Battle of the brands: Britain's biggest retailers launch their Christmas campaigns

 

The festive battle to tug at the nation’s heartstrings – and loosen shoppers’ purse-strings – has begun after Britain’s biggest retailers unveiled rival blockbuster television advertising campaigns designed to induce a collective “aaah”.

The feel-good films, with their formula of celebrity gift-givers, children discovering the true meaning of Christmas and a haunting soundtrack, have become so keenly anticipated that this year John Lewis launched its £6 million offering with its own Hollywood-style “teaser” trailer.

Last year John Lewis chose The Smiths’ Please, please, please let me get what I want, as the soundtrack to heart-warming film which dramatised a little boy’s determination to give his parents the perfect Christmas present.

Following a series of 10-second “teasers”, broadcast without any John Lewis branding, the sequel, a 90-second epic called The Journey, will be premiered at 9.10pm on Channel 4 this Friday.

Another 80s classic, The Power Of Love by Frankie Goes To Hollywood, has been chosen to soundtrack the story of a snowman who travels on a “magical journey” in order to return with the perfect gift on Christmas morning.

The hit song will be reinterpreted by Gabrielle Aplin, a 20 year-old singer who has amassed 12 million YouTube views for her own self-released songs. John Lewis stores are stocking up with CD copies of Aplin’s song, which will be released on Friday.

Marks & Spencer responded with a Christmas campaign which features a four-year-old boy with Down's Syndrome, in stark contrast to last year’s offering which featured the stars of The X Factor.

Seb White was chosen after his mother Caroline asked M&S in a Facebook post to consider using her son in advertising because youngsters with Down’s Syndrome were not represented in modelling campaigns.

The advert, premiered during Wednesday night’s Coronation Street, is designed to promote the brand’s kidswear, and features “cosy knitwear” and “stylish party outfits” in a series of five product scenes.

The campaign, called “The greatest hits this Christmas”, will be sound-tracked by a Rod Stewart cover of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and features a final scene where children dance to Kool & the Gang’s Celebration track while wearing M&S knitwear. The campaign is central to M&S’ attempts to reverse a 9.6 per cent fall in profits, reported for the first half of 2012.

Debenhams, which has shied away from a Christmas campaign for the past six years, announced its return with a “multi-million pound” advert, designed to capitalise on a 4.2 per cent increase in full-year profits.

The advert, launched at the end of Wednesday’s Coronation Street, follows a woman’s Christmas journey home as she shares in moments such as a little girl dancing with her grandfather and a man haplessly wrapping his gifts for his girlfriend on the train.

The heroine passes by the toiling workshops of Debenhams designers Henry Holland, Julien Macdonald and Jenny Packham on her eventful journey. Billie Piper voices the catchline “Wherever you are this Christmas, make it fabulous with Debenhams”.

Debenhams hopes that the real star of the campaign is the £150 red belted Jonathan Saunders/ Edition fit and flare coat worn by the lead actress. Stores have ordered extra supplies to mark the first airing of the campaign.

Last year’s John Lewis campaign helped make a star of Slow Moving Millie, the singer who covered the Smiths song. Aplin, who set up her own record label aged 17 to release her Joni Mitchell-influenced songs, can expect a similar boost. She said: “I’ve always been such a fan of the John Lewis Christmas ad and it’s great to be a part of it, especially with a great song that fits the visual perfectly.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Software Development Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Product Manager - (Product Marketing, Financial Services)

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee