The second wave of Christmas TV campaigns celebrate the workaday, but also invoke Groundhog Day and Willy Wonka.


Total score: 23.5/30

PC: Sainsbury’s focuses on the little truisms we all encounter in the lead-up to Christmas day. The idea that ‘Christmas is about more than just one day’ helps to separate Sainsbury’s from its competitors, who seem to be concentrating on the day itself. These lack the big budget pizzazz seen in other campaigns, but are sure to resonate well with families nationwide. Proof that when you need stand-out, it’s the thought that counts.7/10

RM: These ads are a refreshing surprise. Firstly, no Jamie.Secondly, the idea of a range of families experiencing the 12 days leading up to Christmas is just what it needs. Thirdly, that these ads will air at the same time of day but you see a different one is a lovely touch. And lastly that it gives ‘permission’ to break open the goodies early, and not wait for the day the food has been stockpiled for, will help to increase sales.8.5 /10

SR: Sainsbury’s has noticed that if it makes its Christmas campaign about a single day, then it might miss out on the shopping people do for all the other days in the festive season. So it has made a suite of ads about what people do on these ‘other’ days of Christmas. The campaign is well written, well shot, well cast and a far cry from Jamie shouting “Merry Christmas” at us in Mockney.8/10


Total score: 21.5/30

PC: From decorating the Christmas tree to writing a hundred Christmas cards, the festive season is always a busy time for mums. This ad brings to life all the difficulties in making the perfect family Christmas a reality, with a series of alternative and slightly surreal scenes. It’s stylishly shot with a gorgeous soundtrack and great casting, which helps it feel real, warm and heartfelt. 9/10

RM: Much like the Asda TV ad, this also focuses on the tireless effort of mum. The Groundhog Day-like opening brought a smile to my face, and I enjoyed the touches of surreal humour - from the fight with the turkey to the infinitely opening cupboard. It resonates well with what the audience goes through. The only part that jars is mum at the end. She looks like she’s about to have a breakdown. It doesn’t make me think Morrisons was there throughout, while the Asda offering made us believe it was the support behind mum.6.5 / 10

SR: A darkly operatic situation tragedy. We see Everymum writing a mountain of Christmas cards, wrestling with a turkey, and not having a big enough hob. It’s all very clever, but isn’t advertising’s job to make us feel how wonderful things could be, rather than remind us how hard we already know they are?6/10


Total score: 18.5/30

PC: I loved the Aldi Like Brands campaign, and although it’s great to see one of the Aldi Christmas ads follow this format, its other Christmas creatives don’t. With the two ‘Specially Selected’ ads being more traditional in offering consumers quality at lower prices, they fail to entertain anywhere near as much as Aldi’s brand-focused TV spots.6/10

RM: I love the Like Brands ads - they’re funny and engaging and this works well too. The other two ads are a brave direction that show it is how you dress up food that makes it look premium. It would be more powerful if they ran these without a voiceover until the end line ‘It’s beginning to look like Aldi’. The audience would have thought they were watching an M&S or Waitrose ad.7.5/10

SR: Aldi has been running a splendid and witty campaign recently, structured around advertising a product from a well-known brand and its less well-known Aldi-ternative equivalent. I was pleased to see that they’ve produced a Christmas version, featuring mince pies and an electricity bill. But the Christmas campaign tells you they’re not for other ‘posh’ shops such as Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Fortnum & Mason and Harvey Nichols. We didn’t need to be told that. And I don’t like it so much.5/10


Total score: 15/30

PC: With snow, jingling bells, presents and magic Christmas dust, there’s no shortage of Christmas clichés as we see the magical world of Iceland through the eyes of a little girl. But it does very little to excite or enchant the senses. 4/10.

RM: The core idea is interesting, and we all love the 70s Willy Wonka film, which makes the music powerful and invoking. The idea of Pure Imagination is a bold statement and one that deserves to connect with the audience beyond the TV.7/10

SR: With so much of the competition getting gritty about Christmas in a recession this year, Iceland opts for the big musical fantasy number instead. To the strains of Gene Wilder’s rendition of Pure Imagination, a winsome child wanders through a frozen food wonderland, encountering the magical fare Iceland can bring her. It’s a nice concept but the ad isn’t magical enough to carry the concept if you’re going to do magic in an ad nowadays, it has to be Hogwarts.4/10

How other Christmas ads scored in last week’s issue of The Grocer:



Marks & Spencer20.5/30


The Co-operative15/30

Our experts


Simon Robinson (SR) is a freelance creative consultant and a judge for The Grocer MAP Awards