Top 10 Christmas ads in the UK 2022

Kim Malcolm

We had so much fun researching this year's UK Christmas ads. We've loved learning super quickly how consumers are responding to those ads with our smart advertising testing tool at Zappi.

It was great to see so many brands hit the mark and strike the right chord with consumers.

Here's our list of the top 10 ads that performed best with consumers. Scroll through to watch each ad and learn a bit about what made them so special!

1. Aldi - Kevin the Carrot

The ad: Kevin the carrot is back for his seventh year. This time Kevin is found in a full "Home Alone" scenario, left at home while his family was set to jet off to Paris (with a few troublemakers to deal with). In the end, Kevin is seen successfully thwarting his home intruders and reuniting with his family — and Santa!

How it did: This was Aldi's best ad yet! Kevin the Carrot has become an incredible brand code for Aldi bringing consistency year on year, alongside versatility to keep it fresh by telling different, highly engaging stories. People love the playfulness and humor that Aldi bring every year a humor which is just right for their brand. And this, combined with a festive feel, fairytale story telling and food setting is quite the formula for success.

Read our full analysis of Aldi Christmas ads.

Aldi - Kevin the Carrot - Christmas ad 2022

How it did: This was Aldi's best ad yet! Kevin the Carrot has become an incredible brand code for Aldi bringing consistency year on year, alongside versatility to keep it fresh by telling different, highly engaging stories. People love the playfulness and humor that Aldi bring every year — a humor which is just right for their brand. And this, combined with a festive feel, fairytale story telling and food setting is quite the formula for success.

Read our full analysis of Aldi Christmas ads.

2. Lego - Have a Playful Christmas

The ad: This ad features children creatively building a fantasy vehicle with their LEGOs. When they walk outside, they see that what they’ve built has become life-sized! While Katy Perry sings “Firework,” the kids continue to build and play with their new toy in the real world. The campaign is a celebration of the creative power and optimism that children possess. They see endless possibilities for play and show us the difference play can make to the world as they rebuild it for the better.

Lego - Have a playful Christmas - Christmas ad 2022

How it did: Incredibly well! It could possibly be the most creative (and effective!) product demo in history. Consumers loved seeing the children’s joy — particularly as they join together to use their imaginations. As one person commented: "I loved seeing the children's imagination come true.” Plus, it’s 100% on brand for LEGO. It leads with creativity and the power of children’s imaginations, which is consistent with the brand’s values. We love how the ad demonstrates the magic (and the functionality) of the product, and the joy it brings, in a seamless and enjoyable way. It inspires people of all ages to prioritize play over perfection and unleash a childlike joy this holiday season.

3. M&S food - Fairy and Duckie

The ad: This ad features the iconic comedy duo Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders as Fairy and Duckie. The much-loved Fairy character, voiced by French, returns for a second year running. Meanwhile Duckie, a tattered dog toy, is a brand-new animated character voiced by Saunders for 2022. The fairy brings Duckie to life, who finds her voice and is immediately chased by an excited dog, Wylie, who is delighted to see his favorite toy awakened. The fairy works her magic and Duckie learns to fly out of his reach as they soar over a Christmas table spread of M&S’s festive menu. 

M&S food - Fairy and Duckie - Christmas 2022

How it did: M&S delivers magic again in 2022! Our data tells us that this ad was a hit. People loved the magic at the heart of the story and the humor with Dawn French as a fairy and Jennifer Saunders as a disheveled duck relieved to get time away from her life as a dog's toy. The spread of food looked delicious and inviting — and perfectly M&S. Importantly, people loved this element as much as other aspects of the ad.

4. Disney - The Gift

The ad: This year's Disney Christmas ad was one of the first out on the 2nd of November. Continuing the story from last year's emotional installment called "The Stepdad," we check in with the family a year later and see that Nicole (the mother) is pregnant. As the family is putting up their decorations, Nicole goes into labor and the kids are left with their grandma. Shortly after, the parents return with the new member of their family.

Disney - The Gift - Christmas 2022

Did it work: A beautiful, resonant story which shows the power of family connection. People got very emotionally involved in this story. They love the relationships and feelings of love across the whole family. They feel sadness for the youngest child who is anxious on welcoming a younger sibling. And they feel happiness and love as the story resolves with the youngest sibling welcoming and starting a positive relationship with their new baby sibling. A great emotional pay off for the audience and a very obvious "Disney" feel in the execution.

Some consumer responses included:

"It very much fits in with the Disney vibe and holds the value of Christmas."

"It showed the different emotions and kindnesses of the children and the understanding and care of the parents."

"I loved how it played on my emotions. I felt sorry for the little girl but happy in the end."

5. Amazon - Joy is Made

The ad: The ad brings to life the deep love a father feels for his daughter. It tells the story of a little girl who loves her snow globe so much she hates being separated from it. It is so precious to her and brings comfort and joy. Seeing the joy the snow globe brings, her dad sets out to create a life-sized version of her snow globe. He orders a shredder from Amazon and borrows items from neighbors. The end result? Unbridled joy and awe on his daughter's face.

Amazon - Joy is made - Christmas 2022

How it did: People love to be reminded of the power of love and emotional connection! This is a beautifully told story that draws people in, takes them on a journey, makes them resonate with the characters and feel the love between father and child. It was one of the most loved ads this Christmas (and of all time) with people playing back the story and how they felt in incredible detail. The reveal of the life-sized snow globe the father made has a huge emotional pay off, seen in the little girl and experienced by the viewers with strong likes jumping by 10% at this key moment.

As one consumer responded: "It gave such a wonderful sense of that childhood innocence and excitement when it comes to Christmas that we can all feel no matter what age we are. It also showed such a lovely relationship between father and daughter but also gave a sense of community spirit with the neighbours helping."

6. Asda - Have Your Elf a Merry Christmas

The ad: Buddy the Elf takes center stage in Asda's joyful Christmas ad. Christmas-loving Buddy the Elf (from the 2003 festive classic film Elf), has been recruited as a member of seasonal staff in the supermarket, much to the delight of his colleagues. Many a slapstick moment follows as Buddy samples the Christmas food, distracts his colleagues and — of course — sings loudly over the store’s tannoy system. The ad cleverly uses original footage and iconic lines to place the beloved Buddy right at the heart of the bustling Asda store in the build-up to his favorite time of year.

Asda - have your elf a merry Christmas - Christmas ad 2022

How it did: Asda delivers on fun and nostalgia to bring happiness this Christmas. Buddy's antics create a fun, highly likable, resonant and unique ad, offering a welcome burst of nostalgia as people get into the Christmas mood. Great entertainment, perfectly in keeping with the Asda brand and making people feel a sense of happiness and excitement for the season ahead. Just what people needed in these difficult economic times.

Some consumer responses included:

"From start to finish this advert is funny. It made me laugh with the interaction between the staff and the elf. Also interaction between the customers and staff. Especially when he goes on the tannoy and sings and when he eats the samples for customers to try."

"A good bit of "tomfoolery" with the elf. It's what we need at the moment. Too much doom and gloom. Happy adverts like this should appeal to all ages."

7. Barbour - One of a Kind-ness

The ad: Barbour has enlisted the help of the beloved Paddington Bear character to spread Christmas cheer. The ad follows Paddington as he delivers gifts for Christmas. As he does so, he notices that his grump neighbor Mr. Curry has been left out by the local carol singers. To cheer him up, the marmalade sandwich-loving bear decides to get Mr. Curry a gift. A perfect gift — a unique Barbour jacket. Mr. Curry loves the Barbour jacket and feels part of the community again.

Barbour - One of a kind-ness - Christmas ads 2022

How it did: Well-loved wholesome nostalgia with a lovable character! What a great choice of character. Paddington may have been around for 60 years, but with the newer films and his appearance with Queen Elizabeth II, he has cross-generational relevance. This makes this ad one people both love and want to share. People loved the nostalgia, the message of sustainability and the kindness/thoughtfulness all told via the character they love with humor and warmth.

Some consumer responses included:

"The fact that Paddington was in it, the warm endearing Christmas theme and the emphasis on pre-loved, sustainable and unique products."

"I liked the silliness, kindness and a bit of humour when he tried to get marmalade for the man, which in reality is what the bear likes."

8. Morrisons - Farmer Christmas

The ad: Farmer Christmas appears as the "other hero of Christmas" as Morrisons once again illustrates the work British farmers do to make Christmas so special. The ad follows Farmer Christmas as he travels across his fields on a festive tractor to his workshop where Morrisons staff (elves) are busy preparing festive dishes. The ad finishes with Farmer Christmas proudly explaining that Morrisons is the “only supermarket to be officially approved by me” because of its commitment to British farming, its food makers and its great value Christmas products.

Morrison's - Farmer Christmas - Christmas ad 2022

How it did: A Christmassy, likable and resonant story. People really liked the idea of "farmer Christmas" and the focus on the work that goes into bringing them delicious food for Christmas. The lighthearted tone, Christmassy feel, story, characters and focus on local British food not only resonated but was very "Morrisons" — helping the supermarket take credit for the ad and be salient this season.

Some responses included:

"It's clever to use a farmer to showcase the Christmas dinner because it's the reality. Our foods do come from farms. I like how he is called farmer Christmas because of all the hard work he has done working on his farm to produce the final Christmas meal."

"Farmer Santa Claus takes us on his sleigh (tractor) to a large indoor area full with food. Elves etc are preparing and making food. Then delivered and consumed. Amusing and entertaining. Lovely advert."

9. Tesco - The Christmas Party #standforjoy

The ad: In the style of a political campaign ad, this ad outlines the political promises of “The Christmas Party” — promises like “cut only prices and cake.” In addition to depicting many festive situations like family meals and carol singers, the ad highlighted low prices throughout. 

Tesco - #Stand for joy - Christmas ad 2022

How it did: Festive joy in spite of the economic crisis! We know the cost of living crisis is on everyone’s minds, but how can you address it without ruining the festive mood? Ask Tesco! Consumers felt this ad was an appropriate way to bring up our current economic conditions — and put them in a Christmas mood at the same time. One person summed it up beautifully: "I liked the whole Christmas theme and it showed that you can have a good Christmas even though we are in a cost of living crisis." A beautiful example of giving people hope and joy whilst acknowledging the here and now.

10. John Lewis - The Beginner

The ad: This year’s “The Beginner” depicts a man slowly and painfully learning to skateboard while he and his spouse get ready for Christmas. It’s not until the end that we learn the reason he’s learning to skateboard: They’re fostering a girl, Ellie, who loves skateboarding. He and Ellie bond over their skateboards while the ad tells us “Over 108,000 children in the UK are in the care system.”

John Lewis - The Beginner- Christmas ad 2022

How it did: This is a great example of taking people on a journey with an emotional rollercoaster. It's a beautifully told story with a happy and surprising ending that people really love. Consumers appreciated the kindness and love of humanity shown in this ad, especially during the festive season. This one hits the top 10 on the power of its emotion alone - people really feel it deep down and many even talk about it bringing them to tears (but happy tears!).

Read our full analysis of John Lewis Christmas ads from this year and the past.

Final thoughts

There you have it! Our list of this year's top Christmas ads in the UK.

Interested in holiday ads from the US? We looked at a few timeless holiday ads in the US to see what we could learn.

Looking to score a hit with your next ad campaign? Talk to us to learn how we can help.