Big retailers unveil Christmas ads

Image source, Sainsbury's
Image caption,
The latest Sainsbury's Christmas ad features children performing in a school production

Spending by retailers on Christmas advertising in 2018 is set to hit a new high of £6.4bn, an industry body said.

According to the Advertising Association, spending on Christmas ads has risen nearly 50% in eight years.

It argues that advertising has become more important for shop owners trying to lure shoppers from online rivals.

A host of big retailers have already unveiled their Christmas commercials, including Marks & Spencer, Debenhams and most of the major supermarkets.

More than a quarter of all ad spending takes place in the Christmas period.

"Advertisers are increasing their investments in Christmas advertising year-on-year, because they know Christmas advertising works," says Karen Fraser, director of Credos, a think tank which compiled the forecast with the Advertising Association.

Image source, Tesco
Image caption,
Tesco's ad is called However You Do Christmas

John Lewis, whose Yuletide ads have become particularly anticipated by the public and advertisers in recent years, has yet to launch its 2018 campaign.

The most recent ad to appear has come from Sainsbury's, whose commercial The Big Night has a cast of 60 children playing some unusual Christmas characters.

Rival Tesco goes for a more homely approach, with an ad showing the different ways that families enjoy Christmas.

Image source, Marks & Spencer
Image caption,
Marks & Spencer's ad evokes the magic of Christmas

Marks & Spencer's seasonal offering is organised around the theme of must-haves, with a series of scenes showing all the essential elements of Christmas.

These include must-have magic, in which a pantomime fairy godmother transforms a young woman's trainers into a pair of smart spangled shoes with a wave of her magic wand.

"Advertising helps stores attract customers, and that helps sustain jobs and High Streets in the UK," said Credos's Karen Fraser.

"We need advertising, and we need Christmas advertising in particular."