Matt Charlton: why the best Christmas ads of 2015 (and any other year) are the ones that get people talking

I’ve just watched about 40 Christmas ads in a row this morning after the agency Christmas party. It must be a unique test, close to the true consumer viewing experience of feeling slightly hung over and jaded. Millward Brown should adopt this methodology. It’s a new lens.

For me it’s about ads that feel like they launch a conversation vs just wrap the product up in massive cashmere mittens and huge productions. And there are a lot of beautifully produced ads that do feel rather like the latter.

And yesterday the loudest conversation I heard online was a clip of This Morning talking about Vaginal Steamers as a Christmas present. Can’t wait for the internet of things to connect with that.

Also there is so much focus on John Lewis and Sainsbury’s work this year, specifically because in previous years they launched conversations and not just ads. This year they feel a little too gentle to me. But there are a lot other really interesting ideas out there. Some of which generated conversations so they are my favourites.

So here are three I really like:

1) Mulberry. Love the idea of treating a handbag like baby Jesus. Very funny and also cheekily provocative and a new twist on a truth about Christmas. Product is central to the plot. Adam&eve are excellent at this type of stuff.

2) Kwik Fit. Tricking kids into thinking that they’ve met the real Santa, whose sleigh is being repaired at Kwik Fit is truly lovely to watch. And it didn’t need a huge production budget. It reminded me of what real Christmas magic looks like vs Adland post-produced Christmas magic. And well done Taylor Herring who made it. Who I’d not heard of before.

3) Warburtons. Miracles do still happen at Christmas when the agency manages to get the owner in the ad and he doesn’t come across like a complete idiot – and the ad is still excellent. Superb entertainment. The Muppets in full flow about crumpets. Brilliant writing in this and also production. And lots of people outside advertising have said “why didn’t you make something like this?” Answer, because we don’t have the account! But well done WCRS. My only slight issue I am not sure it’s really much about Christmas.

So based on my metric of what am I likely to talk about when hung over I am going for Kwik Fit and Taylor Herring on the grounds it’s a new agency name in the Christmas fame frame*.

*To add insult to injury Matt it’s a PR company (editor).

Unknown-5Matt Charlton is CEO of Brothers and Sisters.

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