David Reviews

 "You're not an artist, Peggy. You solve problems." Don Draper.

CHRISTMAS 2019 - RANKED
18 November 2019

Here's a continuously updated list of this year's Christmas ads in the order that you - our lovely users - have ranked them.

Not happy with it? Get voting! The list will be automatically updated to reflect each vote so click the link and have your say.


1) Apple - The Surprise (2019)

The track 'Married Life' by Michael Giacchino is so firmly attached to the 2009 Pixar film 'Up' that you'd think it'd be necessary to cut an umbilical cord to use it anywhere else. But its use in this fantastically emotional film for Apple by Mark Molloy is simply perfect. It's a very deliberate nudge to the audience that the story they're watching has echoes of the famous sequence in 'Up' which delivers the back story of its cantankerous elderly protagonist.



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2) IKEA - Silence the Critics (2019)

House-shaming takes a curious new form in this entertaining outing for IKEA. When a woman hesitates on inviting friends over due to the state of her abode, knickknacks around the room take up a call for the family to get the place spruced up sharpish. Figurines rapping criticism over a Grime-inspired beat is sure to cut through the Christmas chatter, particularly for viewers getting twitchy about hosting holiday gatherings for judgemental relatives.



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3) Argos - The Book of Dreams (2019)

The Argos catalogue used to be a staple feature of Christmas throughout a British childhood - studying, circling, conspicuously leaving open at a particular page for parents to see. While the brand have moved mainly online and their catalogues are generally nothing more than glossy doorstops these days, they revive some of the magic with this sweet commercial.



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4) Very - Pass the Parcel (2019)

Community spirit takes the spotlight in this 40" Christmas outing for Very. The retailer's familiar pink box provides a visual thread throughout, as it's passed around the neighbourhood in order to ensure a lonely old man has everything he needs. The sweet animation style which has become synonymous with the brand fits the narrative well here, as the whole street come together to provide pudding, fairy lights, and - most importantly - company.



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5) McDonald's - Archie (2019)

There comes a point in every teen's life where the magic of Christmas wears thin, when the whimsy of the season gives way to familial obligations and tinsel and twinkling lights are met with rolled eyes rather than delight. This 90" commercial for McDonald's, however, suggests that even the most cynical adolescent has a little festive spirit left in them.



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6) Dogs Trust - Corky (2019)

A dog made of champagne corks may sound like Dom Pérignon's dream pet, but it's actually the star of the Dogs Trust's splendid Christmas ad. The aptly-named Corky is an understated feat of animation, as well as a hit at the Christmas table - alas, only a fleeting one. As the charity have been at pains to show over the years, many dogs like Corky have their day in the worst sense possible.



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7) Homebase - Monster Fairy (2019)

A rare but welcome festive outing for Homebase sees a woman's perfect Christmas threatened by a rogue tree decoration - a toilet roll that's part angel, part nightmare and, most importantly, made by her young daughter. The wordless exchange between the two as said ornament graces the tree is well played, as is the moment ‘Carol of the Bells' turns more ominous than usual.



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8) Smyths - Toychestra (2019)

Smyths bid to avoid Difficult Second Album Syndrome with another performance by Oscar - the computer-animated youngster who sang ‘If I Were Toy' back in 2016. The tune may be the same, but there are now more strings to Oscar's bow - for one, he's now the conductor of his very own orchestra of llamas, Pikachus, and monster trucks, to name but a few.



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9) Sainsbury's - Nicholas the Sweep (2019)

One can hardly move for origin stories these days. From Han Solo to the Joker (and, erm, Alfred Pennyworth), seemingly any character is fair game. Even a certain Father Christmas. That's the premise of this rollicking two-and-a-half minute ad from Sainsbury's, which draws inspiration from the likes of Charles Dickens, Monty Python, and any superhero coming-of-age story you'd care to mention.



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10) John Lewis & Waitrose - Excitable Edgar (2019)

The most eagerly-awaited commercial of the year has been released... the John Lewis Christmas ad - brought to you this year in association with their supermarket partners Waitrose. After last year's departure from the usual template, this ad is a return to the fold. For the fifth time, Dougal Wilson has been entrusted with the director's chair and for the fifth time he has delivered an exquisite tale sure to strike a chord with a public who genuinely anticipate this commercial with great excitement.



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11) KFC - Good Luck (2019)

The Habito effect continues to be felt across the industry as more brands plump for edgier animation. The latest to do so is KFC, who depict Christmas dinner preparation as hell on Earth across five short, anarchic commercials. Animators Golden Wolf gleefully run with the concept, as greasy turkeys go into orbit and chainsaws replace carving knives.



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12) Hafod Hardware - Be A Kid This Christmas (2019)

Each year, something unexpected and delightful shows up on our radar at Christmas, and 2019 is no exception. According to the Daily Mail, this film for Hafod Hardware cost just £100 to make. In many respects, it looks like it only cost £100 to make but that is actually part of its charm. And while the production budget may have been extremely modest, the idea is priceless.



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13) Asda - Northern Lights (2019)

Christmas kicks off with a bang at Asda, with a two-minute film which does its best to hit every emotional soft spot possible. Sibling dynamics, holiday spirit, dead grandparents - there's nothing Green Supermarket haven't added into the mix to attempt to aggressively tug audience heartstrings. Director Tom Green balances wintry wonder with moments of levity throughout, as a brother and sister capture the magic of the Northern Lights.



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14) Dobbies Garden Centres - Surprise (2019)

Garden centre chain Dobbies bid to cram another reindeer into festive lore - the, erm, imaginatively-named Dobbie. What this 30" Christmas ad lacks in originality it makes up for in charming visuals and stop-motion-inspired animation, as the so-called "tenth reindeer" plans a surprise party for the gaffer... and potentially adds his name to the sleigh team.



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15) T K Maxx - Gift Different (2019)

Following in the, er, ski marks of Asda, Argos, and others, TK Maxx are the latest brand to hit the slopes for Christmas. The moustachioed protagonist, however, prefers Boléro to jingle bells as he shoots down the mountain while chucking gifts away left and right. Off-piste and decidedly on-brand for the retailer.



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16) Marks & Spencer - Go Jumpers (2019)

It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but Marks & Spencer still found it hard to cut loose in their opening festive gambit. This 60" outing from ODD and director Jake Nava, however, has no such issues. Scored by House of Pain's ‘Jump Around', the ad extols the transformative power of knitwear with a diverse cast of movers, shakers, and inbetweeners.



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17) Walkers - All I Want for Christmas (2019)

On the twenty-fifth anniversary of her hit single/destroyer of retail workers' souls 'All I Want For Christmas Is You', Mariah Carey celebrates by starring in Walkers' biggest Christmas outing yet. The brand play a blast of the iconic tune, of course, but it's chiefly about the notorious diva doing what she does best: be herself.



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18) BBC - #XmasLife (2019)

To say the past year has been an utter shitshow would be putting it mildly, but at least we have the bright lights, sparkly decorations, and rampant capitalism of Christmas to look forward to. The BBC accept good vibes only as they encourage viewers to toss 2019 into the proverbial bonfire and sate themselves with all the season has to offer.



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19) Halfords - The Gift That Keeps On Giving (2019)

Halfords encourage giving kids the gift of exercise in the fresh air this Christmas. Their approach is simple enough - one unbroken shot of a child cycling along a seaside path - but the message is effectively delivered: a hobby which gets them out and about is more valuable than the latest hunk of plastic or screen-focused time sink.



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20) Boots - Gifting is Hard (2019)

It's that time of year again - time to try and work out what to give friends, family, and what feels like everyone else under the sun for Christmas. Does your nephew still like videogames? Does your vegan co-worker make exceptions for chocolate? Does your mum really need yet another scarf? These questions, and more, are addressed in this amusing commercial for Boots, who acknowledge the gifting minefield of the season.



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21) HP - Print the Holidays (2019)

Most of us could do with taking a step back from social media at any given time of the year, but HP suggest it's particularly vital at Christmas. With a tech-focused riff on The Twelve Days of Christmas driving the action, the brand show viewers the contrast between a screen-filled and screen-less holiday. Tangible entertainment from director Michel Gondry.



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22) Tesco - Christmas Times (2019)

A time-travelling delivery man spices up Christmases through the ages in this entertaining holiday effort for Tesco. What seems like an ordinary shift before Christmas takes a surprising turn, as a string of rogue fairy lights send the guy - and his van full of goodies - hurtling through a particularly festive wormhole.



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23) Sky Cinema - Twelve Days of Idris (2019)

Sky Cinema wisely put Idris Elba back front and centre for their Christmas ad, which offers a filmic twist on ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas'. Thanks to some nifty set transitions, Elba adds to his already considerable acting credits by ‘starring' in the likes of ‘Mary Queen of Scots', ‘The Lego Movie 2', and ‘Avengers: Endgame' (a cheeky nod to his role as Heimdall).



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24) JD Sports - Jolt (2019)

This polished Christmas outing for JD Sports is delivered with the brand's usual flair. Like a trendier version of ‘Mannequin', the likes of Anne-Marie, Virgil van Dijk, and Maya James are brought to life by a jolt of electricity. As luck would have it, members of the brand's target market are lingering outside to enjoy the show.



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25) Currys PC World - Mark Watson (2019)

Veteran comedian and compulsive spokesman Mark Watson admits work is "a little bit quiet", so he needs all the financial help he can get. Fortunately, Currys PC World is offering the chance to win a £1000 gift card, as detailed by a salesman who never misses the chance to enjoy a confetti shower. May appeal to those who find tinsel distracting.



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26) Amazon Prime - Everybody Needs Somebody to Love (2019)

Amazon's bid for festive domination sees their iconic cardboard boxes once again burst into song. To the tune of Solomon Burke's 'Everybody Needs Somebody To Love', a bunch of friends, families, and lovers are brought together by exchanging gifts for the holidays. Tying everything together is a cheery delivery driver, who takes joy in handing over orders on time.



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27) Visa - Somebody to Love (2019)

This handsome retread of Visa's 2018 Christmas campaign features a slightly more diverse cast than its predecessor, though it's still karaoke night on the UK High Street. This year's soundtrack is ‘Somebody to Love' by Queen, which may lead some poor viewers to experience a Furniture Village flashback.



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28) Lidl - Believe (2019)

Lidl encourage customers to ditch the idea of an idealised Christmas in this relatable holiday outing. Rather than storybook scenes of snowy landscapes and perfect families in matching jumpers, the brand embrace the season with all its quirks and foibles - dodgy Skype connections, selfish cake distribution, trunks full of booze, and more.



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29) Debenhams - 3 for 2 (2019)

For better or worse, the days of someone like Ewan McGregor starring in a Debenhams Christmas ad are probably over. This year, the ailing department store chain pin their hopes on a colourful round of the name game, as well as a soundtrack by Fleur East. Always good to steal a march on that John Lewis fellow up the road, too.



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30) Iceland - Frozen II (2019)

Following 2018's Rang-tan hoo-ha, Iceland shift focus to Arendelle and ‘Frozen 2' for their Christmas campaign. To the relief of frazzled parents nationwide, there's not a hint of ‘Let It Go' to be heard; instead, we see a live-action game of charades transition into Elsa, Anna, and co.'s front room. An astute if clinical piece of synergy.



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31) Marks & Spencer - Christmas Market (2019)

TV's Emma Willis and Paddy McGuinness get around, don't they? The ubiquitous duo now find themselves in a traditional Christmas market, catered for exclusively by Marks & Spencer. The food photography is top-notch as expected, but the hosts' forced banter suggests a brand slightly on edge as the festive season approaches.



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David Reviews - Lovely Lenzie Ltd, Woodbourne House, Seven Sisters, Lenzie, G66 3AW. Telephone: +44 141 776 7766. Editor: Jason Stone.