Commercials provide different takes on the true spirit of Christmas

Discussion
Sources: “SuperValu Christmas TV Ad 2021”; “Bol.com: The gift you really wanted”
Dec 09, 2021

We go outside the U.S. to Ireland and the Netherlands for the next two contestants in the RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge 2021.

The spots are tied to traditional seasonal sentiments, although they veer off in completely different directions.

The first spot from the SuperValu grocery chain in Ireland, involving a young girl and a deer, is a story of recovery or the wish for it. It’s a common feeling held by people across the world as we seek to come back from the pandemic. It’s a sentiment that SuperValu is encouraging viewers to share.

The second spot from the Dutch e-tailer Bol.com is a story about a boy, a special Christmas wish, a soccer ball and an app. Is this just a traditional Christmas tale or is it something else? Click on closed captioning for subtitles if you don’t understand Dutch.

(Editor’s note: If you would like to nominate entries for this year’s challenge — either domestic or international — please email the name of the retailer and a link to the spot to adchallenge@retailwire.com.)

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What is your critique of the Christmas spots from SuperValu and Bol.com? Would these spots work in the U.S. market?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"I loved both but have to give it to SuperValu - it got to me."
"The Bol.com commercial is — uhhmmm — crass. Not exactly heart-warming. That’s about as polite a way of expressing as I can muster at the moment."
"Bol.com stands out by skipping the mushy sentiment with irreverent humor. It would work in the U.S. and I can totally picture that spot in Best of 2021 reel for global TV ads."

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16 Comments on "Commercials provide different takes on the true spirit of Christmas"


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Dave Wendland
BrainTrust

Both spots are clever and engaging. And I do think that either would work well in the U.S. market. While the SuperValu commercial drew me in more and kept my interest longer, the Bol.com ad’s twist at the end was cute.

Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

Well, the Bol advertisement had an unexpected twist and is a change from the many other saccharine ads out there. I guess that helps makes it memorable! The wishlist poster, which is promoted at the end, is a great idea and has been very successful for Bol as it gives the online retailer a physical dimension and makes it easy for parents to see what their kids want and quickly order the products. Last year, over 1 million wishlist posters were used.

SuperValu is great and very sentimental and I like the way it emphasizes community, with all the kids coming out to cheer on the flying reindeer!

My heart would vote for SuperValu. My head would vote for Bol. I’m going with my head, if only because there are loads of other heartstring-tugging ads out there.

Patricia Vekich Waldron
Staff

I am tiring of the (most undifferentiated) heartstring-tuggers. The Bol spot was clever and featured one of the retailer’s unique programs.

Steve Montgomery
BrainTrust

The SuperValu commercial embodies the spirit of Christmas. The little girl helps someone in need recover. This is a great theme at this time of year.

At the beginning of the Bol.com commercial I immediately though of the movie Castaway. It showed the bonding of the little girl and her new friend. Then it took a very unexpected and negative turn when she discarded her friend for a new one by actually booting him to the curb. I understand the “hey we got you what you really wanted” element but this is not something that I would expect or want in a Christmas commercial.

Jenn McMillen
BrainTrust

My first reaction to the Bol ad was “Ouch.”

Lisa Goller
BrainTrust

Quite the contrast between those two ads.

SuperValu’s optimistic story about nurturing and celebration makes the grocer resonate with families. Its simplicity and elegance give it universal appeal.

As for Bol.com: Hilarious! Did not expect the boy to kick his beloved companion to the curb.
Bol.com stands out by skipping the mushy sentiment with irreverent humor. It would work in the U.S. and I can totally picture that spot in Best of 2021 reel for global TV ads.

David Spear
BrainTrust

SuperValu over Bol.com although I do think the Bol.com ending was quite comical.

Jeff Sward
BrainTrust

Gosh, if only more choices in life were as easy. The SuperValu commercial is delightful, very much in keeping with the Christmas spirit and the wonder of the season as seen from the eyes of children. The Bol.com commercial is — uhhmmm — crass. Not exactly heart-warming. That’s about as polite a way of expressing as I can muster at the moment. Yes, the holidays have become commercialized, but this commercial is a real downer. It magnifies what is already a cringing over commercializing of the season. Maybe it’s based on a kind of bleak honesty, but I’d still like to be reminded of the spirit of the season every now and then.

Dr. Stephen Needel
BrainTrust

I’m with Neil Saunders – my heart says SuperValu, my head says Bol.com for the twist and the practical nature of the ad.

Richard Hernandez
BrainTrust
Richard Hernandez
Director of Commerce
9 months 16 days ago

I love overseas ads – I loved both but have to give it to SuperValu – it got to me.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

I’m going with Effa and the reindeer. SuperValu wins with me. That Bol.com spot left me wondering, WTF did I just watch?

Rich Kizer
BrainTrust

The first spot from the SuperValu grocery chain in Ireland, involving a young girl and a deer, looks to me like an excellent take on the Budweiser horses holiday spots. When we view these kind of spots, they generate a positive feeling about the message. Not featuring a company or a vendor during the spot left me focused on the little girl and the plot line, especially the return of the reindeer. So I liked the spot, but if I were a business previewing this ad for my company, I’d ask — could you promote our business just a little, so everyone knows we have a great heart? Perhaps that is the businessperson in me speaking. Alright, I know — the SuperValu name was clearly on the end of the spot. How could I miss that? But the question is — will others as well?

W. Frank Dell II
BrainTrust

Neither commercial connects with the retailer except with an ending tag line. The SuperValu deer relates with the American Santa Claus story. Bol incorporates Saint Nichols which is not widely known in America. On this measure, SuperValu is the winner. Both commercials have great human factors and on their own could be Americanized. That said, SuperValu still gets my vote.

Mohamed Amer, PhD
BrainTrust

The SuperValu spot is more traditional and tugs on your heartstrings. Bol.com is purposely irreverent and pokes fun at children’s imaginative make believe for the sake of a scannable wishlist. One of these is most definitely not in the spirit of Christmas.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

Oh dear (no pun intended); IMHO our first two duds. It was easy to see what the SuperValu spot was trying to accomplish, but it seemed, for want of a better term, too realistic. I kept seeing this traumatized animal and at the end I was nervous that we’d be left with a disappointed little girl. That we weren’t seemed more a relief than something “magical” (and somehow not entirely believable).

The Dutch spot was just weird: I had no idea where it was going and didn’t like where it went. (That I couldn’t understand the Dutch is obviously not the fault of the ad, but still makes it hard to appreciate it.)

Harley Feldman
BrainTrust

The BOL commercial gets right to the point of why they have the selection to meet your Christmas gifting needs. SuperValu is much more traditional and a great story. SuperValu will likely work better in the US market, but BOL may be a sign of commercials to come.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"I loved both but have to give it to SuperValu - it got to me."
"The Bol.com commercial is — uhhmmm — crass. Not exactly heart-warming. That’s about as polite a way of expressing as I can muster at the moment."
"Bol.com stands out by skipping the mushy sentiment with irreverent humor. It would work in the U.S. and I can totally picture that spot in Best of 2021 reel for global TV ads."

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