Christmas has come early, and it's brought with it some splendidly creative presents from Harry Styles, Guinness and more, writes LBB's Ben Conway
Christmas has come early! As we enter November, some of the biggest brands around the world have begun to deck the halls, decorate the Christmas tree and launch their festive campaigns. As well as some early Christmas presents from the likes of JD Sports, Sainsbury's and Sports Direct, this week's selection includes Harry Styles as an amphibious merman and Ben Stiller dressed for battle as a God of War.
The latter is a slick promotion for the latest instalment of Sony's 'God of War' videogame series, which features the comic actor - donning the costume of the series; protagonist, Kratos - holding a parent-child conference with LeBron James, John Travolta, and (begrudgingly) their children. Harry Styles' latest music video for his single 'Music for a Sushi Restaurant' features the pop star as a kind of squid-merman hybrid being. Destined to be slaughtered and served on a little dishy, the singing fishy wows his captors with his vocal prowess and saves his life by becoming a performer. Directed by Aube Perrie and produced by Pulse Films, the video is a perfect blend of weird and wonderful.
Our Christmas treats this week include JD Sports' seasonal offering, which stars a whole host of celebrities - from YouTubers KSI and Chunkz, to musical artists like Kano, and even has an appearance from British boxing icon Anthony Joshua. Taking a similar approach, but with a more comedic focus, Sports Direct's Christmas ad is led by none other than Manchester United legend, Eric Cantona. The French footballer-turned-actor demands 'football' in his stocking this year, as he interacts grumpily with Mason Mount, Thierry Henry and more, in a nod to this year's winter-time World Cup.
The rest of the best this week includes a heart-warming seasonal story from retail company The Warehouse and DDB Group New Zealand that shows 'It Doesn’t Cost the World to Mean the World This Christmas'. Not to mention fashion retailer Simons showcasing the beauty of life in a visually gorgeous film from Broken Heart Love Affair and an African perspective on the World Cup from Guinness.
As Christmas draws near, this new work from DDB Group Aotearoa demonstrates how it can help make wishes of all sizes come true. Carrying the message that it doesn’t cost the world to mean the world this Christmas, the spot shows a girl using her imagination to realise Nigel's dream. A heart-warming retelling of a timeless Christmas story of generosity and selflessness, the campaign shows that it's not all about how much money you spend this Christmas - but more about the kindness and effort you put in to help make your loved ones' Christmases special this year.
In this playfully irreverent film, a Kratos-inspired Ben Stiller leads a group parent-child session with LeBron and Bronny James, John and Ella Travolta, and his own son Quinn. In a fire-lit, God of War-themed study, Ben Stiller listens attentively as LeBron James and John Travolta try to find common ground with their children. From Quinn’s moping to Ella criticising her dad’s actions in public, the comedic spot shows how celebrities - and even the God of War - can struggle with earning the respect of their kids.
Commemorating, starring and telling the story of Jennyfer, a terminally ill woman who - through this spot - posthumously advocates for people to make deeper connections with the world around them, 'All Is Beauty' reminds the audience to explore the beauty that exists everywhere throughout life - and to not take that for granted. Directed by Mark Zibert, the film uses Jennyfer's own words and her end-of-life story to reflect on the past few years that has seen such global tragedy and vulnerability, and serves as a reminder that the human experience should always be one filled with appreciation and a balanced view on the world around us. It's a truly moving piece of work with a message that has never felt so poignant.
Harry Styles' latest music video features the pop star as a kind of squid-merman hybrid being. Destined to be slaughtered and served up for supper, he eludes his fate by impressing his captors and subsequent audiences with his impressive singing ability. Directed by Aube Perrie and produced by Pulse Films, the video is a perfect blend of weird and wonderful that captures Harry Styles at his musical and performative best - with the cherry on top of some excellent prosthetics and set design work.
The latest Guinness campaign in Africa - set in a Nigerian football-viewing centre - celebrates how football fans find ingenious ways to make the experience of watching the game accessible for everyone. The spot showcases the relationship between Miracle, and his brother, Abidemi, who are united through their shared passion for football. In this latest addition to the 'Black Shines Brightest' campaign, it is revealed that Miracle is blind, but despite not being able to see, he still brings an infectious energy that inspires others. He embodies how football and life is not just about what you see but what you feel. Created by AMV BBDO, the spot has a palpable excitement and energy to it which celebrates the passion and infectious fandom that football brings to communities in Africa and around the world.
Staying true to its roots, JD heroes the best in British youth culture. The spot is soundtracked by Kano’s song 'P’s & Q’s' and jam-packed with famous faces, including cameos from British sport, entertainment, and music culture. KSI, Kano, Chunkz, Bugzy Malone, Anthony Joshua, Jasmine Jobson, Thiago Silva, Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold, and more all make appearances visiting the 'JD Arcade' to harness their competitive spirit.
Starring British television icon Alison Hammond as 'The Countess' and created by Wieden+Kennedy London, viewers of the supermarket chain's 2022 Christmas ad are immersed in an imaginary medieval world where a festive feast is being prepared. The only problem is... The Countess has a distaste for the classic Christmas pudding. Taking on the challenge of developing a new dessert to satisfy her at Christmas dinner, a young cook embarks on a mission to breathe new life into the traditional pudding and change her mind.
Another sporty addition to cap off this week's selection - Sports Direct brings together some of the biggest names in football for a series of spin-off spots that subvert the traditional Christmas advert arms race. The trio of 20-second adverts star: Eric Cantona, Thierry Henry, Mason Mount, Declan Rice, Jarrod Bowen, Emma Hayes, Gabriel Jesus, and the iconic football commentator, Clive Tyldesley. Each of the films is a playful parody that reflects on the classic festive themes you've come to expect from Christmas ads - but all with a comedic football twist.