Campaign Review: Industry marks Coles, Woolies and Westfield Xmas spots

'Tis the season for Christmas campaigns, so in this week's Campaign Review, Havas Host's ECD Justin Ruben, Mediabrands Content Studio's group creative director Luke Simkins and TotallyAwesome's head of content solutions, Sarah Letts, take a look at holiday spots from Coles, Woolworths and Westfield.

This is part of Mumbrella’s 2023 Christmas campaign coverage. Click here to see other articles in the series. 

In Campaign Review, Mumbrella invites industry creatives and strategists to offer their views on recent ad campaigns.

Brand: Coles

Campaign: ‘Great Lengths for Quality’

Agency: Smith St

The verdict: Memorable and classic. Good to see the continued brand platform. 

Justin Ruben, executive creative director at Havas Host, gave it a 7.5/10 and said:

Christmas has become the new Superbowl of advertising thanks in part to John Lewis and the fantastic ads they have done over the years. So today is my chance to see If we’ve got any crackers (pun intended) in the Coles ad. They’ve leaned into their great lengths platform and given it the Christmas spirit. Santa made the cut. I think there are some really nice stories in there about where they source the products from, especially the pudding one. I would like to see more of these lengths they go to stories and push the visuals a little further.

Luke Simkins, group creative director at MBCS, gave it an 8/10 and said:

I really like the new direction Coles has gone in with their brand over the last year. They have brought back a little quirk and a touch of humour. This is going to sound weird but I watch a lot of television with my Mother-In-Law and believe me she’s a hard woman to get a smile out of. The good people at Coles should know this got a genuine grin out of Robyn. You should all be very proud.

Sarah Letts, head of content solutions at TotallyAwesome, gave it a 7/10 and said:

Christmas is a time of joy – but also enormous pressure; to host and entertain, to find the perfect gift, to manage family dynamics (all the personalities) and the juggle of the calendar – but ultimately financial pressure is the biggest kill-joy of them all. Enter Coles Great Lengths for Quality Campaign. The creative approach to this fun Coles campaign is clever, as it leads with storytelling; the heart of Christmas, and then interweaves those elements that make Christmas memorable (we all have the politically incorrect Uncle or in-law, the kitchen control freak Grandma, the messy Wanna-Be Chef Cousin), illustrated by the diversity of the Coles’ team members, growers and suppliers. Underpinning the narrative journey, the creative has effectively communicated the quality and variety of the produce available, as well as the price point, without feeling like scrimping on cost, will have you missing out on shrimp!

Brand: Woolworths

Campaign: ‘Celebrate the Little Things That Make Christmas Special’

Agency: The Greenhouse Collective, M&C Saatchi

The verdict: Cute cast, feel-good ad. 

Justin gave it a 7/10 and said:

The Woolies ad which like the Coles one focuses on Christmas food and all the things we eat in an Australian summer. The main story is around kids in oversized costumes, and a school theatre production which seems a little familiar. But it does bring a sense of fun and joy and a real Australian spirit which is important around Christmas. I did like the shot of the apple costume getting left behind. However, I’m not sure what the outtake is and how unique it is. They do get an extra point for not including Santa.

Luke gave it a 7/10 and said:

Now this one didn’t exactly get a big grin out of Robyn but that old foot of hers was a-tappin’ and she just had a knee reconstruction! I’m sure it had a lot to do with the good storytelling, the good directing, and the cute cast. Robyn was all up in her feelings which is what a good Christmas is all about.

Sarah gave it an 8/10 and said:

The celebratory feel-good Christmas vibe shines through in this high production value spot, by The Greenhouse Collective. The strategy to showcase all the seasonal favourite Aussie Christmas fruits via a cute end of year school play (I’m getting Love Actually movie vibes which is always a good thing!) is super-fun and relatable. The kids coming together creatively to ensure their friend with the missing costume was included, is a great metaphor for the Christmas spirit that families love to foster and connects that feel-good community spirit to the Woolworths Fresh Food People brand values in a subtle way. Capturing beautiful Far North Queensland and regional Australia, is another nod for Woolworths’ that highlights the depth and breadth of their product sourcing and also champions diversity, with local casting of the kids, which is a welcome touch. Plus, you are always winning, creating a spot with an incredibly iconic and upbeat song – who doesn’t know and love the original Blues Brothers ‘Everybody needs somebody to love’?

Brand: Westfield

Campaign: ‘The Magic of Believing’

Agency: WhiteGREY

The verdict: Heartfelt and wholesome – a beautiful mix of traditional and non-traditional Christmas marketing.

Justin gave it a 6.5/10 and said:

The Westfield spot seems like they are trying to pull at the heart strings with a very traditional Christmas tale. There are some very nice performances, and it was nicely shot, but I did find the story a little hard to understand and was left wondering who Arthur was and whether the grandfather was an undercover Santa. Unfortunately, no crackers, but some nice efforts. That’s a Christmas wrap (another pun intended).

Luke gave it a 6.5/10 and said:

This type of ad gets me every year, the old heartfelt story of two different generations connecting. Throw in a little ‘belief in the magic of Christmas’ and I’m just sipping the ginger wine and having a merry old time. Nice storytelling and good brand integration. The Mother-In-Law gave it the nod too in case you were wondering.

Sarah gave it a 10/10 and said:

This emotive Christmas spot from Westfield, would bring a tear to the eye of even the most seasoned (and jaded) Christmas revellers. The unexpected and delightful creative approach of Grandpa still child-like in his belief and wonder of Christmas (usually more likely to take on the role of Santa in family Christmas shenanigans), zeros in on the true essence of Christmas – continuing to believe in magic! The deft filmmaking in this spot takes the viewer on a journey throughout a Westfield mall and brings that personal service offering to life and an old-world charm reminiscent of storied department stores (such as David Jones and Barneys New York) to the retailer. Elevating the mall experience and in turn the brand value and perception of Westfield. A well thought out strategy, executed beautifully, that delivers the promise of something special when you visit Westfield this Christmas.

As told to Lauren McNamara.

If you are a senior creative or strategist who would like to take part in a future Campaign Review, please email Lauren at


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