Nov 20th 2012
Posted by Traffic

The best & worst Christmas television adverts of 2012 we’ve spotted so far

We know it’s only November, but the fact we’ve already heard Christmas songs infiltrating the radio and have seen numerous people wearing novelty Christmas jumpers in the past ten days surely means we can add a blog about Christmas adverts… doesn’t it?

I’m sure everyone’s aware that November and December are two months of the year where a lot of big brands invest heavily in their Christmas campaigns, and nervously await the public’s response to see if their campaign was a Christmas cracker or a real dog of a sprout.

Knowing that stacks of people will have worked hard behind the scenes on their campaigns, it seems a shame to pick them apart. But here we go!

So up first we have:

Debenhams – Christmas made fabulous

When asked about the brand the Traffic team couldn’t remember the last time they had seen a Debenhams advert. In fact some of us where surprised to learn they are still in business. However it seems this year’s Christmas campaign went down pretty well in the office.

A nice train, falling snow, a lovely lady running around in her red coat being delighted by what she sees…and a big ‘awwwwe’ moment at the end as hundreds of Christmas light’s light up. We even liked the ‘music’ which wouldn’t be out of place in a Lord of the Rings film. The only flaw we found was if we were to watch it again in a weeks’ time, we would find it a bit hard to remember which brand it’s promoting. Overall we’re giving this campaign an 8/10.


When we saw Iceland had launched a new Christmas ad, we started to have flashbacks of Kerry Katona screaming “One Pound” at the TV and were wondering which Z list celeb would make this year’s ad; maybe some guff actor out of one of the many reality TV shows knocking about.

However, and this is a big dramatic however, we were presently surprised by the ad. It’s one of the most calming Christmas ads we’ve seen and unlocks that fun childhood Christmas feeling; all without a budget celebrity insight. Thumbs-up Iceland, good work 7.5/10.


ASDA have put the family at the heart of its festive campaign, which I’m sure many families across the UK can relate too. I know a few of the Traffic team can, especially pumping up those extra air beds. The ad is a great run through of all the different elements a family Christmas has to offer, however ASDA do shoot themselves in the foot. The ad finishes with the strap-line “Behind every great Christmas there’s mum and behind mum there’s ASDA”. Yes it’s a powerful line and the ASDA target audience is predominantly female but we can’t help feel that ASDA dropped a b*****k with this one, as they could have avoided all the negative sexist complaints they’ve had in the past couple of weeks by simply swapping the word ‘mum’ to ‘parent’; so for that reason this ad gets a mediocre score. 6/10.

John Lewis – The Journey

After last year’s success of pulling on the heart strings of the UK we, like the rest of the population had big expectations for this ad campaign and It’s hard to tell if John Lewis have fallen short or succeeded with this year’s ad, as they are so different. Different good or a different bad…we don’t know, we will leave that for you to decide.

The ad follows the epic journey of a snowman as he goes in search of the perfect gift for his loved one (Mrs Snowman). There’s a good balance of humour and waves of overwhelming emotion as the snowman soldiers on with his adventure. It keeps you wondering where he’s going and what’s going to happen (Very clever John Lewis). Accompanied with a great ballad, John Lewis might just have pulled this one out the bag, but we won’t spoil the ending for you. Our verdict 7.5/10.

Waitrose – Charity

The campaign for Waitrose this year goes a little like this “We’ve spent all our cash on a donation to charity”. At first you think great, but then it’s a case of wait a minute…

We for one are all for charitable giving, but we can’t help feeling that there’s something a bit disingenuous about the campaign. For one, how much did it cost Waitrose to buy up all that ad space, only to tell us they’re not spending any cash on a fancy Xmas ad, eh?

Maybe we’re being a little sceptical but if Waitrose were really trying to save money, why have they got celebs in the ad, why not an ordinary person? We think the concept it great but the execution is all wrong. This truly is the dog of a sprout. 4/10.

ToysRus – ToysRus Kid

First of all by unanimous decision we all wish that ToysRus would bring back Geoffrey. We understand things need to change but we feel the new ads produced by ToysRus have lost their charm. You’ll totally know what we mean when you see the ad. 3/10.


If it isn’t broke don’t fix it. Sometime those seven words can go a long way. Coca-Cola have once again stuck to their guns and gone full steam ahead with their traditional Christmas advert including the Coca-Cola truck and the holidays are coming theme song. It never fails to hit home that Christmas is on the horizon, and even if we don’t all admit it, we always look out for the advert when November comes around; and for that reason this ad still scores highly with us. 8/10.

These are the general views of a few members of the team and are in no way those views of the general public, and it’s for that reason we would love to hear your thoughts on these or any other Christmas ads you’ve spotted in the past couple of weeks.

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  • Tim

    I agree the Waitrose ad is awful. Basically, “come and spend a fortune in our shop and we’ll give 1p of your spend to your chosen charity.” Awesome! And we’ll make ourselves look like heroes through our TV ad. The Debenhams ad is good, makes it look magical – though not sure it makes me want to go into Debenhams as such but it makes Xmas look fun.

  • Mark Hughes

    The John Lewis one is my favourite – loved last year’s and this year lives up to the high standard set. The 2012 one is actually quite touching! However, if it’s that bloody hard to get to a John Lewis nowadays, I think I’ll stick to online shopping. And it seems the snowman may have been trying to kill his wife? If your mrs is made of snow, don’t buy her things to keep her warm.

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