Amazon and Asda go head-to-head in RetailWire’s Christmas Commercial Challenge

Sources: “Joy is made” – Amazon; “Have your Elf a Merry Christmas” – Asda
Nov 29, 2022

Will it be or Asda that joins Etsy, Kroger and Publix into the finals of the 2022 edition of the RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge?

Amazon’s “Joy is Made” spot is a mini movie that tells the story of a father, a daughter and her unusual attachment to a snowglobe. The commercial, which has been viewed over 63,000 times on YouTube, was directed by Oscar winner Taika Waititi.

Asda makes use of Hollywood star power for its “Have your Elf a Merry Christmas” commercial that brings back Will Ferrell’s Buddy the elf character to tell a message that the retailer is no ordinary big box retailer. The spot has been viewed more than 2.2 million times on YouTube.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What is your critique of the Christmas spots from Amazon and Asda? Which retailer does a better job of connecting with its core customers while reaching out to new shoppers with its Christmas spot?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
"Excellent casting and storytelling by both retailers."
"The girl/dad advertisement is a tremendously heartwarming story brilliantly produced yet isn’t likely to move the needle online or at stores."
"Asda for sure! It (literally) screams Christmas, shows Asda’s value proposition and offerings, and features Will Ferrell."

Join the Discussion!

16 Comments on "Amazon and Asda go head-to-head in RetailWire’s Christmas Commercial Challenge"

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Gary Sankary

I saw the Amazon ad over the holiday weekend but didn’t remember it was from Amazon. I guess that’s a bit of an indictment of its effectiveness (or my own distraction). The Asda ad has a much stronger brand message. But which ad am I more likely to click on to see again and share with others? Hands down, the Amazon ad.

Georganne Bender

These two spots are so different. Amazon’s is beautifully filmed but I found my mind wandering. What’s with the kid’s attraction to the snow globe? Snow? Was it her mother’s? It didn’t feel Christmasy. And I thought how lucky the dad was to have a greenhouse handy. Bah humbug? Maybe. Or maybe that spot just tried too hard.

The Asda ad screamed Christmas. It was predictably funny, but I liked how it included so much of the store and its associates. It held my interest and made me laugh. Asda wins in my book.

Fun fact: My first job was as an elf at Santa’s Village. We elves have to stick together!

David Naumann

Great assessment Georganne. I thought the Amazon ad was slow and didn’t keep my attention. Tha Asda ad was fun, captivating and featured the retailer’s products in a memorable way. My vote is for Asda.

Neil Saunders

Amazon’s is a well produced spot. However I find it lacking in holiday cheer and, if anything, it is mildly depressing. I also thought it went on a bit and after watching it once I have no particular desire to watch it again. The “Joy is Made” strapline at the end is also a bit odd. That’s true, of course, but seems more appropriate for a brand like Etsy rather than Amazon which sells products.

Asda’s advert is the complete opposite: upbeat and festive. And the contrast between the peppy Buddy the Elf and the Asda staff who have their feet firmly on the ground is amusing. Plus Asda gets its products and services like online delivery into the piece.

Asda gets my vote!

David Spear

Amazon’s spot has my vote. It has all the elements that warm your heart and make Christmas special. The father’s ingenuity was brilliant and the look and feel of the daughter as the lights were turned on in the homemade snow globe were priceless. Asda’s was cute, but the overall story line was pretty weak. Amazon wins by a long shot.

Dr. Stephen Needel

Asda is Asda and who doesn’t know what it is. It’s a good ad, in that it does tell you all the stuff you can get for the holidays at their store. Amazon takes the high (emotional) road telling a nice story without beating us over the heads with the fact that their paper shredder was key. I like it better, but I’m not sure it’s one that drives business. That said, how much more business would you expect an ad to drive for Amazon? I’ll go with the tears for the Amazon ad.

Mark Self

The Amazon ad kind of works as a story however I was confused about the girl in it — is she deaf? Is the mother gone and the snow globe reminds her of her “complete” family? Regardless of the unanswered questions I liked it as a mini-story but fail to make a connection with Amazon — it comes across as a nice, short spot. I thought I was going to love the Asda ad but it falls flat due to its over-reliance on the same lines as the movie. I did like the way the Asda uniforms meshed with the green Elf costume.

Amazon by a nose. Prediction: neither of these will advance to the finals!

Lisa Goller

Amazon’s spot inspires us to create our own joy while reinforcing its positioning as The Everything Store. Taika Waititi’s beautiful images and dazzling ending resonate with most parents who strive to give their children the magic of the season.

Will Ferrell’s wacky elf distinguishes Asda from its rivals during grocery’s busiest time of year. The ad is off-the-wall bonkers and its playfulness will drive new traffic to Asda as more shoppers seek deals.

Excellent casting and storytelling by both retailers.

Richard Hernandez

Two completely different ads. I liked the Amazon one a lot on the emotional level, but it took a little longer to get to the point. The Asda commercial was fun and told customers about what they could find shopping there. I vote for Asda this round.

Patricia Vekich Waldron

Asda for sure! It (literally) screams Christmas, shows Asda’s value proposition and offerings, and features Will Ferrell.

Amazon’s was too long and could have been run by many other brands. And I did not really get the snow globe attachment.

Doug Garnett

The girl/dad advertisement is a tremendously heartwarming story brilliantly produced yet isn’t likely to move the needle online or at stores. After all, who is the ad from? How does it relate to why a customer would care?

The Elf ad from Asda is far better. It encourages shopping, mixes with memories, etc. That said, there are some choices I don’t like — primarily those where they make the story just like the movie. The cleverness in repurposing existing footage is where the interest lies.

Ryan Mathews

The Amazon spot is much better produced and, like Neil Saunders, I found it mildly depressing. Apparently the mother is gone/dead and the child has a fixation on the snow globe as a refuge from the emotional pain of her loss. I guess I get the whole, “It takes a village to build a greenhouse/walk-in snow globe,” theme but it didn’t scream Christmas at me. The Asda ad did scream Christmas, but I’m not a Will Ferrell fan. Asda though clearly hit the holiday messaging and made a stronger brand statement.

James Tenser

These spots aim for the heartstrings in different ways. The Asda story is light and goofy, while the Amazon piece seems to have a sad backstory.

There’s little mystery about Will Ferrell’s elf, but the source of little girl’s snow globe obsession is never revealed.
For me this is a close call. Ultimately I responded more to the father’s love in the Amazon ad more than the elfin frenzy at Asda.

Craig Sundstrom

Amazon started well enough — great ‘stache, nice smile, and if it’s one of those $500 “Etsy” globes we can understand why everyone wanted to protect it — but three long weeks minutes later, I was “huh?”

So, once again, the winner by default is the one I disliked the least (Asda). Honestly though, a full month into this I’m thinking “I guess we won’t be getting anything good for Christmas.” 🙁

W. Frank Dell II

Amazon provides a real heart tugger clinging to past Christmas in an unseasonal world. I simply don’t see the connection for Amazon, focusing on a limited audience. Not sure how this represents or presents the company and its function or role. ASDA incorporates a Christmas character into a store environment. The over-the-top Christmas spirit and decoration shows ASDA enjoying the season. My vote is for ASDA

Brad Halverson

Both of these spots are without clutter, connecting emotion to brand, and in ways customers can easily embrace.

The Asda spot is more effective by bringing the overall brand meaning into the stores, with vignettes of employees and products, and by with Will Ferrell for added fun.

"Excellent casting and storytelling by both retailers."
"The girl/dad advertisement is a tremendously heartwarming story brilliantly produced yet isn’t likely to move the needle online or at stores."
"Asda for sure! It (literally) screams Christmas, shows Asda’s value proposition and offerings, and features Will Ferrell."

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