Joules Makes a Christmas Splash

Joules Makes a Christmas Splash


It can seem like Christmas ads are for big brands only. The budgets and the media attention belong to the big retailers, and launching an ad into that space must feel like an indie band’s Christmas single going toe-to-toe with Mariah Carey.

But if you’re a smaller brand, don’t despair. Every year there are examples of lesser-known names who bring some individual sparkle to the festive ad race, with scores on the Test Your Ad platform that put them right up with the big players.

This year it’s British outdoor clothing brand Joules, with a very unusual Christmas spot celebrating the joys of outdoor swimming. Joules are actually no strangers to the Test Your Ad Top 10 – they also showed up in 2019, but that was with an ad guest-starring the much-loved characters Wallace And Gromit. This year there;s no hired help: the brand is on its own.

“Live Merry And Bright” has a very basic story. A bunch of friends and their dog head down to the sea in Christmas jumpers, They shed the jumpers – and everything else – to splash about in the sea. The ad is deliberately keeping things simple – no soundtrack, no tinsel, no special effects – just a celebration of friendship, the outdoors, and doing your own thing at Christmas time.

Even so it’s notable how many of the “right-brained elements” detailed in Orlando Wood’s Look Out and Lemon the ad manages to include. There’s a ton of betweenness and meaningful glances; a very strong sens of place; a single story with no fancy edits or cuts – all things which help the ad grab attention and build emotion.

(There’s also a dog in a Christmas jumper, which can’t hurt.)

The result is a 4-Star ad, putting Joules into our Christmas Top 10 once again. And though the ad doesn’t do that well on Brand Fluency – because it’s a small brand – it does have enough dynamism and intensity to nail a Strong short-term Spike score.

So what’s our advice for small brands wanting to make a mark at Christmas? What Joules and agency Brothers & Sisters have got right here is the combination of a great idea, a very human and entertaining execution, and most importantly a Christmas ad only this brand could or would make. With those in place you don’t need a big guest star or a huge budget,

There’s no denying that Christmas is a tough time to advertise – the average Star Rating rises for Christmas ads so the competition is always strong. Making a festive ad, like skinny dipping in December, isn’t for everyone. But do it right and even for a small brand the results can be exhilarating.