even when we're carving turkeys with lasers, we'll always be Lidl on price." You wouldn't think that a Lidl Christmas ad would turn into a Sci-Fi sensation, but you may want to re-adjust your expectations after reading this. This year's ad by Lidl and Karmarama plays on a simple given: that no matter how far into the future, Lidl will always be a guarantee. A bold statement for certain – but after all, who's going to be there in 300 years to verify it? Just pure genius.
13. ‘Give More Than A Gift’ by 72andSunny New York for Etsy
Beautiful series of ads by 72andSunny for Etsy. From meeting Santa to a warm relationship developing at a bus stop, the campaign follows a range of short scenes capturing all that is beautiful about Christmas and giving. Considering Etsy's focus on handmade, vintage and sustainability, we couldn't have asked for anything better.
14. ‘Percy’s First Christmas’ by Grey London for M&S Food
This may be Percy's first Christmas, but we definitely hope it won't be his last. When a Christmas fairy drops her wand by mistake on a Percy-textured wrapping paper, one of the piggies comes alive and starts exploring the M&S store to learn more about Christmas. As someone who's just come to life, Percy is surprisingly well-versed in English – which helps, of course. The ad is wonderfully animated and it shows the most iconic mascot in the M&S portfolio as the most adorable piggy you'll see on screen this year.
15. 'If I Were a Toy' by McCann Manchester for Smyths Toys
Smyths Toys went big with the power of imagination this year, letting their ad mascot Oscar explore a world made entirely of toys – where imagination runs wild and dreams come true. A simple idea for certain, but masterfully crafted nonetheless.
16. ‘#NothingsStoppingUs’ by BBH London for Tesco
New round, new absolutely mental ad from Tesco, with a hilarious short film playing on relatable scenes and joy. If last year's ad was all about finding the strength to still be yourself and indulge at Christmas, the 2021 ad goes an extra step and focuses on the nation's determination, encouraging everyone to enjoy Christmas at our fullest.
17. ‘We’re Better, Connected’ by VCCP London for O2
1.5 million homes in the UK are not connected to the Internet. It is O2's mission to change that for the entire nation – with the aid of their robot mascot Bubl, turned into a literal army. This ad is the second by O2 to deal with data poverty in the nation and, needless to say, it is absolutely beautiful.
18. ‘A Christmas Like Never Before’ by Debenhams
If there's one thing we can all relate to is Christmas poems from children in the holiday season. This year, Debenhams enlisted the sweet voice of a child to encourage us all to enjoy a Christmas "like never before", which we all much deserve after what we've just been through.
19. ‘House of Holiday’ by What's Possible for House of Fraser
House of Fraser is a place for many a wonder, and this year, the brand wants to make sure one clear message comes across: at House of Fraser, you can find anything to fulfil all your Christmas needs. The campaign focuses on the joy of Christmas, gifting and shopping, focusing on everything that makes the festive season so special – including the hectic shopping trips.
20. ‘Baubles to Last Year!’ by The&Partnership for Argos
Whatever happened last year, it's history now – 2021 will be a different story. This is the message from Argos in its 2021 Christmas ad, a celebration of determination across the nation, a feast for the eyes and a joyous display of energy to enjoy the Christmas season as it comes. Wonderful work.
21. ‘It’s The Very Best Excuse’ by Grey London for Very
In a much clever move, Very came out early with its Christmas ad this year. The brand was among the very first ones to release a Christmas ad, which to be fair, encourages viewers to start Christmas early this year. Well played, Very.
22. ‘Christmas to the Maxx’ by Wieden & Kennedy London for TK Maxx
Energy, energy, energy. One couldn't expect any less from the biggest Christmas campaign from TK Maxx to date. For the occasion, W&K London has crafted a masterful ad working around the story of a teenager, as he performs at a Christmas concert in his local town.
23. ‘Make Christmas Spectacular’ by Havas for Asda
And about spectacular shows, Asda's ad by Havas is all about making Christmas unique, explosive and spectacular, no matter where you are. Which looks even better if you do it on ice-skates, choreographed by Dancing on Ice associate creative director Daniel Whiston.
24. ‘Give the Gift of Connection’ by Ogilvy for Vodafone
Like O2, Vodafone acknowledges the data poverty in the UK and sets out to raise awareness of the Ofcom findings as part of its everyone.connected initiative. The ad promotes a much thoughtful initiative of Vodafone, accepting old phones and sim cards to give them to the less fortunate – saving them from digital poverty.
25. ‘JD Street’ by Cake (Havas) for JD Sports
Russ, Central Cee, JJ, Sancho, Jude, Trent, Arreee, Aitch, Tobi, Michael – you name it, JD has it. This year's visionary ad gathers some fan-favourite ballers, content creators and music artists all in one place, while turning the entire city into a gigantic dreamland in which every store uses "JD" as its initials. Surely the surreal direction will have more than one viewer confused, but this ad shows JD Sports' understanding of its target audience. If you're in it, you'll get it.
26. ‘Best Bit of Christmas’ by adam&eveDDB for Waitrose
There's little question that the best bit of Christmas is food. Well, okay, gifts are neat too, but anyone claiming otherwise clearly should attend a full-on Christmas lunch. As one of the main providers of food in the nation, Waitrose partnered with Ashley Jensen to put a very firm, very confident focus on food this year. The resulting ad is as hilarious and memorable as it can be.
27. ‘DOMIN-OH-HOO-HOO’ by VCCP for Domino’s
Domino's loves quirky ads, and this one's no different. Of course there's a special pizza involved, and of course there's some yodelling too, while the brand positions itself to reunite friends and family this Christmas season.
28. ‘The Ultimate Gift’ by Pablo for Deliveroo
And to remain in the realm of food, Deliveroo has delivered (pun intended) a bold festive ad by Pablo to celebrate people's love for food. You will probably nod along to many of the statements in the ad. After all, it's true that I can't see anyone wanting to refund a bucket of fried chicken.
29. ‘Christmas of Dreams’ by Selfridges
Christmas is the perfect time to dream about your future and your desires. But what is Christmas truly about? A whole lot of things, according to Selfridges' Christmas ad – a shame the festive extravaganza is a bit watered down by what appear to be a bit too many ideas thrown on screen. Still a great visionary ad with a vintage undertone, though, which we can only appreciate.
30. 'Real Moments, Real Magic' by McCann Manchester for Matalan
We wrap up this year's roundup of Christmas ads with homewares and fashion retailer Matalan, who partnered with McCann Manchester to deliver a lovely little Christmas ad about authenticity this year. Christmas is all about enjoying the real moments, after all; it doesn't have to be perfect. The festive season is only as special as you make it – and all the 2021 Christmas ads above have proven this and more.
Who knows what we'll see in 2022? One thing is certain; after the explosive energy of this Christmas, we can only have great expectations for what's to come.
Did we leave out a Christmas ad that you enjoyed this year? Let us know in the comments!