A cockapoo puppy named Rosie joined my family this year. I never cared for dogs but my wife and kids wanted one, and I was smitten. Hopelessly, helplessly smitten.

Rosie is one of the reasons I was so bowled over by the festive McVitie’s ad released this week.

“McVitie’s cute baby animals show the way for brands on Christmas TV ads”

Once I finished cooing over the menagerie of animals unleashed from that box of biccies, it occurred to me that - in these days when retailers’ Christmas ads get more attention than most Hollywood blockbusters - how unusual it was for a brand to pull out the advertising stops at Christmas.

There are exceptions, of course. Coke rolls out that Santa truck every 12 months. Stella reassures with a Christmas special. And last year Cadbury wrapped a street in purple paper. Oh, and Premier Foods is, touchingly, screening its 1984 Oxo ad this Christmas as a tribute to Lynda Bellingham. But I’d love to see more, and see brands steal some of the thunder from the retailers.

And if McVitie’s needs a furry little extra next year, Rosie won’t take much persuading to get into a box of biscuits.