Sky Cinema Makes the Case for Movie Magic

Sky Cinema

UK Christmas Advert 2023


With the Christmas break almost upon us, how are you planning to spend your holiday time? Catching up with friends for a drink? Heading off on winter walks? A boardgame or two? Whatever your ideas, Sky Cinema have a suggestion to make – what could be more magical than gathering round the screen for a Christmas movie? And they’ve come up with an ad which makes that point beautifully.

Streaming services have two jobs with their Christmas ads. They need to tempt you emotionally with the promise that leisure time watching will be time well spent at Christmas. And in the era of multiple streaming services, they need to suggest that their festive line-up is the Christmas treat you’re looking for.

The way most streamers approach this is to show a montage of the best they have on offer, and Sky Cinema is no exception. You don’t always need to think outside the box if your box includes The Polar Express, Harry Potter, Mad Max, Forrest Gump and ET. But there’s more to this ad than just a stellar line-up. The genius of Sky Cinema’s ad is how it makes a wider case for watching films, leaning into the magic of cinema itself and framing the ad around a magical visit to the movies.

In the past this would have been a risky strategy – films on TV were seen as not quite “the real thing” and the magic of the movies was very much rooted in the physical location of the cinema. But that was before the pandemic, and the rise of the ultra-HD, giant-size home cinema set-up which means ordinary families can make movie night every bit as special as those cinema visits used to be. Especially at Christmas, when being at home with family has a magic all its own.

Sky do present a montage but tie it together not just with this cinematic framing but with a specially commissioned soundtrack – a cover of “Never Enough”, a hit song from 2017’s The Greatest Showman. Using a continuous soundtrack helps make all the different sections of the ad feel like one flowing narrative – along with some masterful editing. And the fact it’s a song from quite a recent hit movie helps the ad grab some right-brained attention with melodic music and a cultural reference, one aligned with the ad’s broader message.

This emotional framing and executional panache lands exceptionally well with viewers, who are delighted with the ad – it earns a 5.8-Star score on System1’s Test Your Ad platform, making it one of our top 10 UK Christmas ads even in the best ever year for them. Its short-term Spike Rating is also Exceptionally high, at the top end of all ratings in the Telecoms category. And it manages a good Brand Fluency rating with 89% recognising who the ad is for – not a bad performance given how stuffed with other IP the commercial is. Sky Cinema have successfully made the case for movie magic at Christmas – and pushed themselves ahead of their competition in doing so.

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