The&Partnership The&Partnership

Private View: John Lewis, Amazon, Aldi, McDonald’s and more Creative leaders review the latest Christmas work.

First published on Campaign


Micky Tudor, chief creative officer, The&Partnership:

Asda won Christmas this year. Now that’s out the way, let’s crack on.


Writing Christmas ads was hard this year. How to raise a smile, spread some joy, sell stuff, or get a point of view across and not appear tone deaf to the cost-of-living crisis?

John Lewis & Partners “The beginner” by Adam & Eve/DDB

John Lewis took the challenge head on and cleverly just removed the whole sell stuff completely from the equation. This heartwarming tearjerker has no real advertising idea. No benefit. But it does have a message, brilliantly told. We are a nice company that has activated a lovely partnership. It made my wife cry. Was it the ad or the cause? It doesn’t matter. Because most people will like John Lewis more for supporting children in care. And you know what? I think I am one of them. Empathy score 10.


O2 “The snowgran” by VCCP London

Writing Christmas ads was hard this year. How to raise a smile, spread some joy, sell stuff, or get a point of view across and not appear tone deaf to the cost-of-living crisis?


Amazon “Joy is made” by Lucky Generals

Lucky Generals does some really great work for Amazon and “Joy is made” is an interesting start point. A dad of the year makes a real-life size snow globe for his strangely snow globe-infatuated daughter. It is a sweet tale but for me it seems to dramatise that joy is just as much bought as it is made. In hindsight perhaps this could have been an ad about not buying anything at all and taken a leaf out of John Lewis’s book. Or maybe I am just being a ba-humbug because the ad made me feel dad guilt – I have never done anything like that for my kids! Empathy score 5.


McDonald’s “The list” by Leo Burnett

I do take them to McDonald’s though (seamless segue coming up), as do the parents of the unlucky kid who loses his 60ft-long Christmas list to the wind in the latest McDonald’s ad (told you). It’s another cute story but unless you really go for it with the gags, unless you really exaggerate them, and you signal clearly that we are not in the real world – ads like this can come across as a bit forced and saccharine. Would it have been better as animation for example? I will leave that thought hanging in the wind. Empathy score 6.


Aldi “Home alone” by McCann UK

Talking of animation… Kevin the carrot has been the nation’s favourite Christmas character for a few years now. This year Kevin is Home Alone! Leveraging a famous Christmas movie is always a smart move (as Asda will tell you). There are some nice touches and a great gag with a snowman’s nob, but what lets this down a little is the way the purposeful part is shoehorned in as an afterthought.


The partnership with Neighbourly and the donation of more than 25 million meals since 2019 comes as an awkward scene at the beginning and a hurried title at the end. Perhaps these were last-minute additions because blink and you miss both. Empathy score 5.


Lidl “The story of Lidl bear” by Accenture Song

The name Lidl has the added benefit of sounding like “little” which is a Christmas gift that keeps on giving. Lidl’s ad this year is full of self-knowing fun. It doesn’t take itself too seriously. It is imaginative silliness from start to finish. It’s stuffed like a Christmas turkey with lovely touches. And I haven’t seen a more surprising end voiceover and title in a long time – Big hug. Tasty food. Narrative complete.


Actually, the narrative isn’t entirely complete until you go instore and see Lidl Bear’s Toy Bank encouraging the donation of toys to local kids in need. Empathy score 8.


Narrative now complete.




This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience. Continue