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Our Christmas crackers

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Our Christmas crackers

It’s no surprise that the usual companies’ adverts catch consumers attention year on year with their festive offerings. Each advertising campaign has been crafted and honed for months to give you that heart-warming, fuzzy feel-good feeling.  Each one designed to help you part with your hard-earned readies. With so many to choose from, here are a small selection that caught our eye at Alive HQ.

John Lewis is getting a lot of press – good and bad about their excitable Edgar the dragon.  Each year they release Christmas adverts with lovable characters or celebrity tie-ins. This year was no exception. Beautifully filmed and fun to watch it was a firm favourite with many. And although the lovable Edgar has had a few complaints through OFCOM already, he’s still won plenty of hearts around the country.  But as much as he’s cute and cuddly and the sentiment is lovely it’s not him that caught our eye (as we really didn’t want to pick the obvious ‘big boys’ to talk about) … no! this year there’s a twist to John Lewis Partnership advertising. It comes in the shape of Aldi.

Aldi have served JL a winning serve after they spotted that Edgar the dragon was holding a carrot, which he had hoped to plant on a snowman before he got excited and melted it. But what’s that got to do with Aldi? Their festive superstar is Kevin the Carrot, who seems to have taken offence at being part of the JL advertising this year. It seems he has instructed his people to contact JL’s people to discuss his cameo appearance in their advert (and we assume negotiate his royalties cheque!).

Hmm does this sound familiar to Mel B’s tweet to Tesco recently too perhaps?



Kudos to Aldi for this winning jibe. We’d already picked out their advertising as a festive cracker for us this year. The storytelling and SM campaign has captured the imagination as they set the scene for Kevin being missing in advance of the advertising campaign launch.

As Kevin the carrot embarks on another adventure, escapes from the deadly sprout mob – leafy blinders, then entertains the crowds as he sings to Robbie Williams in a circus top we can see that this campaign continues to have ‘legs’.




Ikea have gone gangster and stepped away from the sentimental offerings we come to expect at Christmas. Their #WonderfulEveryday advert has a great vibe, a hilarious rap about the house they live in being tired and in need of some TLC. Highlighting how a trip to Ikea can turn “the very, very .. very, very … very unacceptable into the fresh and clean”. It’s a breath of fresh air in a sea of jolly festive music and overpriced Christmas decorations. Well done Ikea #silencethecritics.




Argos have their own way of doing Christmas advertising. The #BookOfDreams advert features a great, recognisable 80’s soundtrack and good use of product. Fabulous drum solo from Nandi Bushell who loved her experience.

Many on SM have said they are not fans of Christmas adverts but this one was ‘off the scale good’.




The blooming Barbour Christmas advert, has been created to celebrate 125 years of business.  With its wonderful use of storytelling to highlight the longevity we have all come to expect of Barbour products, beautiful illustrations by Raymond Briggs (famous for 1978 The Snowman) and a special little nod of sentiment, it’s a festive winner.

Finally, the puffed-up festive bakes of Greggs pre-Christmas campaign advertising made us smile. The campaign enticed people to get their hands on the festive bake earlier than other cities by voting for their location of choice on their festive website. The campaign isn’t culminating in a Christmas advert but rather has created a buzz in advance of the jostling and noise of the mid November Christmas advert releases.  The tour completed with 500 free festive bakes delivered early November. Did you get yours?



“The guys at Alive understand the complexities of our business which means we don’t need to explain the detail of every project or design piece – they’re already on it, which keeps things moving and delivers the results we need.”

Emily Stoten — Head of Marketing, Selecta

“I feel like they own and care for the project as much as we do! I would not use anyone else for my creative work and think Alive is ahead of the game.”

Jo Hobbs — Communications Manager

“Thanks for all your help. We are delighted with the campaign, both in terms of the creativity and messaging but also the thought taken over the rollout of the materials. All looks absolutely fabulous!”

Sarah Crowdy — Campaign and Media Officer Communications, South East Water

“We went to ‘Alive’ for ideas on how to run a specific employee program in Europe. Alan and his team were brilliant in coming up with fresh, creative and practical approaches. The team took charge and executed brilliantly. We are pleased with the progress made so far and hope to have the same level of partnership and commitment going forward.”

Sobha Varghese — Tata Consultancy Services

“We had the privilege to work with the Alive team. It was our first time to be involved in creating an animation for our patients within paediatrics. The team were approachable, friendly, creative and very accommodating. Your vision for what you want to create, is at all times acknowledged, appreciated and accommodated by the team. They worked effectively and with great passion towards our project and worked not only alongside health professionals but also our patients who really enjoyed the experience of working with the Alive team. It has given our team the confidence and inspiration to do further projects in the future. We highly recommend Alive and their exceptional team.”

DR ELENI ATHANASAKOS, Lead Paediatric Clinical Scientist — NHS Barts Health

“‘The short animation developed in co-production with clinicians and young people is outstanding! Informative, developmentally appropriate, vitally fun and engaging. We are really grateful for the expertise of the Alive with Ideas team for their innovative approach in building children’s health literacy.'”

Kath Evans — Director of Children’s Nursing at Barts Health

“Our mission was to update our brand visuals to better reflect our innovative and forward-thinking organisation. After receiving numerous pitches from different branding agencies, Alive stood out with their clear passion and understanding of our identity and goals. We thoroughly enjoyed working with the Alive Team to create an engaging new brand that we are immensely proud of.”

Lianne Springer — Communications and Engagement Lead

“Alive wowed us during the pitch process and they didn’t stop wowing us throughout the whole project. Every person we worked with at Alive were so friendly, knowledgeable and clearly passionate about what they do. They have worked with us to really understand what we do and have created a new brand and website that really stands out from our competitors. Thank you!”

Louise Burnard, Head of Marketing and Communications UK — Be | Shaping the Future

“I think the team have done such a brilliant job, particularly with responding to our requests. It's one of the best mental health videos I've ever seen. Very proud to be associated with your exemplary work. Thank you so much.”

Dr Anna Batho — Clinical Psychologist – Critical Care, UCLH

“We have worked with Alan, Caroline and the wider Alive With Ideas team for many years. In that time, they have provided a dedicated service that is second to none. We appreciate their attention to detail and creative approach to bringing our brand, communications and stories to life. And would recommend them to anyone looking for creative communications support.”

Georgia Beech — Internal Communications Specialist, Ocado Group

“This is brilliant. I wanted to give my heartfelt thanks to all of the team who worked on this. You all understood exactly what we wanted to communicate and why, and then managed to do it in a way that was far better than anything I could have imagined. I’m a bit choked up to be honest!”

Sarah Wright, Head of Communications and Campaigns — NEA

“Each time I work with the team, I am always stunned at the effort and creativity that goes into each detail and am always eager for the end result. The team is extremely accommodating and always provide a fresh approach to our projects that elevates our communications materials!”

Alana Khaytin, Communications Specialist — Braskem America

“What I really appreciate about Alive is that they work with us as partners, and care as much about getting it right for our patients as we do.”

Sara Langston, Patient Engagement & Marketing Manager — italk

“Alive are unique in how much they deeply listen and invest in you and your ideas. I have not come across a company that listens as much as they do to ensure your needs are understood and met (actually - they always exceed my needs and expectations). Everyone I recommend Alive to has an equally brilliant experience. When you work with Alive, you are not only getting some genius creativity brought into your life, you are also hanging out with some of the best examples of human beings I’ve ever known.”

Steph Tranter, Hybrid Exec Coach & Psychologist —

“Alive helped us create a video of our response to the floods of winter 2019. Our Chief Officer received messages from all round the country praising us for it and was really pleased with both the video and the response to it.”

Alexander Mills, Communications Manager — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“Alive were professional, friendly and great to work with. Most importantly they were creative, helping us to bring an extremely important safety campaign to life.”

Jack Grasby — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“The (Alive) team were able to creatively pull together and document (in just over 2minutes) everything our service has achieved over the last few months, from thousands of prescriptions deliveries to hundreds of phone calls made to the vulnerable. The final product was so powerful and reflective of what our service has and continues to achieve. It couldn’t have been better received within the service – thanks Alive for once again helping us to communicate our vision!’”

Emma Wright — South Yorkshire & Rescue

“We worked with the team at Alive to create our staff recognition video.
At a time like this, its never been more important to share the amazing work that our staff have done and continue to do on a daily basis under very difficult circumstances. We wanted to shout about this and recognise that when the time came, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue stepped up to the plate. We didn’t want an ordinary thank you post on social media or a basic email sent out internally, we wanted something special. Enter Alive. ”

Emma Wright — South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue

“This looks amazing - brought a smile to my face scrolling through it :-)”

Jack Ford, Head of Marketing — streamGO

“Our company is fun, we have great brands, but most importantly we’re all about our people – and I wanted an agency who would understand that and help us bring it to life through our website and other comms. Straight away I felt that Alive ‘got’ us and provided the creative inspiration exactly where we needed it, as well as the technical expertise to deliver a well-functioning website.”

Keren McCarron, Head of Corporate Affairs & Communications — KP Snacks

Thank you so much. Incredible work done at incredible speed by incredible people.
Outstanding work as ever and what a turnaround. As for the concepts – wow. These are that good it would be an insult to describe them as just good. It’s a joke, quite frankly. This is exactly the Alive effect I was after. Right now I feel like I am living in an Alive With Ideas wonderland. Thank you!”

Jack Grasby, Campaigns Manager — SYFR

“If you are looking to improve creativity and build teamwork, I highly recommend a session like this for your team. No matter where you are in your creativity journey, a workshop like this can give your team a boost of energy and ideas to invigorate their creative thinking.”

Amy Lilja, IC Manager — Hennepin Healthcare

“Alive were there to help when we were working every hour to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. They gave us the creativity, ideas and support we needed to deliver campaigns which empowered our residents in the most difficult time most of us have ever seen, personally and professionally. The team understood what we needed, worked closely with us and delivered fast without any compromise on quality. Working with Alive has been a joy in the darkest of times and I have no doubt will have helped to save lives. Thanks team x”

Julie Odams, Assistant Director of Communications & Customers — Derbyshire County Council

“We got 'Alive' involved to help us shift mindsets across our organisation and they delivered! Using simple, clear and creative ideas the team have delivered us a campaign which has seen a dramatic increase in idea sharing and development. They’ve also played a significant role in creating a culture of shared success. I wouldn’t hesitate to work with again, in fact, we already are!”

Gavin Buckle — B&Q
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