The latest Advertising Association / Warc report has predicted that big-name brands will spend almost £1bn more on campaigns this Christmas compared to last year, to make up for lost income during the pandemic. 

2021 trends include short films circulated via social media and CGI characters animated into ads. We’ve put together a list of a few of our favourites to share with you- let us know what you think on Twitter at @AstleyMedia!



M&S is making waves this Christmas as the first UK retailer to use Flowcode to embed custom QR codes into their social media and television ads. The family centred campaign began with a #WhoisPercyPig “pre-campaign”  via social media to build anticipation, which the company predicts will have reached 9 million consumers across the UK. The two TV ads follow, using Flowcode to “seamlessly” blend the technology of easier online access with the visual spectacle and the star power of Tom Holland and Dawn French. Technology also brings their iconic Percy Pig mascot to life through digital animation in the M&S food ad!



This next campaign is one of our favourites because it uses technology for a good cause. Housing and homelessness charity Shelter have developed a YouTube virtual log fire, taking advantage of the Google platform’s revenue share model for “free” donations. The charity has developed a ten hour video of a log burning fire, after learning about their popularity in previous years with families projecting the videos onto their televisions at home to create a cozy, christmassy atmosphere. By playing the video, viewers are inadvertently donating to Shelter whilst being reminded of those without a warm home over winter, encouraging further donations.

Andy Harris, director of fundraising at Shelter, said: “This will be an especially tough winter for many, for thousands of families it will mean Christmas spent in cold, cramped temporary accommodation, and for some people it will even mean freezing nights spent sleeping on the streets.

“Shelter’s frontline services will continue to work tirelessly to help as many people faced with the trauma of homelessness as we can, but we need the public’s help. Just by watching ‘The Good Fire’ from the comfort of your own home this Christmas you can help us fight for a safe home for everyone without one, this winter and beyond.”



Another campaign for a cause is Budweiser’s annual Pupweiser competition. This entails consumers photographing their four-legged friends and sharing the photos online and via social media, with the winner featuring on the company’s 2022 holiday cans. For each entry the beer brand is donating $1 to the ASPCA to tackle animal cruelty this Christmas.


Sports Direct

Sports Direct is using and embracing TikTok’s technological features to get young people active this Christmas. The campaign is part of a “£6 million, star-studded rallying cry to try and get people off the sofa”, featuring sports stars such as Emma Raducanu, Jordan Pickford and Jack Grealish, and is being head up by grime artist Big Narstie. The concept is that users can engage with Sports Direct’s custom “naughty, Narstie or nice” game or filter and post videos with the hashtags goalloutthischristmas and sportsdirectnaughtylist to be in with a chance of winning £2000. The campaign has been a huge success, with the challenge videos achieveing a total of 2.7bn views across the platform at the time of writing.

CMO Beckie Staion stated “We partnered with TikTok on a gamified effect that is interactive, authentic and rooted in our social community. The result is an engaging experience that taps into Sports Direct’s playful persona and the creativity and fun that exists on the platform.”