Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Four New Zealand 2020 Christmas ads

Every year there are all sorts of TV ads for Christmas, and this year is no different—except this year is very different, of course. We’re extremely lucky in New Zealand that we’ll basically have a normal Christmas (assuming anything doesn’t go wrong, which could happen—it IS 2020, after all…). Here are four New Zealand TV ads new for this year.

The ad up top, “A Whiteware Christmas”, is the long version of an ad from a New Zealand retailer of whiteware and smaller electronic items. Smith City. The YouTube description sums up the ad: “Dom's got a big surprise for Kate this Christmas. See how it goes down, in our honest festive tale.” The storyline isn’t particularly new—mistaken assumptions are a staple of situation comedies. And it’s entirely possible some people may take offence at the depiction of the woman being offended for all women, even though one could argue that’s a very contemporary thing. For me, the reason this ad works is the quality of the acting, and that it just barely promotes what the retailer sells. When I first saw the ad, I thought it must be about something else entirely, maybe even one about family violence or something. The fact that the ad was so unusual is another thing about it that resonated with me.

An ad for New Zealand discount retail chain The Warehouse also takes a lower-key approach to selling:

This is a cute ad, and it also promotes the idea that small gifts can mean a lot—maybe even the most. The ad still promotes buying something from the store, though something small, but in a year in which many people are still shaken by the effects of the Covid lockdown (financial effects included), this is a particularly good message. The storyline isn’t particularly original, but maybe it’s all the more effective because it isn’t.

Next up, a bank that doesn’t want people to spend money:

This ad is the long version of an ad for New Zealand-based (Australian-owned) bank, BNZ, and I didn’t realise what it was about until the very end. It’s a bit like the ad up top in that the acting of the female lead is really good.

Finally, an ad for New World, a New Zealand-owned supermarket chain (one of two supermarket companies in New Zealand; the other is Australian-owned):

This ad is unique to 2020, which, as the ad’s narrator says at the beginning, has been “kinda weird”. The ad shows some of the ways it was weird, and then pivots to building on that experience because, as the ad says at the end, “one thing we all deserve this year is a cracking good Christmas.”


If this was a normal year, Christmas ads would be promoting buying stuff, and there’d be a lot of them. But, this is 2020: Everything’s different, and so far, this year's ads reflect that (last year's ads for NZ Post are also running this year, and fit right in).

We get a few international ads, and they try to sell stuff, as have a few New Zealand ads. These four stood out for me not just because they’re among the first that have begun airing (the one from The Warehouse was the first one I saw this year), but also because of they have a gentler approach to selling stuff than we typically see. Maybe there will be more TV ads as we get closer to Christmas.

In any case, the season has Christmas season has definitely begun, even a year that’s been “kinda weird”.


Roger Owen Green said...

I like the first ad, even though I figured out the punchline during the rant.

Arthur Schenck said...

The thing I focused on was, how did she not know there was a new fridge there?! How did they move that in there without her knowing? She was apparently in the room next to the kitchen with someone's mother, yet never heard the new fridge being moved in nor missed her partner and the father? There was a loaf of unsliced bread on the bench, which she proceeded to slice, and then headed to the fridge to get stuff, apparently expecting to find the usual stuff. Then she opened the door for the payoff. It's funny the things we focus on.

I still liked the ad, though.