Campaign Review: Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Telstra all the way

It's Christmas round two in this week's Campaign Review. Creative director at SICKDOGWOLFMAN, Jess Wheeler, and AFFINITY's senior strategist, Caspar Yuill, take a look at Telstra, Myer and Australia Post's 2023 Christmas spots.

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: Telstra

Campaign: ‘Hello Christmas’

Agency: The Monkeys

The verdict: Up there as one of the best Christmas spots so far. The brand is seamlessly integrated – well done. 

Jess Wheeler, creative director at SICKDOGWOLFMAN, gave it an 8/10 and said: 

Christmas ads are a tough genre to score. There are some iconic pieces of work in the category, and every year there’s about 100 new ones to contend with. I’ve also never recovered from a stint in my 20s working retail in a shopping mall in Canada. I’ve seen enough Santas and heard enough Michael Buble crooning to last a thousand lifetimes. Sometimes I can still hear him in my dreams. So, admittedly, it takes a lot to melt my cold, frosted, Christmas advertising heart.

That said, this is my pick of the bunch. Generally, the best ideas are brutally simple but intriguing ways in, given the time, space, and resources to be caringly crafted. Sadly, this necessary environment is becoming more and more a rarity to the detriment of the work at large. But you can see it all over this spot. And it’s not just a simple thought, but a fresh one. A lot of Christmas ads have that ‘seen this before’ feeling, but I didn’t really get that here. Santa’s lost a reindeer, a girl finds it and uses a Telstra payphone to call him. (And the fact they took this a step further into the real world is a nice touch.) I love that they respect the viewer by naturally integrating the brand into the narrative instead of shoving a logo in my face. The spot is set up so I organically want to see where it goes. It’s a 90″ that doesn’t feel like it, because I’m happy to watch. What you end up with is a lovely spot that earns my attention, rather than demand it. Media folk putting together ‘best practice’ decks, please take note.

Caspar Yuill, senior strategist at AFFINITY, gave it a 9/10 and said:

Another tug on the heart-strings. This time in the form of a lost reindeer – Dasher to be precise. Like the Aus post spot, it uses traditional Chrissy cues to twist consumers’ arms into doing something or feeling something. This time, it appears the ask is to make that call (via a rare to find phone booth, that presumably doesn’t smell of a urinal). But if you look past that, the insight appears to be that Christmas can be a lonely time for people who live alone or abroad. And through the creative vehicle of a lost reindeer, it gently positions Telstra as the solution to the loneliness epidemic so prevalent over the Christmas period. Cleverly, the spot positions Telstra as the way to maintain connections. But it also subtly highlights the strength of the Telstra network, by implying that it’s strong enough to contact the mythical North Pole and Santa. It’s also distinctively Telstra in the production values and simplicity of message. I wouldn’t be surprised if this has a large impact on Telstra’s brand health scores.

Brand: Myer

Campaign: ‘Make Your Merry Meaningful’

Agency: Clemenger BBDO

The verdict: A nice, cute TVC. A classic joke, done well. 

Jess gave it a 7/10 and said:

There’s a lot of strong elements coming together to make this – Clems, Myer, Finch & The Bobbsey Twins. But given that, it maybe doesn’t quite reach the dizzying heights I might’ve expected. But, for context, that’s because of how high the bar is and how much talent is involved. It’s still a nice spot and you’d be happy to have made it. The casting and the performances are great, and creating a charming bar of soap is no mean feat. This is purely subjective, of course, but for me the whole regifting thing feels somewhat well-trodden, and by the end they’re really squeezing that one joke as hard they can. But I’m sure the average Australian will simply have a chuckle, given we’ve all ended up with that familiar looking vanilla scented candle at Kris Kringle before. So, it’s still a win from me (I will say that I do love the moment at the end with the little girl putting the purple wombat with her pink ponies. That is absolutely my youngest to a tea. I had scored this a 6.5 but you’ve manipulated me into a 7. Well played).

Caspar gave it a 7/10 and said:

Thoughtful gifting seems to be the strategy du jour over the past few years. And Myer approaches this well-worn strategic territory with a fresh approach to ‘regifting’ those unwanted presents. This time in the guise of a wombat-shaped soap. The idea repositions Myer as the go-to destination for thoughtful gifting. The idea has been executed across channels, extending into a ‘Giftorium’ to help you choose the right pressie for your loved ones. Cute, smart and thoughtfully executed, the ad is a leaf out of the John Lewis playbook. I particularly like the creation of Wendell, who has the potential to become a meme gift for office Secret Santas and people maybe not on your Christmas list this year. But the magic seems to end there. The OOH feels like it was the unwanted brief in the campaign, leaning on puns to get the message across. It also doesn’t feature Wendell, which is a pity.

How effective will it be? Maybe with a little more consistency in campaign message and tone it could have worked harder. And perhaps have a better chance of lifting that all important Christmas sales curve.

Brand: Australia Post

Campaign: ‘Nick The Intern’

Agency: The Monkeys

The verdict: Good cut through technique with humour, rather than emotion. 

Jess gave it a 6/10 and said:

Humour at Christmas. A breath of fresh air. I really like that we’re seeing more light-hearted Christmas spots this year. The Etsy campaign is just about my favourite. Over the years, it’s felt like a bit of a mushfest with brands fighting over who can make the biggest tearjerker. Christmas is obviously an emotional time of year, but it’s also supposed to be FUN. So kudos to Australia Post and any other brand attempting to bring some balance back to the force. Look, let’s not overcomplicate things, it’s a simple gag. Santa is an intern at Australia Post. Chimney gags. Elf gags. North pole gags. It feels like a thought that’s been sitting there for an eternity and someone’s finally executed it. Perhaps a safe way to navigate the brief, but it does the job and has a lot of fun along the way.

Caspar gave it a 6.5/10 and said:

This campaign promises to deliver Christmas for Australia by enlisting Santa as a postie intern. Nick discovers he’s been doing it wrong all these years and should have been using Aus post instead.

The briefs seem to be showing in the execution somewhat, with the strategic goals plain to see. One, to increase awareness of parcel lockers and the Aus Post app. And secondly to encourage people to use Aus Post to send gifts, growing the category by encouraging seemingly outmoded behaviour.

Will it deliver? It’s without doubt full of joy to all. And the idea has been executed consistently across all the channels, with the website featuring Nick and on social media.

It’s a classic product demonstration ad dressed up as a charming Christmas pastiche. Does it charm like Apple’s ‘Fuzzy Feelings’ Christmas ad? No. But they don’t have Apple’s budget either. Will it work to spread awareness of the Aus Post services? Probably. But if its mission is to effectively change consumer behaviour then maybe Nick needs a few more helpers to pull it off.

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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