Argos pays tribute to ‘book of dreams’ after axing catalogue

Christmas ad by The & Partnership continues last year's nostalgic theme.


Argos taps into nostalgia in a Christmas campaign inspired by its popular gift guide dubbed the “book of dreams”.

The ad, by The & Partnership London, continues the same theme from last year’s festive campaign, in which a dad flipping through the Argos catalogue sees a drum kit and magically conjures up an epic rock concert with his daughter. 

This time, two sisters browsing the catalogue spot a box of magic tricks. After eagerly circling the gift, they are transported to Christmas evening, when they show off their new talents to their family. 

While the show starts with a classic cup and balls trick, the performance grows more extraordinary as the girls’ imagination takes over – turning their living room into a West End theatre and even conjuring their extended family to join the celebrations. 

The soundtrack is Gary Barlow’s Incredible, which was released on Friday and is the second song from his new album, Music Played by Humans. Barlow teased the ad on his social channels over the weekend and before it debuted on Sunday night during ITV’s Family Fortunes

The campaign will include out-of-home, press and influencer activity. Argos will also invite the nation to create their own magic tricks for a chance of winning prizes later this month. 

The work was created by Matt Wood and Tom Loveless, and directed by James Rouse through Outsider. 

Earlier this year, Argos said it would discontinue its catalogue by the end of January 2021. Launched in 1972, the guide was nicknamed the “book of dreams” by comedian Bill Bailey and at its peak was Europe's most widely-printed publication.

Yet with the rise of online shopping, Argos products will now only be displayed online. 

Rob Quartermain, senior campaign manager for Argos, said: “We know this has been a challenging year and many people are searching for certainty through cherished traditions this Christmas. Whilst we discontinued our catalogue earlier in the year, we couldn't let the Argos Christmas gift guide go as so many of our customers have fond memories of circling their presents in it. We know this is a tradition which children still enjoy today, and it marks the start of Christmas for so many. We wanted to celebrate the special role Argos plays at Christmas with a joyful and heart-warming story that we hope will spread some cheer, this Christmas”. 

Yan Elliott, executive creative director of The & Partnership, added: “This year, we felt more than ever we are all going to need a little bit of magic to lift our spirits and transform this Christmas into something spectacular.”

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