The 12 Ads Of Christmas 2013
3 - TK Maxx
The Moment

We’re into the well-trodden realm of the slow-mo Christmas advert here, but this gets extra style marks for execution. As the nation makes the move to HD TV, extreme close-ups in slow-mo can be very impressive, and these reactions to people young and old opening up their gifts is priceless, and the gentle rendition of “Only You” is an inspired soundtrack choice for this ad.

It inspired American Express to produce their own version of the ad, only with rubbish presents being received until finally an American Express gift card is given.

2 - Cadburys
Unwrap Joy

It’s amazing: Cadburys have been a staple of Christmas since our childhoods and beyond, whether it is presents of boxes of chocolates, or the ridiculously over-sized bars of chocolate you used to be able to buy from Woolworths. Yet they have never had a Christmas advert until this year, and it’s a bit of a stonker. Wrapping up an entire street was inspired, and the footage of children bursting through it and tearing it all down to then become showered with chocolate bars was, as the as title intended, a pure joy. Welcome to the fray, Cadburys, we hope you stick around for a while.

1 - Marks and Spencer
Magic and Sparkle

And now we come to the winner of The 12 Ads Of Christmas 2013, and it’s M&S as they return to form with this two-minute fairytale-inspired ad which is a roller-coaster ride from start to finish taking its cue from Alice In Wonderland, The Wizard Of Oz, plus a touch of Arabian Nights.

The visuals are incredible and even the food adverts (containing flyovers of the Mad Hatter’s dinner table) spread a little Christmas magic. Glorious.

Not everyone liked it, though. M&S have been going through some bad times as it struggles with its own identity as times move on and tastes change, and this advert was blamed in board meetings as being offensive to women. We disagree, and maybe they’re clutching at straws as they try to understand why their business is underperforming. After Christmas ads featuring the X Factor contestants and Saturday Night Fever soundtracks, we think their Christmas ads are back on track.

So there you have it, the run-up to Christmas 2013. Whilst it was definitely a vintage year, we have noticed the decline in the use of traditional festive music in these ads - Bronski Beat’s “Smalltown Boy” was a good choice for Boots’ “Santa Hoodie” ad, but it wasn’t exactly seasonal. Giving a tinsel-tinged twist to songs, such as Three’s version of Fleetwood Mac’s “Everywhere” is a step in the right direction, but we prefer it when advertisers jump in with both feet and well and truly embrace Christmas songs old and new - even writing new ones, as KFC did.

So, what will the run-up to Christmas 2014 bring us?

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