And it seems emotion has been replaced with humor for most of this year’s big hitters which, given 2020, is a welcome reprieve for most viewers.

We asked the team to review their favourites from 2020’s offering.

Sam Sm


Lidl – ‘Big on a Christmas you can believe in’

I have to say, I think Lidl has pitched this one just right. The animation and tone of the soundtrack lure you in to think it’s going to be your standard Christmas ad trying to warm your cockles. But that’s just misdirection. Listen closer to the lyrics and you’ll realise; Lidl are playing this one for laughs. Laughing at themselves, their competitors and even the concept of Christmas ads.

The lyrics of the ad playfully tease: “Don’t need cutesy characters when carrots taste this good” – just as a carrot is brutally stabbed with a fork. An obvious reference to Aldi’s returning Kevin the Carrot.

Lidl’s advert even makes playful references to ‘emotional gravy’ and other familiar moments designed to make viewers tear up. And then it brilliantly lampoons these tired Christmas ad tropes.

Does it warm my feelings towards the brand? Absolutely. But in a far more honest and humorous way than most will do this year.

Charlotte Sm


John Lewis & Waitrose – ‘Give a little love’

Whilst some have complained about the amount of animation styles featured in this two-minute epic, we at Citizen applaud the reasoning behind this decision. As I’m sure you’re aware the creative industries have been hit incredibly hard by the pandemic. So, John Lewis and Waitrose purposefully chose to spread the concept of ‘Give a little love’ far and wide. Employing illustrators, puppeteers and animators from across the UK and Europe to bring the vision to life. The merry band of creatives included experts in their fields, at the top of their game, right down to university graduates just stepping into the creative industry.

Whatever your thoughts on the finished product, if that’s not spreading a little love in a struggling industry, we don’t know what is.

Soph Sm

Sophie Plim

McDonalds – ‘Inner child’

This ad just really tugged on those heart strings for me. With there being a strong emphasis on mental health this year too, it shows that Christmas can bring cheer and get you out of your own head! I really felt for the mum, having to deal with her grumpy teenager, and it’s so sweet that he came out of himself because of Christmas and let himself be that little boy again. 

I think that’s what we all need to do sometimes – try and let that inner self out and have some fun. The song clinches the deal for me – Becky Hill’s ‘Forever Young’ – that’s exactly what we all want right, to stay forever young and just enjoy the little things. 

Graeme Sm


Plenty – ‘Xmess’

A first Christmas ad for Plenty, and for me, its up there with the best this year. We all know the chaos and mishaps that happen at family gatherings and Christmas is probably the most significant family gathering for most. Plenty’s ‘Xmess’ captures experiences many of us can relate to and their message for me is perfect; it doesn’t matter about the spills and mess, we are all together smiling in the face of adversity.

Katie Sm


TK Maxx – ‘The lil’ goat’

It’s no surprise that this is my favourite advert, I love goats, so for me, this advert has everything. It’s funny but also has a slight nod to the year from hell, when the goat’s human father says “She’s had such a hard year, she bloomin’ well deserves it”. Don’t we all deserve a new designer outfit after 2020? She says popping her designer hat on

But I also genuinely think this ad really works because it makes me want to go and do a bit of Christmas shopping. To treat myself and my loved ones! 

I knew I’d like this advert even from the first glimpse of the lil’ goat strutting her stuff. It’s hard not to love and it does have a deeper emotional meaning, like most of the ads this year, but it’s simple and lighthearted. And boy – don’t we need that this year!

Sophie Sm

Sophie Hughes

Coca-Cola – ‘This Christmas, give something only you can give’

It doesn’t take much for me to blubber over an emotional advert, and this year’s Coca-Cola ad was no exception. It shows a father’s epic journey to deliver his daughter’s letter to Santa before he goes off to work over the festive season. Tackling killer whales, climbing mountains, forging through the most dangerous of rivers. It paints a heart-warming picture of a father/daughter relationship and it certainly alters my expectations of my own dad. Pull your finger out this year dad! 

Above all else, it reflects the true magic of Christmas and our need to be present in each other’s lives.

Do you agree? Let us know your favourite, and if you’re feeling nostalgic, take a look back at our review of 2019’s offering here.