Christmas ads 2020: Hellmann's Animal Crossing island and DocMorris' jingle kettlebell

The Drum 22 Dec 2020 08:00
Hellmann’s UK has launched its very own island with Animal Crossing to inspire people to make the most of leftover food

Just as you thought the last of the Christmas ads had arrived, brands have made late entry's to the festive party. Whatever happens in the next month or two, Christmas 2020 will be like no other before it. As advertisers grapple with how to stand out during the festive season, you can keep up to date with the best seasonal creative right here.

Okay, so Christmas 2020 isn't what we dreamed of, with the coronavirus doing its utmost best to be the Grinch that stole Christmas.

While it will be a lukewarm Christmas this year, brands have been over-delivering to ensure the Christmas ad showdown isn't a letdown, and although moods will be dampened, they have been taking the opportunity to encourage people to get behind good causes.

To inspire people to make the most of leftover food, Hellman's has teamed up with Animal Crossing to create an island where players can convert virtual food waste into nutritious meals for people in need this Christmas.

Cheerios has revisited its famous 1999 commercial, with a pandemic twist. And, has a relatively unknown Dutch pharmaceutical company taken the 2020 Christmas ad crown? Well, if Twitter is anything to go by, then DocMorris' moving Christmas spot has stolen people's hearts, racking up over 8 million views since it went live.

In the meantime, we'll be rounding up the crème de la crème of Christmas creative for you each day, right here. Scroll down to see what brands have come up with already and click on the images to watch the ads in full.

Dole acts on global promise to make nutritious food accessible to 1 billion people by 2025. Unstuffed Bear's global social film campaign will raise awareness and funds to help feed the 1 In 5 children that may go hungry over the Christmas season, with monetary donations benefiting UK families via Save the Children.

Created by Iris in partnership with major brands such as Starbucks, Marmite, Kindred and Batiste, the work aims to help raise more vital funds for the NHS Charities Together Covid Appeal.

Inspired by Jack Wills’ belief that clothing should be lived in, not looked at, the hoodie was positioned as an item of clothing that allowed them to fully express themselves —a place you can be totally you.

It opens with Santa’s Head Elf breaking the disturbing news to his unusual office co-workers that, given everything that is happening, Santa is thinking about cancelling Christmas. Upon turning to his co-workers (The Holiday Mascots comprising of the Easter Bunny; Tooth Fairy; St Patrick’s Day Leprechaun; Cupid and the Halloween Ghost) and asking them for ideas, the group descends into a bickering row as they argue how best to ensure Christmas goes ahead.

The film features the fond recollections of Big issue vendor Martin McKenzie has of his customers before the pandemic and contrasts it with the far emptier streets that he faces when out selling the magazine in present times.

Created by Jung von Matt/Saga, 'Take Care' follows an old man, presumably bereaved, who for a reason unbeknown to the viewer or his neighbours, starts training with a heavy kettlebell - a dusty remnant from his more active glory days.

Will Santa Claus Still Come To Town

In 'Will Santa Claus Still Come To Town', a-less-than-jolly and slightly fretful St. Nick is left pondering how he’ll be able to execute his present-giving duties, imagining a series of fantastically ridiculous alternatives to his usual sleigh-based delivery method, before innocent saves Christmas, by delivering him The Santa Safety Suit; combining ‘hazmat level PPE’ with handy repellant features like ‘sprout-tech’, which emits the wafting smell of everyone’s favourite (or not) festive veg to keep rule-breaking festive revellers at bay, as well as a satsuma pouch in which to store his citrus booty.

Now unable to meet due to the pandemic, the pair convene online after the grandma sends a box of Cheerios to her grandaughter. "No matter where Grandma lives, we'll always be together for Christmas," she tells her.

Why? To encourage people to contemplate where they are investing their pensions, which are being used to fund businesses that are destroying natural habitats.

The campaign points viewers in the direction of a petition, that urges the pensions industry to commit to Net Zero targets and deforestation free portfolios.


With the belief that hygiene poverty is a problem that can be tackled together, JDO created a personal care concept called ‘>Soap’ - an ethically-sourced soap brand that illustrates how, as a society, we are greater than hygiene poverty. >Soap advocates change through community, cleanliness and compassion.

Created by Starcom, the campaign is a multi-channel partnership celebrating the things the KP Nuts audience are ‘nuts about’ this Christmas, involving various on-air radio promotions that will run across Bauer Media’s radio stations and shows.

Players can explore the new Island and convert their virtual food waste into real nutritious meals for people in need this Christmas. For every spoiled turnip donated on the island, Hellmann’s will make a financial donation to fund the equivalent of two meals distributed by FareShare, a UK-based charity fighting hunger and food waste.

Equipped with a tagline you can’t help but hum, Just Eat has unleashed its secret weapon upon the festive season, leveraging the rapper’s popularity to draw attention to its food delivery service this Christmas.

KFC produces a Lifetime Christmas movie?

While some brands have dialled down efforts this Christmas, KFC has turned the oven up to 100 degrees, serving its chicken fans with a parody short film due to debut on Lifetime this Sunday (13 December).

Now TV recreates Love Actually

Aiming to spread Christmas cheer to friends and families who can’t meet in person this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 'Greetings Gram’ service sees McCutcheon recreate a famous scene in which Mark, played by Andrew Lincoln, uses large cue cards to declare his love for Keira Knightley's character, Juliet.

Three seniors are featured in the video, namely Aunty Lilian, Aunty Shirley and Uncle Andrew, and they explain how Singtel has helped them stay in touch with their friends and families during the Covid-19 lockdown in Singapore, known officially as ‘Circuit Breaker’.

Co-op tugs on the guitar strings

The low-key Christmas 2020 TV ad debuted on YouTube, racking up over 6,000 views drawn by the duet performed by 12-year old Austin and his younger brother Roco, aged just six, who delight shoppers after finding the courage to perform in public.

Great Ormond Street gets kids home for Christmas

The film features a patient named Mia and her sister Amy who were treated at the hospital years apart for the same rare condition, chronic demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP). Mia was just three weeks old when she was admitted to the hospital with the rare neurological condition, returning home just in time to meet her big sister on Christmas Eve.

The short animated film is a visual fantasy that embodies Victorian surrealism and invites gin drinkers to heed the call of their curiosity. It depicts a butler, who happens to also be a hammerhead shark, at his daily tasks. Intrigued by a martini-glass-shaped crack in the wall, his curiosity helps him discover the secret, magical world of Hendrick’s Gin.

'Unseen Kingdom' shines a light on a hidden world all around us of 110,000 young people who exist in the background shadows of daily life, according to 2019 research by Centrepoint.

Joules partners with The Woodland Trust

To complement the initiative, Joules has produced a Christmas animation titled ‘A Woodland Tale’ which aims to raise awareness of the charity, the need to give back to nature and to protect the endangered species who make an appearance in it, including the red squirrel, pine marten, capercaillie and door mouse.

No coal for Tesco shoppers this Christmas

Developed by agency BBH, and directed by Raine Allen-Miller from production company Somesuch, the ad absolves customers of anything that might have landed them a place on the ‘naughty list’ this year – from bad video call etiquette to buying too much loo roll – and instead encourages them to indulge as much as they want this Christmas.

The first of these, ’Gravy Song’, recounts a daughter’s excitement for her dad’s gravy tempered by his penchant for singing. Combining home-video-style footage and phone conversations, the campaign seeks to honestly reflect modern life.

Through ‘Give a Little Love‘ the partnership aims to raise £4m for the two charities, boosting FareShare‘s efforts to support those facing food poverty and Home-Start‘s initiatives for parents who need support. A further fund of £1m has been created to bring the charity partnership to life in-store.

A Christmas Kiss

As people are baking more than ever these days, this year, Hershey’s is honouring baking traditions with an evolution of its Bells commercial.

To put the money which would have otherwise been spent on creative designs and production costs to better use, Papa John’s instead, enlisted help from internal staff to design and create the assets for its Christmas 2020 campaign.

The advert is set to the popular Christmas song, Deck the Halls, and features a simple creative concept, including pizza boxes decorated with marker pens.

The ad nods to the unbelievable and unrealistic nature of Christmas ads whilst interrupting these Christmas advertising tropes, and side-stepping them for great Lidl products, at great prices.

Deliveroo says Christmas is on

Throughout November and December, a brand new festive menu on Deliveroo features exclusive dishes from loved chains to local neighbourhood favourites. From Pret’s legendary Christmas sandwich to Burger King’s Festive BBQ King and Pizza Hut’s Christmas Pizza, these limited-edition dishes are available only on Deliveroo.

Burberry is 'Singing in the (London) Rain'

Produced by RiffRaff Films and directed by MegaForce, the classical climatic dance-off has been choreographed by dance collective (La)Horde, amping up the thrill factor by introducing falling blocks of ice for the fleet-footed quartet to circumnavigate.

Keen to fashion more than just a video, Burberry is aiming to celebrate its capacity to provide social good, signified by a partnership with footballer and activist Marcus Rashford to finance a network of British youth centres.

To help, Boots will provide hygiene essentials to some of the millions of people in the UK living in hygiene poverty, with a donation of £1m worth of products to The Hygiene Bank. Boots is also inviting customers to donate hygiene items to support those most in need this Christmas.

The campaign’s two short films upend trite holiday gifting advertising, like the perennial car with a big bow in the driveway, by adding a comic twist to remind consumers that just a dozen eggs can open the door to incredible possibilities.

This message of hope will be depicted across numerous formats. Firstly, it will be brought to life through a series of Hug Portraits which will appear as large unbranded murals in visible urban locations across Europe. It will also include a heartwarming film, '100 Years of Hugs,' directed by Vincent Haycock, and set to the track ‘Godspeed’ by Frank Ocean.

The film follows a young boy whose dog has chewed his father’s beloved Barbour wax jacket. The boy writes to Father Christmas to say that he doesn’t want a present this year, he just needs his help to repair his father’s jacket in time for Christmas. Father Christmas realises he can’t mend the jacket himself but has the bright idea of taking it to the Barbour factory in South Shields to see whether they can assist. The Barbour customer service team set to work repairing the jacket and give it a rewax too, so it looks as good as new.

Disney gets the tears flowing with heartwarming family tale

Running across 26 markets in Europe, as well as Australia, New Zealand, North America and parts of Asia, ‘From Our Family To Yours’ holds the same production values as any Pixar movie would.

The Drum spoke to the entertainment giant’s brand and creative marketing director for EMEA, to find out more about its year-long creative and production process.

Abstract, impactful and unexpected, it features a bauble-filled hot-tub, sledging poodle and raining mince-pies. All an entertaining ode to the fact that nothing that beats the feeling of a trip to a Dobbies garden centre at Christmas.

Three's mobile ode to 2020

In the end, the lead drops her trusty phone, just in time to get a deal on a shiny new one from Three.

The ad, which focuses on ‘The Magic of Small Things’, taps into the national, pandemic-accelerated shift towards supporting small, local businesses, and to cherishing simple moments of connection that have become even more important in 2020.

The country was left on tenterhooks and rooting for the plucky carrot’s safe return following his appearance earlier this week in a teaser advert. Just days ago, Kevin set the sky alight, Top Gun style, in a fighter jet escapade with co-pilot Turkey.

M&S bags Olivia Colman and Tom Hardy for charity-led twist on its 'food porn' ads

Central to this, M&S Food is shining a light on a number of important charities, partnering with nine world-famous actors who have added their unmistakable voices to nine brand new Christmas food ads, shot in its signature 'food porn' style.

And M&S is doing the same for customers. Every time a customer signed up to its sparks loyalty scheme shops at M&S in-store or online at M&, it will donate to their selected charity, from a range of 35 different causes.

Very unveils tongue-in-cheek spot from Grey

The charmingly honest film sends the message that the best thing about Christmas is not just Christmas day but the combination of all the wonderfully festive moments in the build-up to Christmas, from Christmas lights and the all-important tree to Christmas jammies.

“Not only is it different to what the brand and its customers have seen before, but we’re confident it’ll resonate right now when we’re facing the prospect of a very different festive period.”

Though the original ‘Book of Dreams’ is currently out of print, Argos has brought out a Christmas gift guide to replace it. In the spot, two girls spot a box of magic tricks on the pages of the guide, which transports them off to the furthest reaches of the imagination, to a world where they have their own extraordinary magic show.

“Last year‘s Christmas ad performed extremely well for us,” explains Argos‘ senior campaign manager, Rob Quartermain. “This year, we‘ve taken that idea on another step. It felt like a really powerful and strong idea and something that‘s uniquely Argos.”

Set to an arrangement of Queen’s ‘The Show Must Go On‘ the film features 17-year-old French ballet dancer, Taïs Vinolo as her character is forced to train from home due to the pandemic.

Last year, Amazon released a Love Actually-style spot, that featured a little girl playing Everybody Needs Somebody to Love, a flirty couple and its hallmark singing parcels.

As 'Lil' Goat' struts across a snowy landscape, her farmers watch her go by. The wife questions her husband, “Did you buy the goat a designer outfit?” Gary, instead of conforming to the stoic farmer type, looks on tenderly with a tear in his eye and replies, replies proudly, “Yes, she’s had such a hard year. She bloomin’ well deserves it if you ask me”. The ad concludes with the jubilant goat sliding freely across the icy terrain, embodying the off-price retailer’s spirited and often humorous nature to deliver an important message - after the year we’ve had, everyone deserves to feel special this Christmas.

Lego goes on an adventure created by children as they play

Part of its 'Rebuild the World' brand campaign, the playful storyline is set to a bespoke reimagining of ‘What a Wonderful World’

Pepsi Max gets all hip-hop

‘Christmas Refreshed‘ sees Pepsi shatter old Christmas traditions, offering an alternative view. ‘Traditional is so cliché‘ the rappers declare, and throughout the ad longstanding Christmas tropes are replaced with cool alternatives – Santa‘s sledge is replaced by a hench sound system, a festive jumper transforms into a sick Pepsi jacket.

Each family moment in the campaign showcases how a different feature of Portal is helping the Wrights feel like they’re hanging out together. From the AI-powered Smart Camera, AR filters, through to Group calling and Rooms, Portal’s technology allows the family to focus on what matters; coming together during the holidays and keeping their family traditions - like making fun of Dad - alive.

With England on the eve of its second lockdown, many are looking to the festive season to bring a little cheer to the end of 2020. Featuring the tagline, 'the Christmas we all need, at the prices we want' the spot sees the return of Asda super-fan Sunny and his wife and children as they try to bring some seasonal cheer to their Scrooge-like next-door-neighbor, Christine.

Merry Crispmas from Walkers

In the spot, the gang performs a medley of Christmas carols with lyrics adapted to herald the arrival of Walker's new sausage roll flavoured crisps.

This round-up will be updated as the Christmas ads roll on in.

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