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Opinion and Insight

(Almost) Every 2019 Christmas Ad, Ranked from Worst to Best

Wordbeast Content Consultant Tom Ewing does the hard work so you don’t have to with an epic festive review that sorts the turkeys from the tinsel

(Almost) Every 2019 Christmas Ad, Ranked from Worst to Best

Sick of Christmas ads? You don’t know how lucky you are. I’ve spent the last three weeks collecting and reviewing every TV and online video Christmas campaign I can find, and the big names are the tip of a twinkling, pine-scented slushberg.

My pain is LBB’s gain - here is the definitive ranking, from worst to best, of  (almost) every UK Christmas ad this year. Based on style, strategy, a pinch of System1’s test results, a dab of popular opinion and a big dose of “are they big enough to know better?”. But mainly on whether I like them or not - and, Grinch though I am, I’m swayed sometimes by a bit of seasonal magic too.

OK, maybe this list doesn't quite cover EVERY Christmas ad. I’ve spared the blushes of the “online retailer” whose ad is a shaky phone video of their kids opening fake presents, and the estate agent whose festive epic is an old Migros ad with their logo plonked at the end.

Even so, I’ve found 68 campaigns so far. Let’s start at the bottom of the tree, where among the fallen needles and Quality Street wrappers we find…


68. HP - “Print The Holidays” 

I’ve groaned at lots of Christmas ads this year, but this is the only one I’ve actively raged against. You can’t fault HP for effort - they’ve hired Michel Gondry, who did a John Lewis ad a couple of years back, and he’s deployed the puzzle-box perspective he used to use in his music vids. So it looks great - but the content sucks. It’s a 12 Days Of Christmas riff - never a good idea, it always ends up cluttered - with a glib anti-screens message. Put down your phones, kids, and go and do some crafting (using your... printer, I guess?). It’s twee pandering to modern-day scolds. As a kid, I’d have murdered for a smartphone to escape the relatives at Christmas, and I bet the HP marketers would have too.


67. Debenhams

Was it only two years ago that Debenhams were hiring Ewan MacGregor to provide a purring voiceover for a Christmas love story? No such ambition these days. They still have the PR muscle to get coverage for their ad, but it’s horribly generic: an unremarkable hustle of blink-and-you’ll-miss-them product lines with no warmth or visible ideas.


66. Currys PC World - “Big Crimbo Giveaway” 

A campaign in which real celebrities get to interact with real Currys PC World salespeople. Jolly on paper, horribly awkward on screen, especially when the sales guy fluffs the punchline at the end. Is the idea that talking to a Currys PC World employee - lovely though they all are, I’m sure - represents a holiday highlight? If so, I have news.


65. Hitachi Cooling And Heating - “#airisjoy”

Come for the two seconds of footage which makes this oddity a “holiday ad”, stay for the awful pun at the end. Has the feel of something designed to jazz up the crowd at air conditioning conferences.


64. Clogau Gold

A man gives his partner a gold ring. Thirty years on, she still has the ring - but of the man, only memories remain. This is not the last time we’ll encounter the “oh no he’s dead” twist in a Christmas ad -  oddly, since it doesn’t obviously lend itself to seasonal cheer.


63. Iceland - “The Magic Of Frozen” 

I’ve never been lucky enough to work with Disney licensing departments but I assume there are some pretty brutal restrictions involved. That may be why the pun in the title is as creative as this gets - instead we get 20 seconds of Frozen II advertising and a shot of a heaving table at the end. A ruthless eyeball heist, but it does nothing for the brand. 


62. Freemans 

Aside from the Winehouse-a-like soundtrack, this could be a catalogue ad from any time in the last 30 years. Tight idea budgeting extends to the execution - one actor, celebrating Christmas entirely alone. Reaches a peak of existential sadness when we see her doing snow angels on her own, laughing, perhaps to hold back the tears.


61. Bonprix

“It’s the season…” - what season? The season where women in sparkly tops walk through a white void, of course.


60. Smyths Toy Superstore - “If I Were A Toy”

Our first brush with another Xmas perennial, The Song With Changed Lyrics. Poor old Beyonce gets the treatment, and a warbling child to sing it too, with “If I Were A Toy”. In the news desert while we waited for bigger ads, there were rumours this contained hidden swears. I haven’t been able to stomach the singing enough to search, or even to check if the ad contains anything imaginative beyond its Toy Story premise.


59. Watcho - “Watches Play An Important Part In Memorable Moments”

If by some chance you’d failed to realise what Watcho sells, this advert is eager to clear things up. They are here to sell watches, and by thunder, you’re going to see every man, woman and baby looking at their watch before their 70 seconds are done.


58. Swan

This is here as a stand-in for a parade of household goods ads where there’s a sprig of holly or a shake of sleigh bells to justify the claim that it’s a “Christmas ad”. Kitchen appliance brand Swan makes an effort to wring emotion out of replacing your kettle, but nobody’s fooled.


57. Asda - “Let’s Make Christmas Extra Special”

Whimsical fairytale, heavy on the effects, but which can’t settle on an emotional throughline - is it about the sister’s relationship with her brother? Her grandad? Is it about using “Santa’s magic” to do people a favour, or just to unleash Christmas anarchy on the world? It tries to be a bit of everything, and ends up chaotic and twee - and it doesn’t feel like it has anything much to do with Asda, either.


56. Game - “Get It Right With Game”

There’s a comical disjunction between the visuals - staged footage of people on sofas opening presents - and the aggressively grimey soundtrack. As we’ll see, there are ways to use grime in a Christmas ad - this slapdash effort isn’t one of them.


55. Studio - “Dec The Halls” 

An ad that melts from the memory like a disappointing flurry of snow. Has no intent or ambition beyond saying “Hi, I’m a shop, and guess what - I’m open at Christmas.” Well I never.


54. Disney - “A Disney Christmas 2019”

When one company controls almost all the most popular IP in the world, it doesn’t need to do much beyond sticking it in an ad and pressing go. It’s all awfully lazy, but if you owned Elsa, Buzz Lightyear, Spider-Man and Star Wars (oh, and Mickey Mouse) you’d probably do the same.


53. Sure Petcare - “The Bell Family”

This low on the list mostly for how long it is. Surely after 30 seconds you’ll already know if you’re the kind of person who wants your catflap to text you.


52. Dogsy - “More Than Just A Gift” 

Unintentionally the weirdest Christmas ad of the year - a scene from family life directed with a slow-motion intensity which makes it feel like a David Lynch dream sequence. Why is the girl so sad? Why is the Dad so creepy? What the hell is in that box? Only two of these questions get answered.


51. Dobbies - “Dobbie The Tenth Reindeer” 

This one tested staggeringly well with audiences. Call me a Grinch, but I’m not sure what they’re seeing. What I’m seeing is a stab by Britain’s top garden centre chain at mining the very over-worked Santa/Rudolph vein with an idea that relates to their brand in no identifiable way.


50. Vodafone - “Christmas Unlimited”

Vodafone clearly believe in re-gifting, as this is an edit of July’s “Be Unlimited” ad with a Christmas tree, wreath and snowfall added in post. A thrifty answer to the Christmas budget dilemma - the dancetastic ad itself still comes off as an own-brand version of the Spike Jonze Apple one.


49. Lidl - “A Christmas You Can Believe In”

Ads like this had a vogue a few years ago as a kind of counter-wave to the John Lewis style - never mind the fantasy, here’s the authentic Christmas. Sainsbury’s even made an hour long film on these lines. For all that fantasy and wonder is a big part of a successful Christmas ad, too much of it is like too many chocolate coins - you do need a satsuma in the mix. Lidl’s main problem is that the voiceover is so bumptiously proud of the strategy that I don’t get a chance to feel much about the film.


48. Prezzybox - “Creating Moments Of Happiness”

Like Lidl, an ad which suffers from its entirely harmless visuals being saddled with a voiceover that’s just someone reading out the brief. If you last to the end you get the brand mission statement too.


47. Charlotte Tilbury - “Make Their Beauty Dreams Come True”

God bless beauty brand Charlotte Tilbury and their dedication to rewriting the lyrics of Christmas songs so they’re about “magic cream”. “Have Yourself A Charlotte Tilbury Christmas” isn’t quite up there with last year’s syllable-defying take on “Santa Baby”, sadly.


46. Homebase - “Let The Festivities Begin”

There’s a solid observation here, but a slightly mean one, in this nicely-done vignette of a mum whose perfectly primped and placed Christmas decor is disrupted by her kid’s hideous homemade ornament. I suppose I’m not quite sure whose side Homebase are on - there’s a six-year-old’s “pig angel” at the top of my tree, so I know where I stand at least.


45. Dunelm - “Christmas With The Fullers” 

There are moles less down-to-earth than Dunelm’s Christmas spots, which are just a family on a sofa telling us about their decorations. Part of a year-round campaign of ordinary-customer testimonials, where the steady drip of authenticity is intended to gradually erode the rock of brand unfamiliarity. All very worthy, if sparkle-free.


44. Ambrose Wilson

Firmly into the mid-ranking now, of brands who do nothing wrong but nothing spectacularly right (and were met by consumers by the testing equivalent of a mildly appreciative nod). Plus-size catalogue retailer Ambrose Wilson nicely captures its heroine’s anticipation of a successful Christmas party.


43. Middletons - “Comfort And Joy” 

They make mobility scooters and self-elevating chairs, so here are people at Christmas enjoying their new mobility scooters and self-elevating chairs. Job done.


42. Sky Cinema HD

It’s the twelve days of Christmas again, but this time it’s recent movies. Thanos and the lads aren’t by nature that festive, so the framing device is having to work too hard here.


41. Cineworld - “Charades”

Cineworld’s noisy ad got something of a monstering in the ad press - hard to work out why, it’s in-your-face but harmless and does a better job of being excited about Star Wars than the franchise’s actual owner.


40. Pepsi - “Try A New Tradition 2019” 

Perhaps only Pepsi’s Mum could tell you the difference between this and its 2018 incarnation, but I put it in anyway because I love how unashamedly it subtweets (sub-ads?) its main competitor. Who needs your so-called traditions like Santa and trucks when you can deck your surfboards in fairy lights for a midnight swim? Certainly these experience-craving millenials have nothing in common with Coke’s jolly, red-suited Santa. Except non-existence.


39. Selfridges - “Future Fantasy: A Christmas For Modern Times”

“Modern Times” is code for trap beats, a Christmas rave, and festive slam poetry from Little Simz. Pitched at well-off Londoners with a box of old style mags in storage from two moves ago. “You’re the reason I voted leave” fumes some old trout in the YouTube comments. “Cringe”, says someone else, and you don’t have to be a youth culture maven to get the sense the brand are trying just a teensy bit too hard.


38. JD Sports - “JD Comes Alive”

There’s a sort of wax museum meets mannequin challenge idea in here, but in essence this is very similar to the Selfridges ad - except the people raving look like they’re having fun.


37. The Sardar Company - “Have A Beardful Christmas”

A middle-aged gent gets his Santa gear on but he’s concerned about his beard quality. Step forward The Sardar Company, Sikh turban and beard specialists whose soft-focus Christmas ad boasts the best title of the year.


36. Plotagon

Plotagon is an animation software package whose showcase ad has the viewer stared at by frisky elves. Equal parts very funny and very wrong - no other ad has sashayed up and down this list so much.


35. Boots - “Introducing Bootiques”

There’s a strong insight here around the difficulty of gifting well in a culture that feels like it’s moving faster than ever. But the execution is bizarre, an aggressively quirky montage which replicates that anxiety rather than doing much to allay it. I can’t remember one of the traditional big Xmas advertisers making something this tonally weird, and it’s a shame that risk doesn’t become a more coherent ad.


34. WWF - “Adopt A Better Future”

Old hands at Christmas campaigns, the WWF know how to make an ad feel timely - this one has a steely-eyed Greta-a-like facing down Amazon devastation, combining the two most salient eco-symbols of the year in one elegantly animated package.


33. Guide Dogs - “Henry”

Another animated Rudolph riff, this time from one of Britain’s most popular charities. In charitable terms, Guide Dogs have it easy - they’ve got an excuse to show off beautiful animals and they can tell a feelgood story every time. Where most charity ads try and grab you by the scruff of the neck, they can afford to play it cosy at Christmas, and I’m sure they do well from it.


32. Save The Children - “Christmas Jumper Day 2019”

Precocious tyke “Coach Christmas” gets office workers motivated for some organised jumper fun. As enforced corporate jollity goes, Christmas Jumper day is one of the least worst, and while this kid treads the line between amusing and infuriating, tongues are just enough in cheek for it to get a Christmas pass even from this fun-hater.


31. Halfords - “The Gift That Keeps On Giving”

Twenty seconds of a kid on a bike at the seaside. The Christmas ad equivalent of Brian Eno’s Music For Airports; nothing happens and that’s the point. Everything about this one fits together beautifully - the scenery, the tranquillity, the concept. It feels churlish to worry that it might not actually shift any bikes.


30. Cat Cave Company

Hand-in-hand with the rise of the mega-budget Christmas ad has come the ultra-low-budget small business Christmas ad, thanks to the democratising power of YouTube. When I’m in charge of testing Christmas ads, I love throwing brands like Cat Cave Co in against the big stores - they often do a lot better with the public. Basic execution, but you know what? It knows its market and gets the idea out with a charm and economy which puts some highly strategic campaigns to shame.


29. Gemporia - “After Dark In The Gemporia Warehouse”

A cute robot sets up a Christmas tree in this cheery budget take on the John Lewis creature-feature. Gemporia are a TV shopping channel, and this could have been in-your-face sales hell, so credit to them for trying something a little more ambitious.


28. Very - “Pass The Parcel”

I’m fond of Very’s animated style and strong use of its brand asset - those glowing pink boxes. There’s some lovely bits of animation in this, with the box tossed between residents of a busy street. But it feels a little bit too compressed, like it could have used more set-up to land its emotional finish. Not every brand has the wherewithal for a 60- or 90-second piece, of course.


27. M&S Clothing - “Go Jumpers”

M&S were confident enough about this to have a sequel in the bag, and I’m more entertained by this than by the tired Winter Wonderland style fantasias they used to run. I’m just not totally convinced I’d buy a Christmas jumper from M&S - but that’s a factor of the brand’s lost sense of direction more than this dogged try at a viral ad.


26. Dogs Trust - “A Dog Is For Life”

The animators who created the cork puppy star of this ad should be up for multiple craft awards - it’s a heartbreaking creation, and its story is wonderfully realised. The only reason the ad is this low is that it’s mercilessly sad. Maybe it has to be to get the point across one more time, but I feel it’s one of those messages everyone’s internalised - they defy it because they think they’ll be different.


25. M&S Food - “This Is M&S Christmas Food”

M&S make tasty nosh and know how to show it off in ads: no surprises there. The original food pornographers do well this year in grabbing a pair of celebrities with an easy chemistry and going to town on the Christmas market setting, which gives the right seasonal dressing to their product parade and turns it into a brand-building ad.


24. TK Maxx - “Gift Different” 

A couple years ago TK Maxx gave away a (slightly tongue-in-cheek) ‘perfect Christmas’ complete with lorryloads of snow - they like having a good go at standing out with a different take on the Yule ad. This year their gift-flinging downhill skier has some of the noisily surrealist vibe of the classic 118 ads.


23. Cadburys - “Secret Santa”

Back for a second bite this year, a stylish campaign which sees Cadbury continue to position chocolate as a gift, a sign of friendship, something to share, etc. - signs even the old faithful ‘indulgence’ platform may be a bit too much for these health-driven times. The only bit which jars for me is the winsome piano-led pop cover - my personal Santa’s list for the 2020s sees us finally leaving this trick behind.


22. Barbour - “125 Years Of Christmas”

Raymond Briggs’ Santa gets a makeover, ditching the threadbare red suit for some posh all-weather gear. Well-done, though perhaps outstays its welcome a little. Post “The Snowman”, Briggs’ Santa has become just another Christmas icon - I’m not sure the working-class deliveryman of the original book, with his grumpy work ethic, would have gone for a Barbour.


21. Costa Coffee - “Wish Upon A Costa”

There are few more joyful moments in this year’s ads than when our bear protagonist in this gentle animation embraces its friend - let’s hope that coffee wasn’t hot. Not every ad needs a story, and Costa and their animators choose to run with a feeling instead - a relaxing break from the Christmas frenzy, friends and coffee at hand. Simple but effective.


20. Issey Miyake - “#findyourmagicallight”

Perfume ads at Christmas generally look like perfume ads at any other time of year, i.e. expensive and baffling. Two brands this year tried something different. First up is Issey Miyake’s dancing scent bottles playing in the snow, a modest but playful and endearing piece with shades of Hershey’s much-loved stop-motion “Jingle Bells” animation. 


19. Loewe’s - “An Otter’s Tale”

Likely to be some people’s least favourite, high end bag brand Loewe’s offers a heady and perplexing art-house take on the animal-centric Christmas ad. (Spoiler: the otter ends up as a bag). It’s a tribute to ceramicist William De Morgan, apparently - but fashionistas of a certain age might be reminded just as much of 80s childhood icons Masquerade and The Box Of Delights. 


18. Thomann Music - “Some Gifts Become Legacy”

One of this year’s unheralded gems, music gear retailer Thomann offers a time-travelling parade of yesterday’s gifts that didn’t quite stand the test of time, from brick phones to hippie garments. A guitar, on the other hand, will last. The pop charts of 2019 may have other ideas, but this entertaining mix of nostalgia and mockery deserves its high place on ours.


17. Boden - “Christmas For Every Body”

A crossbreed of Christmas with one of this decade’s defining ad formats - the candid-camera style mini-documentary. In this case Boden treats a bunch of NHS workers to a slap-up feast and a party makeover. What makes it work - as is often the case - isn’t the staged set-up, it’s the likeable bunch who we see benefitting. Low on surprise, high on goodwill.


16. Ralph Lauren

Here’s the other perfume ad I rated - a classy and cuddly outing from Ralph Lauren Fragrances, with a bear getting ready for Christmas in a very swanky looking Manhattan apartment. For a solo turn by someone in a bear suit, there’s a remarkable amount of feeling in the performance, conjuring awkwardness, eagerness, and a little bit of the season’s melancholy.


15. Amazon - “Everybody Needs Somebody”

As someone who’s been running testing on Christmas ads for a while, it’s been fascinating to see the evolution of Amazon’s singing parcels device. The company’s famously iterative approach to innovation is on show here too - the parcels have become more expressive, the singing cast more varied, and a bit more story has crept in too. The brand is trying to forge a holiday tradition, and if the ever-rising popular appreciation for its ads is any guide, it’s working.


14. Aldi - “Kevin The Carrot: The Greatest Show”

Adland commentators are starting to grouch about Kevin, which is almost certainly a sign that he’s starting to really take root with the public. For the second year running, Kevin’s trailer (with the Leafy Blinders) promised a more interesting ad than we actually got, with the jump into circus antics and Robbie Williams rather jagged. Good populist fun, even so - long may he avoid the chop.


13. McDonalds - “Reindeer Ready 2019”

In what’s becoming a theme this year, McDonalds refine earlier years’ ideas and make a better ad for it. The initial pleasure of the “reindeer ready” joke - McDs sell carrot sticks - has faded, and it’s forced the brand into stronger storytelling. Bits of this are borrowed from other ads - the not-really-a-reindeer is Monty The Penguin, of course, and the oblivious Dad is straight out of the BBC’s 2017 ‘talent show’ ad. But they’re solid borrowings and the payoff delivers.


12. Zalando - “Christmas Ball” 

There’s something poignantly European about this story of a young man taking his old nan (or just an elderly pal) to the ball - we could be in Berlin, Vienna, or any other great Winter city. Stylised, but graceful, and gives itself room to breathe. I was tempted to push it up even higher for its terrific use of T.Rex, which gives the whole thing an understated melancholy.


11. Visa - “#whereyoushopmatters” 

Like HSBC’s embrace of local civic pride, I’m not 100% convinced by Visa’s positioning as the champion of the small business underdog. But it’s a stirring execution - on similar lines (ironically) to Amazon’s ad, but done with more heart. Perhaps I’m reading in a hint of desperation too, but perhaps I’m not: times really are tough, after all.


10. Tesco - “Delivering Christmas” 

Into the Top 10, and I can’t remember the last time Tesco had a Christmas ad this strong. Their positioning in recent years has all been about the salt-of-the-earth Tesco experience - ordinary folk, great prices, authenticity, and all that. Consistent, but outgunned by rivals on entertainment every year. The Back To The Future riff is a way of keeping the focus on Tesco’s food and delivery service while putting a touch of magic back in. None of the individual vignettes or jokes are that great but they accumulate into something very merry.


9. Montezumas - “The Gift That Won’t Go Wrong”

One of the best animated ads this year comes from a small chocolate brand, telling a Lewisian story of a bear (another bear! This is the last bear, I promise) and the terrible gift choices he gets from well-meaning friends. There’s more bite in the telling here than you might expect, and I felt genuinely sorry for the big old lug as gift after gift doesn’t work out. A charming spin on the “last resort” nature of chocolate-giving.


8. Walkers - “All Mariah Carey Wants For Christmas”

Walkers are still finding their feet a little in a post-Lineker world, though this guest star is a coup by any measure. The recent ads - this and the summer’s Spice Girls one - are keeping up the basic idea of celebrities resorting to diva-ish behaviour to get their hands on crisps. The press gleefully pointing out that Mariah doesn’t really like crisps feels a bit like not getting the joke. Funny enough to bear repeat viewings.


7. Burberry - “What Is Love?” 

The line between a pisstake of a fashion Christmas ad and an actual fashion Christmas ad gets thinner every year, and I’m loving it. I’m lost for ideas on whether this stuff is effective or not, but nothing in any ad this year made me laugh more than Burberry dressing some poor sod up as a faun and getting him to shuffle across the set like he’s in a 1990 indie video while a voice says “What is love? I think I know.” Less Laplander, more Zoolander.


6. Sainsburys - “Nicholas The Sweep” 

Back in the land of ads where the strategy can be discerned by mere mortals, we have Sainsbury’s 150th birthday blockbuster. Sainsbury’s at Xmas seem to operate on a cycle - every few years they really go all out to win the ‘Christmas Ad Battle’, then retreat and do feeble stuff like their karaoke number. This is the brand in attack mode, with an armful of corny jokes overlaying a story that’s a brand origin as well as a Santa one. It’s trying to get a lot done, perhaps too much, but the tongue-in-cheek approach works, and makes it feel more like a compressed panto than an ad.


5. Joules - “Christmas At The Click Of A Button”

Not a second wasted in this 30-second spot, with retailer Joules getting the absolute most value they can from guest-stars Wallace And Gromit. As with the Muppets guesting in a Warburtons ad, the crucial thing is to make sure the hired characters don’t ring false, and the simple joke here feels like it jumped out of one of the duo’s own Christmas specials. Add in a neat marriage of gag and brand message and you have a very impressive short ad.


4, KFC - Assorted ads

The best multi-execution campaign this year - KFC takes defiant aim at the traditional Christmas turkey in a series of sharp, stylish 10-second animations spotlighting turkey disasters and wishing cooks good luck. All ring horribly true. Mother’s best KFC work - this included - has the irreverent flair and brand honesty of some of the classic British advertising from Pot Noodle to Tango.


3. Argos - The Book Of Dreams

A friend of mine rates Simple Minds’ “(Don’t You) Forget About Me” as the worst song ever recorded. Could they sustain such Grinchiness in the face of this burst of joy, I wonder? Some would point to Argos’ digitisation of their 80s catalogues - the books of dreams themselves - as their real marketing coup this year, but for me the ad is still the centre. The key is how an ad about indulging your dreams also indulges itself - it’s the first ad I can remember with a drum solo - but it never feels long.


2. John Lewis/Waitrose - Excitable Edgar

The John Lewis hype had begun to grate a bit after a series of ads - bouncing dogs, bed monsters - which were… fine. Good, even. But nowhere near good enough to justify the brand’s status as Christmas linchpin. Elton last year was much better, but probably a stronger ad for Elton John than for the shop. But this year they pulled it off - Edgar is a superb bit of filmmaking, centred on a tremendous performance by Ruby Dailly as Ava: never has the bond between child and CGI beast been so convincing. Bringing Waitrose and Partners in lets the ad climax with a feast, which always feels good, and the whole thing has the satisfying warmth of a Julia Donaldson storybook. 


1. IKEA - Silence The Critics

For good and for bad, our clutter is part of what makes us human, Marie Kondo be damned. IKEA’s ad is snarky, even a little mean, certainly barely festive. So why do I love it so much?

A little of it’s the pleasure of hearing D Double E, whose “Birds In The Sky” blew me away back in my pop critic days, playing a set of plastic scolds with such relish. “Bringing grime to the masses” trumpeted The Guardian. But what Mother and IKEA have done here is a bit more subtle - the real joy is that there’s nothing incongruous about D Double E’s presence, because the ad finds a way of making all the ad libs and idiosyncracies of grime work as part of the story, not just as its soundtrack.

To get fancy for a moment, it’s finding a way to use grime as diegetic sound - stuff that’s happening inside the world the ad builds. The usual way ads use hip-hop and similar music is as - ironically - a kind of ornament, something to lend a borrowed cred to banal scenes of cars, parties, dancing, etc. Grime has been around for 15+ years now, hip-hop for 40, and I can’t think of any advert until now that has managed to use them in a way that feels not just natural, but funny. 

So yes, it’s barely a Christmas ad, and the older I get the more I disagree with its central idea. But in the end, a season of Christmas ads turns on the moments which lodge in the brain, and no moment delighted me more this year than a crappy toy dinosaur saying “very, very, very, very, very unacceptable”.

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