Christmas trees here and there, the rainy weather and the Christmas jingles in stores may be the only signs here that the festival is round the corner. But some British brands are helping to spread the Christmas cheer online, through seasonal ads which have gone viral.
There's a debate online about which ad is better, the one from supermarket operator Sainsbury's or retailer John Lewis. You can watch and decide which wins: penguin cuteness or handsome peace-loving men from history. Here are our top five picks of the best of the Brit ads:
1) John Lewis
The retailer's ad centres on a boy with a penguin, and takes audience through several activities the child has with his pet penguin that looks real. This includes jumping on a trampoline, watching television and sleeping. The penguin appears to long for a partner when it sees couples. The ad ends with the child receiving a second "penguin", which turns out to be a toy, just like the boy's first one. It ends with: "Give someone the Christmas they've been dreaming for." As of Thursday, the video had gained more than 13 million views, a week after it was put up. The penguin has also become popular enough to have its own Twitter following. There are no less than three Monty the Penguin Twitter accounts with a combined following of more than 40,000.
As with many popular videos, this one invited many spoofs. Here is a horror version that is bound to make you laugh.
The ad from Sainsbury's is set in 1914, during World War 1. It is based on true events, when on Christmas Day that year, British and German soldiers paused, laid down their arms, and came together on neutral territory to share greetings, treats, cigarettes and even a game of football.
Sainsbury's collaborated with The Royal Legion, a charity which provides support to past and present members of the British Armed Forces and their families. The ad was made based on original reports and letters, as well as input from historians.
A German soldier finds a surprise, a chocolate bar, in his coat pocket, while the British soldier is shown to have only one biscuit to eat. It ends with the tagline: "Christmas is for sharing." The video had more than 1 million views on Nov 13, within a day of being put up. The hashtag #ChristmasIsForSharing also went viral, with several people saying they felt emotional after watching the video.
— Lisa (@LisaKiddiwinks) November 13, 2014
— Tom Jepson (@jeppo23) November 13, 2014
Although slightly predictable, international supermarket chain Tesco, which is headquartered in Britain, takes the audience through the joy of preparing for Christmas.
The ad is about getting lights out of the attic, buying lights, and decorating the home with lights. It ends with a spectacular light show featuring Tesco, and a tagline: "Every little helps make Christmas". The tagline does not seem to make much sense, but an explanation on the website says: "Tesco's 'Every Little Helps Make Christmas' campaign will focus on all the little things that help customers at Christmas".
British pharmacy and beauty chain Boots went with a simple concept for its Christmas ad, but it still works the heartstrings. It shows a group of people getting ready to go somewhere in the wee hours. They all end up at a home on the morning after Christmas Day. They surprise a woman and say "Merry Christmas Mum". Because the woman is in a uniform, the ad also appears to send appreciation to those who have to work over Christmas. It ends with "because she's special".
The ad for the British luxury brand features a family trying to outdo one another with their gifts. The competition, in the lead up to the finale, are a painting, a puppy, and a horse that a man declares is a unicorn. The winner? A Mulberry bag, of course. When the main character's grandmother gives her a pink Mulberry bag, she becomes ecstatic. The brand has also jumped onto the social media bandwagon, with the hashtag #WinChristmas.
— Kay McMahon (@kaybar007) November 13, 2014
— Trend Triangle (@TrendTriangle) November 13, 2014