Take a look at the festive ads this year. They’re full of all the Christmas stuff we love.
The joy of people coming together, whether they’re family, friends or alien strangers. They’re full of kindness and food, connection and fairy lights.
The Christmas ads this year remind us of the subtle but powerful importance of accurate representation.
But, more importantly, they’re full of faces. Faces of every shape, size, colour and age. Faces smiling in celebration. They’re the faces we see on the streets around us, the faces we see when we look in the mirror. They’re the faces we rarely see in mainstream communications, and that’s all the more important.
Because the Christmas ads this year remind us of the subtle but powerful importance of accurate representation, a message that isn’t whispered about at the back of the room but, instead, placed front and centre. Representation that is celebrated and prioritised and captured on screen in moments that will be shared far and wide. Moments that will unite even as many still strive to divide.
Above: John Lewis and House of Fraser "added people into the mix who might never before have been considered".
Creating space for every face
This Christmas, advertising is proving that it can do more, that it can go further with the narratives, with the characters, with the scripts.
This festive advertising season’s real winners? Those who spoke up. The clients, the marketing managers and brand managers, the casting directors, the production teams, the agency account teams and creatives and strategists, all those who pushed a different group of faces forward, who added people into the mix who might never before have been considered. The ones who are creating space for new stories to be told or maybe actually the same old stories, just with the faces we all know and love.
This festive advertising season’s real winners? Those who spoke up.
There’s Lidl’s family fast forwarding through the decades; a bottomless bag providing goodies for a girl and her granny for Boots; the fierce, fabulous and flawless group in House of Fraser’s spot; the famous faces for Sports Direct; TK Maxx’s unexpected organ-playing hero and John Lewis’ out-of-this-world love story; Etsy’s subtle messages of love and connection; Coca-Cola’s community act of kindness, and Amazon’s cross-generational friendship.
The faces are all there.
Above: TK Maxx and Boots' festive offerings for 2021.
We are changed when we are seen
This comes as a result of the work of companies like the Diversity Standards Collective and Creative Equals, and many more besides, pushing the conversation further. Working alongside brands and agencies to create work that brings every aspect of our wonderful world to life, rather than simply representing a tiny segment of it.
This festive season it has resulted in work that is, quite simply, joyous. Work that captures a feeling of joy that is mirrored in the faces of those who will be lucky enough to see themselves on screen, to see their relationship with their stepdad or their friendship with their neighbour or simply their own Christmas celebrations in all their glittering glory.
Advertising still has the power to shape, shift and spark cultural conversations.
Because advertising still has the power to shape, shift and spark cultural conversations. We see it happening around us every day, across every platform, place and paper we watch, read and listen to. Advertising gives a language to the cultural conversation taking place at that very moment.
Those behind this year’s Christmas campaigns have done just that, adding value to the cultural conversation taking place right now and proving the importance of reflecting the world we all live in. They’re a reminder that a little bit of kindness, and a gentle push in the right direction, goes an awfully long way.