Hails & Fails – November 17th 2023

If Thursday is the new Friday, then November is the new December with a host of big brands releasing their 2023 Christmas campaigns this week, all hoping they’ve done enough to resonate. Brazen has our favourites, but which are yours?

KFC who teased us all? JD who reminded us of what Christmas really looks like? Iceland who made a big decision? Or is it John Lewis who data suggested failed?


KFC are stickin’ with chicken

KFC released a Christmas ad that puts two finger lickin’ good pieces of chicken up to all the customers that request a ‘Kentucky Fried Turkey’ during the festive season.

The dramatic ad teases as what you think is a release of the highly request swap, but, well, no spoilers here.

KFC’s strategy and innovation director simply said: “Customers are always right, but not when it comes to switching out chicken for turkey. We thank them for their input, but we’ll stick with the poultry we know and love.” 

KFC are stickin’ with chicken

A different kind of Christmas magic with JD

JD Sports released a Christmas campaign that celebrates 25 years of their iconic duffle bag, a symbol in British youth culture and what they’ve called the original ‘Bag for Life’.

Minus the picture-perfect festive cheer seen in most other Christmas campaigns, the ad brings to life multicultural, young Britain with more real, relatable Christmas scenes.

The gritty, raw film even features some famous faces including rapper Central Cee.

A different kind of Christmas magic with JD

Have yourself a cost-of-living Christmas

Iceland announced its decision to not release a 2023 Christmas ad in a bold move we can’t help but respect.

Executive chairman Richard Walker explained, “As a business we were faced with a decision. Do we spend millions creating and sharing a TV advert or do we invest the money supporting our customers during the cost-of-living crisis?”

While rivals have spent a combined estimate of £9.5 billion on lavish campaigns, this is undeniably brave.

Well done, Iceland!

Have yourself a cost-of-living Christmas


An imperfect tree or an imperfect ad?

Only slightly more than half (55%) of the British public ‘love’ this year’s John Lewis Christmas ad, as opposed to an overwhelming 96% last year – suggesting John Lewis’ 2023 Christmas ad has missed the mark.

The controversial ad begins with a boy buying a ‘Grow Your Own Perfect Christmas Tree’. But this isn’t your typical John Lewis Christmas campaign, with the tree growing into a Little Shop of Horrors-esque Venus Fly Trap called Snapper.

While the team at Brazen love it for its quirkiness, we can’t help but question if it did its job or not.

Venus Fly Trap sales have even increased by 40%, though…

An imperfect tree or an imperfect ad?

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