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Rooster’s Annual Christmas Advert Panel 2023 Edition

Rooster’s Annual Christmas Advert Panel 2023 Edition
10 November 2023 Samantha Anderson

Celeb agents must be laughing to the bank this year as the common theme among most of the retail Christmas ads is the star cameos. From Graham Norton vs Ryan Reynolds in premium food, to Michael Buble vs Rick Astley in supermarkets, it was all about who used their celeb budget best. This year’s Rooster panel had, in some cases, extremely opposing views. We’ve picked some of our favourites and, as always, a winner for 2023 is revealed… spoiler alert: it’s not John Lewis.



  • Annie Hopson I can’t stand Michael Bublé’s music, so for that alone I give it a 5/10. I was eagerly anticipating where this ad was going as I enjoyed the Elf inclusion last year, but Buble is a no from me… although I do think it’s smart, he is heartthrob for many mothers so bang on with Asda’s target demographic. Score: 5/10
  • Sam Davis You really can’t go wrong with Bublé, who still stands alongside Mariah Carey as the proverbial King and Queen of Christmas music. Really nice product placement without it being too pushy or forced and some fantastically cheesy acting. I am deducting one point, however, as I refuse to believe that a truffle and parmesan pig in blanket is better than the maple bacon wrapped original and no amount of wide-smiled crooning will convince me otherwise. Score: 9/10
  • Average Rooster score: 7/10


  • Hannah Carlisle Good on Hannah Waddingham for cashing in on all those Christmas ad cheques – M&S and Baileys adverts this year, good for you gal. I actually love that they’ve gone down the tongue in cheek route rather than forcing tears this year, which did feel like it was getting a bit repetitive. The idea that people make their own Christmas traditions and don’t have to follow the rulebook I think is a perfect message for 2023, and adds a little joy to a pretty downcast year. Score: 8/10
  • Saf Hossain I was more interested in this ad before I realised Hannah Waddingham also appears in a Bailey’s advert this Christmas. So, it loses some of the star appeal. Kudos to her agent though. Score: 5/10
  • Charlotte Wright Something a little different, not emotional nor traditional, but it’s still impactful. Christmas should be personalised and celebrated however people wish to do so – it’s 2023 after all. Score: 7/10
    Average Rooster Score: 6/10


  • Dylan Smart Horrible. Score: 1/10
  • Tilly Everard Love this – think it is very on-trend for 2023, specifically with its seemingly never-ending stream of viral TikTok dances, whilst also putting the Argos brand and its products front-and-centre in a fun and inventive way – from the coffee-turned-smoke machine to talking toys, such as Trevor the dinosaur toy-turned-helpless camera man. And all without the need to spend a fortune on a high-profile celebrity cameo, unlike many of the big brands this year!
    Score 10/10
  • Saf Hossain I like the fact that this continues with Argos’ Toy Story concept and isn’t a complete departure from their existing strategy for the sake of a Christmas ad. Score: 6/10
    Average Rooster Score: 4/10


  • Hannah Carlisle Big fat MEH. All very ‘It’s a Small World’-esque and didn’t feel like anything new – reunions at airports, children dancing, families eating meals together – seen it all before. Or maybe I’m just Scrooge? I did like that it showed Christmas traditions around the world and sang in different languages and gave a message of unity, but other than the song being a Disney classic, didn’t feel any sort of relevance to the brand. Score: 3/10
  • Yasmine Triana I was surprised to see so little reference to Disney-owned products, shows, films or characters, until I realised they’re doing a simple partnership with Make A Wish to plug their next animated film “Wish”. Not a fan of using a charity partnership in this way. They could’ve at least used this opportunity to promote what Make A Wish does… Score: 4/10
  • Charlotte Wright A sweet ad. Keeping the magic alive whatever your age, religion, race or language – that’s what Disney is all about. Score: 6/10
  • Average Rooster Score: 5/10

M&S Food

  • Hannah Carlisle Dawn French on top of a tree talking to a sentient pair of mittens is the epitome of Christmas joy. LOVE that they poke fun at the usual Christmas tearjerker, love the slight hint of naughtiness for adults. Brilliant placement of products and very clear what the brand is and their target of families. Not too serious, and makes you smile, the perfect Christmas advert. Score: 10/10
  • Yasmine Triana You can recognise Ryan Reynolds’ voice anywhere. With how popular he and Rob McElhenney have been in the UK this year I thought that was a cool addition to the Dawn French’s Christmas Fairy. Didn’t make me want to buy M&S Christmas food though… they’ve sold this better in previous years. Score 5/10
  • Saf Hossain Like Beetlejuice 2, a disappointing and needless sequel to a classic. Score: 3/10
  • Average Rooster Score: 6/10

TK Maxx

  • Annie Hopson Excellent, light-hearted, funny and entertaining – it made me actually giggle. Christmas adverts can so often be serious or try to be ‘woke’. This was just silly and lovely. My favourite one by far. Score: 9/10
  • Yasmine Triana Nice throwback to possibly my favourite Christmas ad of all time, the TK Maxx Goat of 2020, when we all ‘bloomin well deserved’ a treat at Christmas. Shame they couldn’t come up with an original story, and it’s odd that they took a completely different approach in 2021 & 2022 only to come full circle here. Still, it sends the ‘buy more for less’ message in a fun way without being too sales-y. Score: 7/10
  • Dylan Smart How can I give a goose wearing human underpants anything lower than a: Score: 7/10.
  • Average Rooster Score: 7/10


  • Hannah Carlisle Cute concept of giving back to the people who give the most and very clear what the brand is throughout, but again, didn’t feel super memorable. I think a classic British advert needs some humour and this didn’t have it for me. Score: 6/10
  • Dylan Smart Loved this one. I feel like Boots would be a tough brand to push this time of year, doesn’t immediately come across that glamorous. But the narrative was well thought out, had a nice pace to it and the end gift for Santa is brilliant.  Score: 9/10
  • Saf Hossain Excuse me while I dig out my ‘kid wants to give Santa a gift cliché’ klaxon. Score: 3/10
  • Average Rooster Score: 7/10


(featuring Rick Astley… I PROMISE I haven’t Rick Rolled you with this one)

  • Hannah Carlisle: Love the little pokes of humour throughout, especially love the Rick Astley appearance, which is where I think they beat the star power of ASDA – Rick can poke fun at himself whereas Michael Buble still looks polished and perfect. Again, very clear what the brand is throughout. Score: 7/10
  • Annie Hopson Average. I think they could have utilised Rick better, making it more iconic/nostalgic/ played on ‘rick rolling’ just meh. Score: 5/10
  • Charlotte Wright Potentially an unpopular opinion, but I don’t think that Rick added much to this. Pretty self-serving ad, you can’t miss the sales push. Didn’t really inspire me. Score: 5/10
  • Average Rooster Score: 6/10


  • Yasmine Triana Cast is completely on-brand and in contrast to other star-studded ads this year, they do a great job of putting the product front and centre. By the end of the ad I was salivating, and had FOMO from that house party. Score: 9/10
  • Dylan Smart Lacked imagination and didn’t find it all that funny. Score: 5/10
  • Charlotte Wright Good vibes, Christmas festive fun and some creative script writing here to plug the products without being too sales-y (Sainsbury’s could take a leaf out of their book!) Score: 7/10
  • Average Rooster Score: 8/10

Coca Cola

  • Annie Hopson Visually very aesthetically pleasing with a sort of retro feel and in keeping with the iconic branding. Cute and heartwarming. Score: 7/10
  • Yasmine Triana Considering Coca Cola invented the Santa we know commercially today, no one else can take ownership of him like they can. I like the message that ‘being santa’ isn’t all about gift-giving. Cool glimpse of the famous ‘holidays are coming’ Coca Cola truck. Score: 7/10
  • Saf Hossain As I watched this I pictured the strategy meeting that spawned this idea. A slide depicting the annual ’Santa Run’ was shown on a big screen. An analyst definitely said “our data indicates that audiences feel strongly about the iconic Coca Cola trucks”. We ended up with my favourite Christmas ad of the bunch. Score: 9/10
  • Average Rooster Score: 8/10

John Lewis

  • Hannah Carlisle The only really emotional advert but still hit a great balance of oddity and humour at the same time. The product placement was understated, but the John Lewis advert has successfully transformed into a brand of itself and almost doesn’t need the heavy product placement that other ads need to identify it as John Lewis. Score: 10/10
  • Annie Hopson I really enjoyed it. However, I don’t think anything will be able to top the foster carer/skateboarding one from last year. I liked that it was a bit weird/had a different vibe and didn’t use a famous song cover like previous years. Will be really interesting to see if Venus fly traps quadruple in sales… Score: 8/10
  • Sam Davis Andrea Bocelli and the John Lewis Christmas advert was not a combination that I’d ever considered possible, and I’m so happy that we’ve got it. The original, Italian song written specifically for the advert is performed triumphantly and combines with a really heartwarming story about doing away with tradition, making for an emotive and powerful advert. They’ve done it again! 9/10
  • Saf Hossain This year John Lewis split from Adam&Eve after 14 years of iconic Christmas ads. I’m surprised that the first effort by Saatchi & Saatchi goes back to the formula of “child meets CGI creature that no one accepts”. I really loved last year’s John Lewis ad, and this feels like a step backwards. Score: 6/10
  • Average Rooster Score: 8/10

And the winner is…

A tie between Waitrose, John Lewis and Coca Cola on average scores forced us to a final vote.

Coca Cola is an unexpected winner this year with a return to its Santa roots. The team loved the aesthetically pleasing and light-hearted concept, reminding us all that without the famous 1931 Coca Cola ad by artist Haddon Sundblom, the jolly, rosy-cheeked Santa in red and white wouldn’t exist today. And of course, Christmas doesn’t really start until you get a glimpse of the famous Coca Cola Truck.