Sunny Side Up Review 2023 Christmas Ads

Written by Amelia Fraser

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Some of our Sunny Side Up team have rated the 2023 Christmas ads. Keep reading to hear our thoughts…


Alana: yay! A cute animal. Twinkling lights, chaos of the dogs running around, cute kids with doting parents, fun, silly, adventurous vibe. I LOVE IT, made me well up ha ha but I’m a sucker for a soppy Christmas vibe, nice tie in to the lidl toy bank at the end too.

Amar: The use of an animal is a plus, but it feels like this kind of story, where an animal goes to great lengths has been done before and doesn’t feel that original. It perhaps drags on a bit too long. However, the focus is on the toy bank, which is a positive message to direct towards.

Immy: I think this is a nice ad. It has gone down the more ‘fluffy’ festive route, and that those who shop with them for Christmas and beyond will be doing so regardless of the ad. However, that said, I do think it’s a slightly disappointing cop-out, as it does feel very similar to the John Lewis ads of Christmases past (think Buster the Boxer, Monty the Penguin, The Bear and The Hare). Good content, more creativity please Lidl.

M&S (Food)

Alana: The subtitles are very good and a lot more inclusive for deaf people! Really like the style of it, feels like a mini movie, felt very entertained. I like how they’re showing the food in a fun way and the music is very cinematic which I enjoyed.

Amar: Creating animated characters can sometimes create a massive buzz, especially if they’re memorable. They’ve introduced Right and Left Mitten, with the notable addition of Ryan Reynolds’ very recognisable voice. It’s a typical ‘magic of Christmas’ advert but nothing special… and not very memorable.

Immy: Fine. That’s my honest review of it. While I like the use of Dawn French – she’s a national sweetheart/treasure, and think her years in Vicar of Dibly pin her has a festive favourite – I don’t get the plot/story. I don’t see the relevance to a) Christmas b) M&S c) Food (I know they explain it sort of, but IMO it’s a reach). That said, it’s nice watching as a consumer, and the food looks amazing, they’ve done great on the staging of the product, which I guess is the real point of these ads, but the storyline misses the mark for me.

M&S (Clothing)

Alana: Meh. Not sure. I get what they’re trying to do by saying don’t do what you feel like you have to do because its xmas and just do what you love, but feels like they’ve gone for star-studded but those stars don’t really drive much? Don’t think it would have felt any different having random actors rather than celebs

Amar: This is an anti-Christmas advert. I love it because it’s bold and appeals to many people I know (not me), but it may not be the right idea as most of their target consumers probably love Christmas, and realistically M&S clothing is what people buy someone for Christmas when they run out of ideas.

Immy: I think the chosen characters for this are clever – very pop-culture relevant and ‘tween audience’ friendly. Using Hannah Waddingham, Sex Education star and Tan France, Queer Eye star within the first 10 seconds is immediately going to get that audience to pay attention. I also like the messaging behind it – we all have to do things we don’t like at Christmas for the people we love, and in reality a lot of the festive period is about sacrificing your own needs for those needs of the ones you love. But I think the joke of sacrificing some things but not others is (maybe too deep), a subtle play at boundaries – don’t just stick to tradition for others sake – break out of these age-old comfort zones and learn to say no, and make sure you enjoy this time with family in whatever that looks like for you and your loved ones. Obviously the controversy of the original ads burning hats is a tricky one. Perhaps we need to plan closer to the time to avoid political upsets, but then again red white and green are the festive colours and are present in pretty much all of these ads, so think we can safely note as ‘silly mistake’.


Alana: Meh. That turkey looked dry. Having Rick in there felt extremely random?

Amar: I think they’ve produced the best down-to-earth Christmas ad. No boxes are being ticked, no cliché songs, and a celebrity appearance that isn’t over the top or cliché (and it’s done right, he isn’t singing or playing some character).

Immy: I’ve loved previous ads from Sainsbury’s – think they’ve always kept a solid variety from the ‘Christmas Plug’ to the 1914 centenary ad. They’ve never followed a rule book, which I think is important in keeping consumers interested year after year. I think it’s a clever showcasing of festive products, and how one might order plan their menu for the big day, but again, I think the story is a bit ‘random’ (Rick Astley?? What are you doing here??) I think that’s the definition of paying a celeb to cameo with little added benefit (IMO) vs the relevance of Mr Bublé in Asda’s ad.



Alana: Very silly ha ha made me smile, the kind of thing my mum would crack up at, but didn’t really make me ‘feel’ much, but guess it’s the kind of thing you’d end up singing along to given its using a classic song!

Amar: Good song, simple, no super expensive items… it caters to their customers. It’s a typical uplifting ad with a cliché shot of a family in the background.

Immy: I think this is another clever one. It’s very different to ones we’ve seen before. Maybe the above ads suggest the ‘festive stories’ ads have been overdone and are becoming repetitive/tiresome. This is fresh. It’s stupid, obviously, but its light-hearted and another easy watch. Think it showcases the food product well, while not overdoing it, and also offers a fun take on the ‘typical Christmas cooking day’.


Alana: Aww I really l love this one, kinda nice that they don’t just try and wham in a load of different products. Nice and heartwarming without too much going on.

Amar: You never lose the will for adventure… completely flipped the script on fearing growing old. And picked a song that millions will be able to resonate to, with a sprinkle of snow and sledging to remind you it’s Christmas. It’s managed to pull my strings and made me feel warm. Find the joy in simple things (preferably simple things bought from Amazon and nowhere else if we’re being cynical).


Alana: Until Bublé came in, thought it felt a bit random/ didn’t really get the vibe. But Bublé made me instantly smile! He’s a classic cliché, but cliches a there for a reason and there’s no doubt he can instantly drum up that cosy happy Christmas feeling. Simple but it definitely felt like Christmas.

Amar: They’ve secured one of the top Christmas assets and have managed to create a buzz around their full advert, which isn’t even out yet. It’s a cheap Bublé trick, but one that always works, especially among their average shopper age group.

Immy: I think this is brilliant. It’s gone down a totally different route to its budget-friendly mate Argos, while still using a clever theme to reel beyond just its customer base in. This is less product focused, and more of the other more ‘fluffy’ festive stuff that IMO Argos was missing. It’s light and at a time where there’s so much negativity in the world, it brings joy. We all know who Bubes is – we all love him for Christmas (or maybe we don’t!) – but we can all relate and talk about this ad with a mutual understanding. I think Asda have potentially hit the nail on the head with their audience – those who shop at Asda for Christmas will be doing so regardless of the ad, but this is putting them at the forefront of the Christmas ad chatter, which is without question a smart move.

John Lewis

Alana: Half of me thinks it’s a cinematic masterpiece, the other half thinks it’s just a bit random. Either way, it’s fun and good to see a new vibe from the John Lewis ad this year

Amar: Another Christmas ad this year without the traditional snowman, reindeers… but features an adorable plant (always wins in my eyes). Snapper is definitely going to sell a lot of merch this Christmas. While ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ was before my time, John Lewis has played it safe and it’s worked for me. But has caused a stir, is it the high expectations of their adverts?



Alana: Was okay – felt a bit bored by the end of it!

Amar: They’ve portrayed Christmas as a party instead, done well and with minimal cheesiness. The celebrity appearance is done right.

Immy: Similar to how I feel about Morrison’s I think this is another smart one. Clever play on the Christmas party – like what we said to Majestic about no other shop owning the start of Christmas party season. It’s showcasing festive food product well, without overdoing it, although – see above note on paying a celeb to cameo with little added benefit – random Graham Norton popping up. But, I do like Graham, so he can get away with it (just a consumer opinion to finish).

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