Boxer dog - John Lewis Christmas Ads

The Big Christmas Ads of 2016

boxer from the John Lewis Christmas ads

Ho, Ho, No! Modern Christmas Ads

It seems that these days Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a big-budget festive advert slapped all over the telly in early November from your favourite high street shop.

In recent years the larger corporates have been pulling out all the stops to drill into our heads the magic of this season which equates to anything from bored fairies clocking into work, soldiers munching chocolate bars from Fritz in the trenches, a fat, manky, fleabag old cat comically burning down your house on Christmas Eve or even a pervy old voyeur living on the moon and spying on your kids.
Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas!

This year they’re all at it again and the big guns have been assembled, loaded and have fired their best shot at Santa and hoped for the best.

We at The Hype have assembled a few of the top Christmas ads saturating our screens this year and just in case you don’t own a telly or haven’t seen enough of them (believe me, by December 1st you’ll be planning your own turkey-induced suicide if anyone even mentions the words ‘cute, fluffy woodland creatures’ around you) then here is a handy selection. Our gift to you.

Although it’s the thought that counts, isn’t it?


Sainsbury’s Christmas Ad

“I really, REALLY want to see a Christmas ad with James Corden singing all the way through it”, said no one on the population of Earth.

Sainsbury’s were oblivious to this fact and went and did it anyway. So for your satisfaction (and our twisted pleasure) we give you Sainsbury’s Christmas ad 2016 (sans Mog). All three, long minutes.

“The greatest gift I can give is meeeeee”, chirps Mr Corden, sadly missing out the rest of the lyrics which hopefully involved the words, “skewered”, “apple in my mouth” and “stretched-out on the dinner table over Xmas lunch”.


With a tagline this year that has been modelled on Donald Trump’s election campaign slogan, Asda have singlehandedly reminded everyone why they should sit quietly alone babysitting George and leave the big-boy adverts to, well, the big boys.

Although props for not adopting the now de-rigueur cuddly animal Christmas mascot that can be flogged to shoppers whilst picking up little darling Frogmella’s beloved All Day Breakfast in a tin.



Now call me strange but all I could think about during this was an obscure, offbeat scene from the early 1980s BBC tv comedy, The Young Ones. I recall a short clip where a carrot and some butter (!) are conversing on the kitchen worktop when Neil squashes the butter between some dinner plates. “Darling carrot…could you ever love a cripple?” asks Butter to which Carrot replies, “No… I don’t think so.”.

So, in short the Aldi Christmas ad is pretty much as cruel as the Young Ones (spoiler: Kevin the Carrot gets eaten by Rudolf. Probably).


Here we go. The big dogs of Crimbo are here! Tesco, best-co!

Hmm. No huge production values with their effort this year and have simply plumped for the clever-clever, cranial approach.

‘Oh no, we hate those pesky Christmas ads as much as you do, beloved customer’, cries Tesco in a vain attempt to empathise our hatred of any early festive ads.

The now standard contemporary mum character, Jo (y’know, the Welsh one off that flippin’ cheeky-guv’nor, Corden’s BBC3 comedy) in this new face of the company ads is shown attempting melancholy as the strains of the annual Slade is piped through the store’s speaker system.

“For crying out loud, it’s only November!” she moans and thereby wins the nation’s sympathy as immediately we cry out in unison, our collective fists pumping as one, ‘TESCO FINALLY UNDERSTANDS!’, we rejoice.

However sixty seconds later and she’s already given in and accepted her fate. It’s plainly evident that Tesco are transmitting a worrying, John Carpenter-esque brainwashing audio tone alongside Noddy Holder.


Snow – check. Robin Redbreast – check. Gentle piano – check. Boy with a girly haircut – check, check.
It’s all here, folks. Who needs a flippin’ carrot when we have Santa’s own Christmas angels – the Robin. A daring tale of harsh weather conditions over a long-distance journey with perilous scavengers preying on the protagonist (yes, Mr Robin) who is rescued from the sea, resuscitated and remarkably well enough to continue whereupon meeting his feathered lover – and a mince pie. That familiar scoring technique requiring a huge rising orchestral crescendo compounds these jubilant events to viewers everywhere so that not even the most hardened soul will fail to well-up.

Well, maybe one.

Marks & Spencer

M & S are doing a lot better in this list than any of the others so far as they employ the use of Father Christmas himself.

A very British-sounding Mr & Mrs Claus set the scene as Santa prepares for his annual journey around the world. All the components are here and so far the emotional heartstrings are being plucked deeper than a Pixar brainstorming session.

The younger sibling in this Christmas ad continually acts like an annoying little weasel to his big sister by jumping out of cupboards, soaking her, stealing her stuff and probably taking a shit in her bed. The fact that he thinks he can make it all up to her by simply writing to Santa to get her a present thus absolving him for a year’s worth of irritating bastardness shows he’s at least got balls.

I’m unsure as to why he writes to Mrs Claus though. And I’m just as baffled as to why she doesn’t pass the letter to her husband, although the fact she seems to have sod all else to do apart from reading ‘Fifty Shades Of Red’ (cheeky) for kicks might be a clue as to why she decides to fly a helicopter from the North Pole to England. Incidentally she returns only moments before hubby has done an around the entire worldwide trip. Hmmm.


At least Argos are always on hand to bring back that true festive feeling – multicoloured Yetis on ice skates whizzing around a racetrack on the streets of London. Bosh.

Seriously. Let’s move on.

John Lewis

Now we come to the payback. The Dons of the Christmas advert.

John Lewis have a proven track record and over the past few years have shown their rival retailers just how to do Christmas ads.

Last year’s anomaly where they used a (vaguely suspect) old man on the moon broke tradition and so this year they have returned to the animal kingdom and chosen Buster, the boxer dog to represent the face of the company over the festive period. Yes, it was different using a human being as their flagship character as previously it has been increasingly predictable to see cuddly creatures such as penguins, bears and hares.

I suppose it’s nice to see foxes, badgers, squirrels and hedgehogs all getting on for a brief moment at Christmas time, having a kind of truce not to savage each other whilst they have fun… wait a moment, haven’t we seen another festive ad before using this same premise?!

So another year, another dollop of capitalist propaganda dressed up as fun, family festivity. Mini-movies designed to warm your hearts and spend, spend, spend with a happy glow.

Overall I can’t say I’m especially impressed with the selection. In fact I can honestly say that I cannot even begin to become consumed with the whole Christmas spirit until I hear the annual sound of those familiar sleigh bells and the welcome chorus of ‘holidays are comin’…”

Coke Cola

Now that’s what I call Xmas.

Written by

A forty-something father of two girls, stunning husband of one lucky wife, master of one male yappy dog. Part-time dreamer, full-time cynic. When not writing for Don't Believe The Hype enjoys scribbling for the Ageing B-Boys Unite! blog, collecting old hip-hop records, drinking Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain.

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