Christmas adverts 2021

redPepper’s Top 10 Christmas Adverts of 2021

As we come to the end of another interesting year, it’s important for the redPepper team to observe a strict Christmas tradition – we’re not talking about decorating the tree but judging Christmas adverts. As a marketing agency, we feel we can appreciate a good advert, so we’ve been viewing the best (and worst) from 2021 to give you our guide to the top 10 Christmas adverts this year.

10. Lidl: Big on a Christmas you can ALWAYS believe in

Lidl’s Christmas advert takes us on the journey of a family sitting down for Christmas dinner– provided by Lidl, of course – year after year, while their surroundings become increasingly futuristic. The message that some things never change, no matter what the future holds, is conveyed entertainingly. Despite this, the ad didn’t grab our attention like some of the other entries – it just made us a bit hungry!

9. Co-Op: Our 2021 Christmas Ad

Controversially, our entry at number 9 isn’t a Christmas ad at all. The Co Op announced that this year, they would be running a one-off live broadcast in place of a Christmas advert, to highlight the issue of food waste at Christmas, and show the work which is done by The Community Fridge Network.

The Community Fridge Network was set up by environmental charity Hubbub in 2016. Each Community Fridge redistributes an average of 2.4 tonnes of food per month. Co-op is committing to doubling Hubbub’s network of fridges by funding a further 250, which will save a total of 34 million meals from going to waste annually. Nothing says holiday spirit like giving to Charity.

8. Disney: The Stepdad

At 3.5 minutes, this year’s Disney UK Christmas advert is more like a short film. The ad features Nicole (the granddaughter from last year’s Disney ad) who, is now grown up and has a family of her own. It tells the sentimental story of an eager-to-impress stepdad who wants to bring his new blended family together to celebrate Christmas. We’re big Disney fans in this office, and the advert was very sweet, but to be honest, it was a bit long.

7. John Lewis: Unexpected Guest

It wouldn’t be Christmas without a high budget John Lewis ad. Thought to have cost over £1 million to produce, this year’s John Lewis Christmas advert tells the story of an unlikely friendship between a boy and an alien, who finds herself landing on Earth at Christmas (with the help of some clever CGI). The boy shows alien-girl the delights of the festive season before she has to zoom off back to space.

This ad features virtually no product placement, in a move which is typical for John Lewis, and makes a nice change from some of the other, more commercial adverts. For us, it was entertaining and worth a watch, but it wasn’t particularly festive and doesn’t compete with the likes of previous John Lewis ads (Edgar the Excitable Dragon, anyone?)

5. Aldi: Aldi Amazing Christmas

2021 brought us another animated advert from Aldi. The ad is a fruit-and-veg themed parody of A Christmas Carol (we never thought we’d be writing that sentence!) starring, the miserable Ebanana Scrooge and Kevin the Carrot as a ‘spirit guide’. The advert features a whole lot of impressive puns, the voice of Marcus Rashford (starring as Marcus Radishford, of course) We enjoyed the soundtrack, and the message about the true spirit of Christmas and being kind. Our favourite part, however, is the background shot of controversial character Cuthbert the Caterpillar being arrested in the first 5 seconds.

4. McDonalds: Imaginary Iggy

McDonalds got us right in the feelings with their Christmas advert this year. Every year, a young girl leaves reindeer food out on Christmas Eve with her imaginary monster friend, Iggy. Inevitably, she eventually grows up and becomes ‘too old’ for an imaginary friend, but a trip to McDonalds leaves her reminiscing, so she returns home to leave reindeer food out with Iggy one last time. Something about the nostalgic feeling of this ad, and the soundtrack (Cyndi Laupers’ Time After Time, covered by Mabel) had us feeling all emotional, making this one of our favourite ads of 2021. 

3. Boots: #BagsOfJoy

In this entry from Boots, the aptly-named Joy is gifted a Mary Poppins-esque bag. We see a series of heart-warming clips as Joy presents friends and family with Christmas gifts to make them smile (these gifts can all be purchased at Boots, of course). The advert ends with Joy presenting her beloved nan with a special present. We really enjoyed this advert, and it made us look forward to seeing our loved ones open their gifts. Also, extra points for the dog in the antlers.

2. Tesco: This Christmas, Nothing’s Stopping Us

This advert felt like just what we needed after 2021. To the soundtrack of Queen (not festive, but definitely had us singing along) a determined Grandma is on a mission this Christmas. The ad features some rather topical mentions of Santa using a vaccine passport and overcoming stock shortages, and manages to strike the delicate balance between funny and emotive. Tesco’s slightly un-traditional ad felt like a reminder of the year we’ve all navigated together. It also featured less product placement than many of the other ads, which is a bonus – we’re not really watching for the food, after all

1. BBC: BBC Christmas 2021

Our top Christmas advert in 2021 is this hilarious, honest depiction of family Christmases. As new couple Sarah and Darren celebrate with their respective families, they vow to spend Christmas 2022 together. This was our favourite ad, as it really captured what Christmas is about – as well as some of the inevitable moments we’ll all laugh at (or roll our eyes at) with our families this festive period.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our top 10 Christmas adverts from this year. What’s your favourite Christmas advert of 2021?