This Year’s Christmas Ads – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

By Simon Derungs, 15 December 2023 | 4 mins read

It’s December, so all the 2023 Christmas ads have been aired, enjoyed, criticised, or (worst of all) ignored.

It’s been a mixed sack this year, some corkers, some stinkers. So here we go with my Sergio Leone-inspired Christmas advertising platter:


Apple – Fuzzy Feelings

While most advertisers go for festive joviality, Apple as always goes in a different direction. ‘Fuzzy feelings’ is a beautiful bit of storytelling, a  4 minute mix of live-action and stop-motion animation, all shot on an  iPhone 15 Pro Max and edited on a MacBook Air. George Harrison’s ‘Isn’t it a Pity’ provides the perfect soundtrack.

Tesco – Become more Christmas

The new Tesco Christmas ad grew on me (literally) as I watched it. The film shows a family embracing the Christmas spirit, whilst their teenager refuses to participate. It’s really insightful, and (shock horror) fun!

Amazon – Joyride

This is an interesting one. The ad, featuring three older women dreaming of sledging, was Campaign Magazine’s ‘Turkey of the Week’. Yet as Marketing guru Mark Ritson was quick to point out, the evidence tells a different story, with effectiveness metrics off the scale. The cover version of Beatles track ‘In My Life’ doesn’t do any harm either.

Etsy – Your Mission

Etsy’s campaign is clever, dramatising the quest to pick the perfect gift for our loved ones.

It’s insightful, with personal observations and a bit of sleuthing to figure out an appropriate choice, and manages to be a little silly and extremely entertaining.


ASDA – Make This Christmas Incredibuble

I have a confession – I really like Michael Bublé. And whilst it’s impressive that ASDA managed to recruit him for their Christmas ads, I’m afraid I really don’t like them. The problem might be that having signed up the Canadian crooner, they struggled to know what to do with him. The result is a boring ad that could have been so much more. What a waste of the great man.

Morrisons – More of The Winning Feeling

Singing oven gloves? Are they really the unsung heroes of Christmas? I can’t quite explain it but I have an unreasonable dislike of this ad. Of course, I suspect the general public love it and sing along to the Starship soundtrack. If you don’t believe me, just have a read of the comments: “One of the best Christmas adverts I’ve ever seen, love the two gloves making a heart and the one in the bread bin”, and so on.

M&S – Love Thismas (Not Thatmas)

I feel for M&S. It’s a fabulous retailer who no doubt had high hopes with its star-studded Christmas campaign. But, I find the ad confusing. The idea seems to involve said stars wrecking all our lovely Christmas traditions – burning cards, throwing away games, etc.. To quote a Guardian headline, “M&S advert ‘puts two fingers up to spirit of Christmas’, says headteacher”. And if that wasn’t enough, M&S was forced to apologise when an outtake from the ad on social media showed Christmas paper hats, resembling the Palestinian flag, burning in the fire. Ouch!


IKEA – Meatball

This is fun, and has certainly got IKEA some well-earned publicity. They’ve launched a limited edition meatball for Christmas – and it’s the size of an actual turkey. IKEA’s giant meatball weighs in at a whopping 4.5kg (that’s roughly the same size as a cat).

PETA Kill the Tradition, Not a Turkey

Ab Fab star Jane Horrocks provides the voice of Tessa the Turkey in this Peta festive spot that highlights the cruelty of our insatiable turkey tradition. Maybe gets the message across but you’ll never be able to unhear the soundtrack. Definitely not a patch on Benjamin Zephaniah’s (RIP) glorious poem, Talking Turkey:

Be nice to yu turkeys dis christmas

Cos’ turkeys just wanna hav fun

Turkeys are cool, turkeys are wicked

An every turkey has a Mum.

Temptations – Cats

Actually not ugly at all, I really love this 1970s-inspired ad for pet treat brand Temptations, featuring singing sisters who have their performance ruined by a kitty on the keyboard. It’s schmaltzy, tacky, loud, tuneless, and brilliant.

Happy Christmas.