How COVID-19 has changed Christmas ads

Chris Pash
By Chris Pash | 4 December 2020
The Greatest Gift ad by Xfinity

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the nature of Christmas advertising, says Michael Klaehn, an educator in communication and social media with QUT College.

The best 2020 Christmas commercials focus less on asking you to buy something and more on how to share love, bring community together and give to those in most need.

“People expect to be entertained by Christmas ads, and brands and agencies pull out all stops with their use of animation and star power but this year there is definitely a different coronavirus-tinged tone,” says Klaehn, who analyses Christmas ads each year. 

"Humour is still prevalent and we sure need it. Mind you, we still have celebrities popping up and Oscar-winning directors involved."

Klaehn says The Greatest Gift ad by Xfinity sums up the 2020 workplace best, including a conference call with the elves and Santa not realising he is on mute. 

In the UK, ads from John Lewis and Partners are always hotly anticipated. This year in Give A Little Love the commercial uses live action, still frame animation and 2D animation to create a story with focus on the idea of sharing love and the importance of community.

Klaehn also compares the efforts of department stores, including David Jones and The Home of Christmas for 182 Years:

“David Jones taps nicely into the nostalgia of our childhood visits to see these department store displays," he says.

And Aldi Australia does it again with #GoFullChristmas and Synchronised Santas

Klaehn’s favourite Christmas ad for 2020 is close call between Air New Zealand and Coca Cola.

“I love how it is focused on the kids’ wishes and family," he says. "To top it off with actually giving the tickets away is awesome. This is cute, emotional, and smart advertising at its best."

However, he says the Coca-Cola Christmas Commercial 2020 probably takes the crown.

“It’s not your typical Coca Cola Christmas ad but that’s also what makes this great," says Klaehn.

"There is drama, emotion, trials, and tribulations. It’s ridiculous and hilarious - I got totally caught up in the story and I love the twist at the end.

"It’s a brilliant spin on the typical Christmas but also single minded on what is actually important - family.”

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