It's that time again in the United Kingdom, where the onslaught of big budget mini-productions, otherwise known as Christmas ads, begin competing to see who can be the funniest, most political (or politically correct), most tear-jerking, most memorable and ultimately, the most profitable in terms of bringing in shoppers during the holiday season.
Some of these ads have been so popular, they have resulted in viewers on "both sides of the pond" awaiting to see what's next.
This year's batch has come out just in time for Thanksgiving...well in the U.K. just in time for that last week of November before the Christmas shopping season commences full force. As expected, there are those that will make you misty-eyed with warm fuzzies and emotion, others that will bring tears of laughter to your eyes, and a couple that will make you roll your eyes at how inappropriately preachy they are.
Yet, there will be those that are talked about, shared and appreciated by people of all walks of life, because they are just so well done. Everyone, will have their own personal favorites, including myself.
Here are my three favorite United Kingdom Christmas ads released this year...so far.
Third Place: "The Big Night" from Sainsbury's
Every kid faces stage fright, but when they have The Greatest Showman director Michael Gracey behind the camera, they can't help but shine. This is just filled with Christmas fun and joy. Also, that kid at the 1:23 minute mark is a riot.
Second Place: KFC UK Christmas Advert
The year 2018, didn't start out too great for KFC, as they faced the embarrassment of having to temporarily shut down hundreds of their UK restaurants in February, because they ran out of chicken. This prompted them to run a hilarious full page ad in newspapers apologizing for the event, accompanied by an image of a KFC bucket with the acronym scrambled to read "FCK." This Christmas, they continued to show their sense of humor, and remind us chicken is still king of poultry. The music choice couldn't be more perfect.
First Place: "The Boy and the Piano" from John Lewis & Partners Christmas.
This reverse timeline goes from present day to the past showing how one thoughtful gift can help shape a person's life, and help them realize their calling. That person just happens to be music legend Elton John. Everything works here from the song choice to the carefully crafted use of actors, make up, and subtle effects to take the viewers back in time.
My personal favorite UK ad of all time was in 2014 from Sainsbury's titled "1914." It not only demonstrates beautiful filmmaking, it embodies the spirit and the power of Christmas season. The ad tells the story of the WWI Christmas Truce through a fictional encounter between a German and British soldier during this historic event. The ad gained praise from some viewers and outrage from others, but I think it is a beautiful piece that shows even in the most inhumane, and unspeakably horrible situations these soldiers faced, humanity and peace still found its way into the trenches, even if for an all-too-brief period of time.
With this 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War coming to a close, it seems only right to share it again: