What 2020’s Christmas ads tell us about a year no-one could have predicted

Ruby Kane

Senior Account Manager

Since its inauguration, advertising has been a window into society; a way for us to see and feel the heartbeat of a moment in history. This year has, for many of us, trumped all expectations held for 2020, and given new meaning to the word ‘curveball’. There’s no time like Christmas time for a healthy dose of nostalgia and reflection on what the last 12 months have taught us. And what better way to do it than with a Christmas ads roundup! So, grab yourself a mince pie and a Bailey’s, and have a munch on this…

There’s joy in the small things

Supporting local businesses feels more important than ever. Not On the High Street’s 'The Magic of Small Things' 60” surfaces those fleeting, warm fuzzy moments we are all so fond of during the festive period. As the economic downturn has hit small business-owners, conversations around ‘shopping small’ and how we can all do our bit to help independent retailers has increased, which is captured wonderfully in this ad.

Inclusivity is imperative

Etsy’s three heartfelt 30” minis 'Shiori', 'New Guy' and 'Nana' each tell their own story of inclusivity over Christmas. From how we can still connect with older family members, to cultural inclusivity and how it feels to be the ‘new guy’, Etsy reflects the global conversation on race and belonging in the wake of the pandemic, and nails the message of ‘Gift like you mean it’.

We definitely DO have tears left to cry

It has been one rollercoaster of a year and Disney have aptly captured the importance of family and memories in their beautiful 3-minute TV spot 'From Our Family to Yours’. Lola and her granddaughter share a love of Disney and Christmas crafting, and this story shows how beloved traditions transcend generations and hold us together, especially during Christmas time. Spoiler alert: we sobbed.

Amazon will always have strength in the face of adversity

Amazon’s 'The Show Must Go On' tells the story of a young aspiring ballerina whose leading role performance is cancelled in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through a cinematic lens and emotionally-charged orchestral arrangement of the Queen classic ‘The Show Must Go On’, we are presented with the importance of never giving up and finding ways to innovate when faced with challenges...arguably, something Amazon warehouse staff know all too well.

Giving is more important than getting

Several brands, including Boots, Waitrose & John Lewis are drawing attention to the various ways in which we can give to those less fortunate this Christmas. From donations to fight hygiene poverty, to giving a ‘little love’ to families in need through FareShare and Home Start, charitable giving in all forms remains incredibly close to the hearts of the nation and its best-loved brands.

Nobody is perfect

We love Tesco’s 'No Naughty List' which takes a light-hearted lookback at some of the key news hooks from this year, including household haircut disasters, panic-buying faux pas, and home-schooling shortcomings. Coupled with an iconic Britney soundtrack, the brand gives us permission to stop punishing ourselves and end the year on a positive note.

There’s no place like home and we must stand together against racism.

Sainsbury’s 'Gravy Song' attracted racist backlash from customers vowing to boycott the brand for depicting a black family in their ad.    

Gravy Song, ‘Perfect Portions' and ‘Big Sarnie' each weaves a snippet of phone conversation with scenes of a familiar vintage camcorder aesthetic and retro stills.  Telling three stories of families coming together over Christmas, the politics of food, and what home means to audiences across the UK.

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