Christmas ads show gift-giving in completely different lives

Discussion
Sources: Smiths City - “A Whiteware Christmas”; Amazon - “The show must go on.”
Dec 21, 2020
George Anderson

“Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.” – Charles M. Schultz, “Peanuts”

Gift giving is a Christmas tradition that spans the globe, even as holiday rituals vary from country to country and region to region. The two spots we’ve selected for you to review today are focused on giving in different ways.

Amazon.com’s “The Show Must Go On” mini-film follows a young ballet dancer’s journey to a performance. Her solo in the ad’s finale may not have been what she had planned, but the fact that it happened at all is a credit to others who gave of themselves to make this Christmas dream a reality. Amazon’s commercial has been viewed more than 1.2 million times on YouTube.

The second spot from Smiths City, a 23-store appliance, consumer electronics and furniture chain in New Zealand, is decidedly more casual in its approach. The ad focuses on the interaction between a couple and that exciting moment when a gift is opened. Smiths City’s “A Whiteware Christmas” has been viewed over 70,000 times.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What are your critiques of the Amazon and Smiths City commercials? Which of the two spots is more effective in your mind?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Wonderful businesses look to impact heart-share. These two did it."
"The Amazon commercial demonstrates a great message for hope and perseverance during the pandemic and is very inspirational."
"For every husband that has bought his wife an appliance for Christmas this is how we should have done it. My vote is for Smiths City."

Join the Discussion!

15 Comments on "Christmas ads show gift-giving in completely different lives"


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Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

I like both ads! Amazon’s is poignant and the message of “the show must go on” is very fitting. However the Smiths City spot made me laugh! Both ads contain subtle links to the companies’ purposes, which is good.

For me it’s also a draw. But for making me laugh I give a very narrow victory to Smiths City!

Jeff Sward
BrainTrust

Amazon = a big heart finds a way to give in a meaningful, generous manner. Smiths City = don’t even think about giving a spouse a “practical” gift. Been there, done that. Zero points for good intentions.

Dr. Stephen Needel
BrainTrust

Smiths City hands down. Amazon is a nice story but self-serving. Smiths made me laugh and was touching at the same time.

David Naumann
BrainTrust

The Amazon commercial demonstrates a great message for hope and perseverance during the pandemic and is very inspirational. However for a holiday spot, the element of surprise and delight at the end of the Smiths City ad is priceless. It is an ad that will resonate strongly with all couples. I think the Smiths City ad is the winner today.

Rich Kizer
BrainTrust

Tie. They both brought a smile to my face and a tear to my eyes. Wonderful businesses look to impact heart-share. These two did it.

Kathleen Fischer
BrainTrust

Both ads are great and tie in their brands/products well, but I have to give the win to Amazon because it touches our hearts and is so relevant in this year like no other. The Smiths City ad is fabulous, surprised me, and made me laugh but it feels like an ad from any year.

Harley Feldman
BrainTrust

Amazon’s commercial is involving and heartwarming but does not connect with Amazon gifts or purchases. Smiths City also is heartwarming but leads directly to gift giving ideas and the fact that Smiths City can fulfill your needs for such gifts. Smiths City wins with a funny and relevant Christmas ad.

Richard Hernandez
BrainTrust

I like both – Amazon was heartwarming but not tied to product or the season. I love the Smiths commercial – it’s of the season and tells about product that the store offers. And it made me laugh.

Andrew Blatherwick
BrainTrust
As you would expect, the Amazon ad is beautifully produced and has a very loving message to try and soften the Amazon image. It is ironic that a company that has done well out of this pandemic should choose to select “The show must go on” as a theme. I guess that point is not lost on many people. The sentiment and pulling at heart strings is there and it is not overly branded. In fact it shows their strength of brand that they can now just show the last slide with no name on it. The Smiths ad is really clever and has a lovely twist to it, using humor while still getting across a loving caring message. There are some great lines in there about stereotyping and playing on the female emotions of being put upon by men. The last line works well, it gets across a strong message for the products sold in Smiths though I fear the retail brand may get slightly lost in the humor. I really like this ad… Read more »
Steve Montgomery
BrainTrust

Both ads were great. They both demonstrated the joy of giving in different ways. The Smiths ad was definitely more of an outright ad. Amazon was able to work the products shown into the spot more like the product placements we see in every TV show today. They are there but not so much in your face.

Ricardo Belmar
BrainTrust

Both ads are great for different reasons. Amazon tells a great, touching story with a message that really inspires you against a backdrop of everything that’s made 2020 a year to put behind us. While the Smiths ad takes on a humorous approach to using a practical gift to hide a more personal gift – haven’t we all been there? It’s a close one, but I’ll give it to Amazon by a nudge because it’s most relevant to 2020, while the Smiths ad would work in any holiday season.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

The Amazon commercial is absolutely lovely but it didn’t say Christmas to me. And I thought, why would a dancer perform in snow and potentially risk her career? I know. Maybe it’s me.

On the other hand, Smiths City took me back to the time my father bought my mother a Filter Queen vacuum cleaner for Christmas because he was so impressed with what it could do. He was genuinely surprised when she lost her mind, delivering a rant similar to the woman’s in the commercial, and it made for hundreds of laughs each Christmas after that. I miss them and I love that the Smiths City spot brought me there. Watching it, I think most women felt her anger and smiled at her joy.

W. Frank Dell II
BrainTrust

While the Amazon story is heartfelt, the Christmas message is understated. Furthermore there is no Amazon reference or connection. It’s a nice story that makes you feel good, but no sales or sponsor relationship. Smiths City may be one of the best I have seen. For every husband that has bought his wife an appliance for Christmas this is how we should have done it. My vote is for Smiths City.

Patricia Vekich Waldron
Staff

I enjoyed both but give Smith’s my vote. A little humor and spotlight on their range of offerings to remind customers is the perfect end.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

Amazon: great story, terrible ad (was it even an ad? I guess something was ordered on Amazon but the reference was so subtle it really played no part).

Smiths City: Great start, great end, but the middle actually made me feel uncomfortable.

IMHO, neither really qualifies for a vote. I guess this ends the Xmas competition, and sadly, like the year itself, what started so promisingly didn’t end that way.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Wonderful businesses look to impact heart-share. These two did it."
"The Amazon commercial demonstrates a great message for hope and perseverance during the pandemic and is very inspirational."
"For every husband that has bought his wife an appliance for Christmas this is how we should have done it. My vote is for Smiths City."

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