Friday, December 24, 2021

NZ Christmas ads for 2021

It’s Christmas Eve already (in our time zone…), so why not post something Christmasy? This post is a little bit different than usual, compared to previous posts, and previous posts about Christmas. Could this be a new tradition?

In past years I’ve shared Christmas TV ads from around the world, and especially New Zealand. However, as I said in the “Ask Arthur” post yesterday, “I was recently going through old posts to research new ones, and I noticed that the videos that were most likely to be gone were TV commercials.” Because of that, I decided to skip sharing Christmas ads this year.

I then suddenly realised something that should’ve been obvious: I could create a YouTube Playlist of various ads and share that here instead of individual ads (the video above). Odds are good that at least one of them will stick around, and I won’t get the dreaded gray box where the video used to be. Maybe. I decided it’s worth a try, anyway, and if all the ads are removed, well, I guess one post with a big gray box is better than several?

I decided to limit the experiment to New Zealand-only ads because that’s what I post about normally, anyway. However, I also realised that big international brands usually have generic ads used everywhere, or they make subtle modifications for various countries. Even Australian retailers operating in New Zealand often use the same ad with a different voiceover.

There was another problem with sharing NZ Christmas ads: There aren’t many available. Plenty of retailers just haven’t created any Christmas TV ads this year, and many others simply haven’t posted their ads on YouTube, and so, I couldn’t include them in the playlist. Maybe it’s just as well: In previous years, the retailers deleted their ads, causing this whole muddle.

Now, on to the videos in the playlist (all ads are the long versions, but the longest is only 1:15):

1. “Make Their Christmas” – Michael Hill Jeweller. This is probably only technically a New Zealand ad, since the company was founded in New Zealand in 1979, but is now international. Headquartered in Brisbane, Australia, it operates in that country, New Zealand, and Canada. This ad is probably one of those “international” ads I talked about, but I’m including it anyway, not just because the company was founded here, nor because it was the first Christmas TV ad I saw this year (in mid-October!). The reason I’m sharing it because of the background song.

I first started seeing it when Hamilton was under a Covid Alert Level 3 Lockdown, which was emotionally trying all on its own. Then this ad comes on TV, with that song: "Only You" by Yazoo, which I blogged about last year. And hearing the song in the commercial did make me teary, though because of the song, not the ad, which is okay as such ads go.

2. “Give More Christmas at The Warehouse” – The Warehouse. This ad is from discount retailer The Warehouse, whose parent company is the largest retailer in New Zealand. I thought this was an unusual ad—nice that the dad was taking charge to help the mother, but the fact that he did literally everything in a blokey sort of way wore a but thin for me. I mean, it’s okay for what it is, and all, it just doesn’t light up my Christmas tree or anything. [Full disclosure: I shop at The Warehouse from time to time]

3. “Santa’s Workshop” – Mitre 10. This ad is from Mitre 10, a New Zealand chain of home improvement stores. Unlike it’s largest competitor, which is Australian owned, Mitre 10 is a co-operative. The commercial features Stan Scott, an actual builder, who fronts many of Mitre 10’s ads, as well as their “Easy As” series of “how to” DIY videos (I shared another ad fronted by him last year). I’m not a huge fan of this ad, to be honest, and the version I’ve seen the most (same one in the playlist) is the long version, which probably doesn’t help. Still, for a specialised retailer, it does the job. Easy as. [Full disclosure: I often shop at Mitre 10, as well as Austrian-owned Bunnings Warehouse—in fact, I shopped at both this week]

4. “A Magical Delivery” – Air New Zealand. This ad is pretty much “on brand” for the airline: Humorous, lighthearted, and filled with Kiwi jokes and slang (the actor playing Santa is a familiar New Zealand actor and comedian, whose name escapes me at the moment, and many other parts are usually played by actual Air New Zealand staff, so they probably are this time, too). This ad is my favourite of this year’s bunch.

5. “TheMarket Christmas with How To Dad” – TheMarket. This ad is for TheMarket (which has no space between the words of its name), a New Zealand e-commerce operation run similarly to Amazon. It’s owned by The Warehouse Group, which includes The Warehouse. The ad stars Jordon Watson, who’s probably best known for his “How To Dad” YouTube Channel, a comedic look at raising children. He’s begun to branch out a bit, including into commercials. There are two ads, and this was the first and, I think, better of the ads. They can all be seen—for now?—on TheMarket’s YouTube Channel).

6. “Something’s cooking at New World” – New World. New World is a New Zealand supermarket chain, with each store individually owned. The parent company, Foodstuffs New Zealand, is another cooperative—in this case, it’s actually two cooperatives: One for the North Island and one for the South Island. This ad is in line with their current series of ads, which had centred on the theme “whether you make it or fake it…”, promoting their ready-made food as well as the ingredients to make meals. This ad is pretty Kiwi—sorry, Kiwi as—and I like when retailers make ads include “New Zealandness” instead of just products. [Full disclosure: I often shop at New World, as well as Australian-owned Countdown, whose own Christmas ads aren't online this year].

7. “The Christmas Bowl Project New Zealand” – PETstock. I don’t know whether this is actually a TV ad or not—if it is, I haven’t seen it. I’m including this ad because it’s a good example of what I was talking about earlier: This is the Australian ad dubbed with a New Zealand voiceover. PETstock is a pet store chain that’s “a 100% Australian, family owned and operated business” that also operates in New Zealand. The Australian version of the ad is also on YouTube, though obviously the New Zealand narrator is better (that’s just a pisstake, by the way).

And that’s it for this year’s New Zealand (New Zealand-ISH?) Christmas ads. If this experiment works, I may do it again next year, and, who knows? I might even expand it to include international ads.

Speaking of international ads, though, here’s one final ad, the English version (and long version) of “When Harry met Santa”, an ad from Posten Norway (Norway’s post office). In addition to being a sweet ad, it’s unique for featuring two older gay men (most ads with gay characters use young men or women), and also because of its purpose, revealed in the final two title cards: “In 2022, Norway marks 50 years of being able to love whoever we want,” followed by “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, From: All of us, To: All of us”. For all those reasons, this is a great ad and deserves to be shared:

Merry Christmas!!

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