Commercials show the magic behind good deeds and Christmas surprises

Discussion
Sources: Co-op Christmas Ad 2020; DocMorris Wehnachtsfilm
Dec 17, 2020
George Anderson

If informal polling among family and friends is a true indication, the spots in today’s installment of the RetailWire Christmas Commercial Challenge are among the most memorable for the season. 

The first commercial from Co-op, a grocery cooperative operating in the UK, tells the story of two musical brothers. The spot, which has over 151,000 views on YouTube, includes a call to action to join Co-op in finding ways, big and small, to do more for local communities.

The second spot (more of a film short really) from the Netherlands-based online pharmacy giant DocMorris tells the story of an elderly man whose behavior is so concerning to a neighbor that she calls his daughter to check up on him. The spot — the title translates to “Affair of the Heart” (if Google Translate has it correct) — is described on YouTube as communicating that the best gift we can give to ourselves and those who care about us is to be “fine and healthy.” We have a feeling that many, if not all, of those who have viewed the commercial 6.6 million+ times on the social media site agree.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think both of these messages about what “giving” means this year will resonate with viewers? Which of the two spots is more effective in your mind?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Overall, I think DocMorris wins this hands down. But there’s no disrespect in coming in second to such a great ad!"
"There is no way to be wrong here but perhaps the heartstrings just appeal slightly more than the community."
"Neither ad is very effective. But Co-op’s ad will outperform the DocMorris mini-film. Why? Because the store is noticeably behind it."

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25 Comments on "Commercials show the magic behind good deeds and Christmas surprises"


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David Naumann
BrainTrust

Both of these commercials are winners in my opinion. The Co-op commercial shows the true spirit of the season with the two boys bringing joy to others by playing music and singing songs and not expecting anything in return and the DocMorris spot does when the grandfather gets in shape so he can lift his granddaughter so she can put the ornament on the top of the Christmas tree. If I had to pick one it would be the DocMorris commercial, as the friends and relatives are deeply concerned for the old man and it is very heartfelt when he lifts his granddaughter.

Ben Ball
BrainTrust

Perhaps it was just an acute case of self-projection. But the DocMorris ad made me cry. Nothing else to say about that.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

Me, too. Every time I watch it.

Jeff Sward
BrainTrust

Yep — lost it when he picked up his granddaughter to put the star on the tree. Gulp.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

You know that quote by WC Fields: “Never work with children or animals?” It’s not true here. The kids in the Co-op ad are adorable but, oh, DocMorris — I didn’t see that coming.

This commercial captures what Christmas is all about. I had no idea where it was going the first time I saw it and I am not ashamed to say that the last scene took my breath away. My special serendipity is that for one tiny moment the lead actor looked like my dad. DocMorris wins this round and every one before it.

Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

I like both of these spots, especially in terms of the messages they deliver.

The Co-op’s ad is nicely localized and will appeal to many in the U.K. The core message that Christmas is a time to think about others and be unselfish is a good one. My only slight criticism is that the ad was not particularly festive, especially the song the little boy performs. I would have liked more holiday pizzazz!

DocMorris’s ad is a lovely little story that is extremely well told and beautifully shot. It has a great twist and captures what the holidays are all about: being with those we love. It also has a subtle but appropriate link to health – which is what DocMorris focuses on.

Overall, I think DocMorris wins this hands down. But there’s no disrespect in coming in second to such a great ad!

Richard J. George, Ph.D.
BrainTrust

While both commercials are moving, the Co-op ad gets my vote. It is an engaging spot as is the DocMorris mini-film. However, the tie breaker for me was the closing call to action of the Co-op ad, ” We can all do our bit for our community.”

Dr. Stephen Needel
BrainTrust

Great ads – if they don’t resonate with you you’re dead. 🙂 The Dutch ad brings a little more of “this is what Christmas is about,” but I don’t want to sell the two brothers short either.

Kathleen Fischer
BrainTrust

I love both of these commercials and their messages about giving. I loved the boys performing as a simple way to bring joy but the grandfather lifting up his granddaughter definitely tugs on the heartstrings more!

Richard Hernandez
BrainTrust

Wow – both commercials are exceptional. The Co-op commercial shows that even though the pandemic has stilted the normal celebration of the season you can still find ways to express the spirit of the season and still keeping social distancing. The DocMorris commercial probably hit me more – I can see myself doing that in 20 years with my kettlebells for the same reason. And yes it made me cry too.

Patricia Vekich Waldron
Staff

I love that both feature people intentionally and thoughtfully doing for others.

Lisa Goller
BrainTrust

The Co-op spot stars perfectly cast brothers. The older boy evolves from annoyed to altruistic, inspired by the spirit of giving without strings attached. The boys’ loving service to the community means more than money. It’s a heartwarming message that aligns with Co-op’s positioning of local love.

Grandpa’s getting jacked! DocMorris’ compassionate spot suggests the crusty curmudgeon in our neighborhood could just be lonely from isolation. (Also, the local judgmental gossip’s acting is bang-on.) DocMorris shows how healthy habits are life-enriching, transforming our physical, mental and social well-being. Self-care emerges as the most loving gift we can give ourselves and our loved ones. Winner!

Steve Montgomery
BrainTrust

No disrespect to the Co-op commercial but the DocMorris story resonated with me on a personal level. Like others mentioned, it made me tear up. The days of lifting our grandsons up to top the tree are over. At about six feet tall they no longer need someone to lift them up to accomplish that task.

Ryan Mathews
BrainTrust

The Co-op ad was cute and illustrated the power of sharing. The DocMorris ad was deep and profoundly touching and spoke to finding purpose and strength inside yourself. While they are both good, the DocMorris ad was maybe one of the best spots I’ve ever seen in these holiday ad comparisons, and I’m sure viewers would agree.

Harley Feldman
BrainTrust

Both commercials show giving associated with Christmas. The Co-op ad shows the best part of children adding to the holiday cheer. The DocMorris ad holds the giving message until the very end which draws in the viewer and keeps their attention to the end. It is the best of the two.

Camille P. Schuster, PhD.
BrainTrust

Both demonstrate doing something for others which is great in this season of giving. I like the DocMorris one better because it did a better job of telling a story in an engaging way with a surprise at the end.

Ed Rosenbaum
BrainTrust

Both are excellent and send beautiful holiday messages. DocMorris tugged at my heart.

James Tenser
BrainTrust

A strong pair of holiday ads. The Doc Morris spot evoked more emotion, so it wins overall. But the message of selflessness in the Co-op ad is truly admirable. Here again two European retailers present the gift of “mini-movies” which emphasize a caring message over a commercial call to action. American retailers should take note.

Doug Garnett
BrainTrust

Neither ad is very effective. But Co-op’s ad will outperform the DocMorris mini-film. Why? Because the store is noticeably behind it.

Leaving behind a residual which drives some kind of sales is critical from these ads. Neither does that well. But Co-op leaves a stronger residual even though the story is not quite as compelling or well told.

Both, though, are sad examples of how ad agencies get distracted at this time of year from what matters in advertising.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

If we assume “ad = selling something,” I have to agree with you. Many of course will argue there’s nothing wrong with PSA-type “ads,” but as Georganne noted the other day, we might be suffering from an overabundance of them: the cute kids and “giving” messages are beginning to all blur together.

Doug Garnett
BrainTrust

The thing I’ve found with “residual” is that for it to have an impact, the brand needs to be clear in what we remember about the ad. It’s not really in either of these. Certainly I don’t expect them to be “selling” — but reminder ads work when we remember what we were reminded about. Neither of these do that. We recall the story quite well — but it doesn’t end up economically effective.

Or in other words, Byron Sharp observes we need to create “mental availability” with ads like these. I don’t think they do that.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

If the viewers are like me, the brutal answer is “no”; the Morris spot was fine at promoting a message, once you knew what it was, but without that guidance I would have been lost (safe to say, I think, that language issues and unfamiliarity with the company complicated things).

I had no guidance for the Co Op spot, and as a result I was confused: what, exactly were they giving? Brightening people’s day would be my guess, but it’s in a bizarre world where everyone seems to be out and about like normal (the background radio broadcast notwithstanding). And while some may find street musicians entertaining — even endearing — others will find them annoying … being children doesn’t necessarily change that.

I feel like Scrooge for saying all this, but that’s my two pence worth.

Rachelle King
BrainTrust

These are getting harder and harder! These were both wonderful spots. The Co-op spot definitely resonated more with giving and community. While the Doc-Morris hits home on personal wellbeing inspired by family. Neither message or spot can qualify for a loss but the hard choice for the win goes to Doc-Morris. When you finally realize what this man is doing and why, it tugs the heartstrings. This one feels more intrinsically rewarding whereas the Co-op spots has a more inspired community, do-good, feel. There is no way to be wrong here but perhaps the heartstrings just appeal slightly more than the community.

W. Frank Dell II
BrainTrust

Both Co-op and DocMorris have great messages for these times. Being older I can relate more with the DocMorris commercial in there is nothing grandpa with not do for grandchildren. This is an outstanding presentation. The weakness for this commercial is the lack of tie in with the sponsor. In the Co-Op commercial they sing in front of a store.

Allison McGuire
BrainTrust

I enjoyed them both. They had you unsure what the message was going to be, so you hung on till the end and that’s always a great commercial. They both tugged at the heartstrings and were very sentimental. Perfect for the holidays!

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Overall, I think DocMorris wins this hands down. But there’s no disrespect in coming in second to such a great ad!"
"There is no way to be wrong here but perhaps the heartstrings just appeal slightly more than the community."
"Neither ad is very effective. But Co-op’s ad will outperform the DocMorris mini-film. Why? Because the store is noticeably behind it."

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