If you were to pop into River & Bear HQ this grey Thursday afternoon, you would be inundated with the sound of Christmas jingles and the team sharing newly released supermarket Christmas adverts amongst one another whilst sipping on Ribena’s extra festive Winter Spice. Cardiff City Centre’s Christmas Market opens tonight but don’t forget your ice skates as Winter Wonderland also has it’s grand opening! You could say, we’re well and truly into the festive swing of things at River & Bear – even office pug, Maurice is getting into the Christmas spirit!

This week the small screen has been flooded with new releases of supermarket Christmas adverts, fun & chirpy or sentimental tear jerkers, we’ve been on a roller coaster of emotions. Here’s a shortlist of our favourite Christmas adverts of 2018:

Sainsburys, The Big Night

At the top of our list is supermarket, Sainsburys. A recent contender in the Christmas advert stakes, with their most memorable in 2014 with the beautifully shot and tear jerking 1914 Christmas, based on the true events of the Christmas Day football game. The supermarket chain continued to leap from strength to strength every festive season from Mog’s Christmas Calamity (2015) to The Greatest Gift (2016). This year they’ve brought us The Big Night, a short narrative of one little girl’s rise to stardom in the school nativity. The advert includes a nostalgic nod to those dreaded primary school nativity plays we all once suffered, a brilliant balance of tear jerking emotions and pride only a parent can know but most importantly of all it has provided the nation with a gif that will go down in Christmas history. (We’re looking at you, plug socket kid).

Aldi, Kevin the Carrot and the Wicked Parsnip

A favourite of PR & campaign coordinator, Georgina. Aldi’s Christmas advert follows the adventures of Kevin the Carrot, you may remember him from Aldi’s 2017 Christmas advert. In this years festive tale, Kevin must take on Pascal the Wicked Parsnip in a bid to save his carrot family from the dark castle. 60 Seconds of intense drama, action, shock, fear and Father Christmas. Join Kevin for one hell of a sleigh ride.

Visa, #KeepItLocalThisChristmas

An unexpected contender in the River & Bear shortlist of Christmas adverts. Visa have pulled it out of the bag making it to number 3 on our shortlist. It’s certainly easy to get caught up in the bright lights and big names of chain supermarkets and retailers during this time of year but Visa have made it extremely difficult not to forget the little guys this Christmas. At River & Bear we love all things local and independent – heck, we’re on the edge of our seats at the thought of the handmade crafts and delicious, locally sourced food on offer at this years Cardiff Christmas Market. We’ll definitely be keeping it local this Christmas, what about you?

Coca-Cola, The Holidays are Coming

Please refer to our previous blog post for just why we love Coca-Cola’s classic Christmas advert. This is nostalgia marketing done well, The Holidays are Coming classic format and music has continued for over two decades – with slight changes here and there, Coca-Cola are definitely the brand that keeps on giving without even doing that much… This year The Holidays are Coming has collaborated with the Kings Choir and a downloadable version is available on iTunes for all Coca-Cola and Christmas enthusiasts alike. Don’t forget you can catch the famous Coca-Cola Christmas Truck on Cardiff’s Queen Street this Saturday and Sunday from 12-8pm. 

John Lewis, Elton John Lewis

Oh John, how you almost had it in the bag. It’s not that the advert is bad, it merely doesn’t meet the extremely high expectations of the nation. In what is probably the nations most awaited advert of the year, the pressure on John Lewis to put on a show stopper is not something we’d like to experience at River and Bear. Perhaps we put too much pressure on this high street retailer to be 5* every year or perhaps this advert really isn’t hitting that festive feeling we all yearn for from John Lewis. An undeniably emotional and nostalgic advert, the advert has been cruelly criticised for using their platform for a dual branding opportunity with the release of Elton John’s Rocket Man next year, with many describing the timing as a little bit funny… What do you think?