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Each year we turn to the best holiday ads to get ourselves in the right festive mood. This year is not an exception. That’s why we’re updating our previous list by adding 8 more awesome examples of Christmas commercials from well-known brands. A joyful atmosphere is guaranteed.
1. The Greatest Gift – Sainsbury’s – 2016
Why: the UK’s Christmas advert scene is strong. In the 21st century, it’s always the “battle” between two major retailers John Lewis and Sainsbury’s. 2016 saw the latter deliver one of the best holiday ads ever with “The Greatest Gift”. It’s a short musical that has a running time of almost 4 minutes and depicts the struggle of a dad who wants to make his family the greatest gift for Christmas.
What makes this Christmas advert special is the amount of talent involved in production. The song is performed by the famous actor and late-night host James Corden. The music is written by Bret McKenzie, an Academy Award-winning composer behind the title song of The Muppets. Finally, the ad is directed by Sam Fell who gave us ParaNorman. The Greatest Gift is a cheerful, relatable animated musical about a hard-working man who will go the extra mile to make his friends and family happy on Christmas Eve. And we’re all in.
2. A Coke for Christmas – Coca-Cola – 2016
Why: Coca-Cola has steadily delivered the best holiday ads ever over the years. But there’s something extra special about the “A Coke for Christmas” commercial from 2016. It’s very simple, runs for only 30 seconds, and doesn’t have impressive special effects or a mind-blowing plot. And that’s exactly why it sells. A boy wants to make this Christmas feel good for everyone by giving them a Coke as a secret present. He does that for his father, mother, and a friend. The video ends with the reindeer doing the same for Santa.
There’s something really wholesome about this pretty Christmas. A special mention goes to the atmosphere-building, the action is set in an idyllic European medieval snow-covered town and the music is as Christmassy as it gets.
3. Have a Cracking Christmas – Woolworths – 1981
Why: who doesn’t love a good Christmas ad jingle? The one that Woolworths delivered in 1981 had radiant Abba energy and earwormer features. That’s one of those commercials that give a kick of nostalgia to the whole generation (as we can see in the teary-eyed YouTube comment section). Also, it’s one of the best holiday ads of all time because of the naivete and approachableness. It’s not that often that you’re charmed by an ad, but this one from Woolworths definitely gives you this feeling.
4. The Boy and the Piano – John Lewis – 2018
Why: while usually John Lewis Christmas adverts don’t have any celebrities in them, 2018 was different. The UK retail chain employed one of the most recognizable artists in the world to tell a very touching Christmas story. The commercial starts with Sir Elton John playing piano and with every note of the iconic “Your Song” we’re going on a decades-spanning journey through the musician’s life.
Finally, we end up in his family home and see what the whole thing is about. It’s Christmas Eve and the family has prepared a special gift for a little Elton. It’s the piano, the one that we saw in the very beginning. We’re crying, that’s beautiful. And one of the best holiday ads ever created too.
5. THEY DO EXIST! – M&Ms – 1996
Why: not every Christmas commercial is there to make you cry. For a lighter mood, there’s M&Ms. “They Do Exist” first aired in 1996 and immediately became an instant classic. The red and yellow candies are stumbling upon Santa next to a Christmas tree. “He does exist,” says the red one. “They do exist,” proclaims Santa before both are knocked unconscious. Perfecto. One of the best holiday ads of all time and an ultimate feel-gooder.
6. Kevin The Carrot – Aldi – 2017
Why: everyone loves Kevin The Carrot. How can you not? This cute red-colored vegetable hero was introduced by Aldi in 2017 with this visually stunning animated piece that hits all the right Christmas notes.
A Polar Express-like train pierces through the snow as Kevin tries to navigate through the food-filled table to win the heart of the female carrot. He witnesses a gingerbread murder, “peas” himself along the way but manages to meet his love and they enjoy a Titanic moment on the nose of the Santa-conducted vintage train. That’s quite a ride to have and we’re thankful for the journey, Aldi.
7. Coming Home for Christmas – Heathrow Airport – 2016
Why: watch this one only if you’re ready to cry your eyes out. A cute elder bear couple arrives at Heathrow Airport. We watch them going through passport control, baggage reclaim, and duty-free areas. It’s adorable and somehow hits you on a different level of touching. There’s no dialogue but no words needed really. All the movements, the moments they share, and the ways they communicate non-verbally will surely remind you of your grandparents. Finally, they are coming to the arrivals area to be greeted by their grandchildren. What a story, Heathrow Airport. That is definitely among the exemplary Christmas ads of all time.
8. The Bear and the Hare – John Lewis – 2013
Why: some commercials have a soul and artistic value. “The Bear and the Hare” is one of the best holiday ads. Crafted by John Lewis in 2013, it tells the story of a bear that takes a hare to the Christmas tree. But bears are hibernating in winter and the animal leaves his hare friend on his own to go to sleep. The long ear fellow doesn’t want his bear friend to miss the Christmas show, wakes him up and they enjoy the Christmas lights together with the whole forest of friends. All of it to the fantastic cover of Keane’s “Somewhere Only We Know” performed by Lilly Allen.
Here’s our previous list of 8 best holiday ads ever created for boosting your Christmas mood
Can you hear it? “Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way”. The favorite time of the year for kids, a money-spending time of the year for their parents, and the most creative time of the year for marketers worldwide. Today we want to make a roundup of the best holiday ads ever created. Heartwarming, beautiful, tearful, masterful, everything is present here. Let’s see the top holiday ads and live the joy of Christmas together.
1. Frankie’s Holiday – Apple – 2016
Why: try not to get teary during this fantastic Apple commercial that is among the best holiday ads ever. Not only it is about acceptance and tolerance, but it’s also very well done.
Filmed around the striking alpine beauty of Valle d’Aosta in Italy, it tells the story of Frankie (yes, Frankenstein, you’ve guessed it) who is trying to bring some Christmas cheer to the people of his village. For that, he records a music box melody on an iPhone, orders some illumination for his neck, and descends to the central square to sing in front of the villagers.
It doesn’t go well at first. He is clumsy, he doesn’t know how to sing, and the people are hostile toward his intentions. But there’s this little girl that supports Frankie and takes up the melody.
In the end, teh whole village is singing, Frankie tears up, and we’re seeing the best holiday ads magic performed by Apple.
2. Christmas with love from Mrs. Claus – M&S – 2016
Why: beautifully shot and fantastically acted, this Christmas advert from British brand Marks & Spencer continues the tradition of the best holiday ads and does it with a bang. Santa Claus appears at the beginning and the end, but it’s all about Mrs. Claus, the bold and elegant woman played by Janet McTeer. You will have the feeling of watching a whole movie here, it’s brilliantly done and directed by Tom Hooper aka the visionary who managed to give us both awesome The King’s Speech and questionable Cats.
We’re following Mrs. Claus’s quest to save Christmas for a boy who wants to gift his sister a pair of sneakers. He writes her a letter, and she boards an R-Dolf helicopter and hurries to help the little fellow because that’s what the holiday spirit is all about.
3. Holidays are coming – Coca-Cola – 1995
Why: one of the best holiday ads of all time, “Holidays are coming” is not only an amazingly executed commercial, but it’s also a part of popular culture. The jingle here is an ultimate earworm that you won’t be able to get out of your head. The development of an ad is a masterpiece too. The illuminated trucks with Coca-Cola are lighting up everything they pass. It looks gorgeous, and it melts your heart.
4. Shadow – John Lewis – 2007
Why: there’s a British wave for every pop culture phenomenon. Christmas holiday ads are not an exception. While this one is not going to make you weep, it doesn’t tell a particularly touchy story, and there are no extraordinary special effects involved, it’s still extremely relevant for the development of an approach to holiday marketing ads that persists to this day.
Shadow was the first of the long-form Christmas commercials of British retailer John Lewis & Partners that basically lightened up the whole competition around holiday ads worldwide. You gotta respect a brand for starting a tradition and that’s what John Lewis did with this particular ad.
As for the commercial itself, it’s beautiful and laconic. People are placing various items in the studio-looking room to create a game of light and shadow. As you can guess, all the products they put can be found in John Lewis stores. Finally, the composition starts to take shape and we see the end result. It’s a girl with a dog going through the snow created in the stylistic of the British duo Tim Noble and Sue Webster.
It’s simple, it’s evocative, and it’s one of the best holiday ads ever created due to its influence on the marketing world.
5. Polar Bears – Coca-Cola – 1993
Why: if you’d like some vintage holiday ads in your life, there’s this excellent Coca-Cola entry that introduced the world to the cute 3D polar bear that became one of the most recognizable holiday symbols of the brand.
The ad is quite simple. A pack of polar bears gathers to watch the show of the northern lights. The catch is that they’re here to enjoy Coke too. The ad ends with an insanely sweet polar bear tasting the drink and making a sound of pleasure. Classic, timeless, and fun. That’s how we want the best holiday ads to be.
6. Man On The Moon – John Lewis – 2015
Why: yes, we’ve seen this formula many, many times. But it doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. Christmas is associated with showing love to those you care about and John Lewis takes it to the moon. Quite literally.
The video is about the girl that notices while on the telescope that there’s an old man living all alone on the moon. It’s Christmas, the girl has a good heart and she wants to give a gift to this sad grandfather. She tries different ways but it’s the moon we’re talking about that complicates her endeavors a bit. But those who want something badly get it. And the girl uses balloons to transport a present to the Earth’s satellite.
That’s a telescope in the box and the old man now can see our planet from afar. He’s not alone anymore.
The soundtrack here is a cover of Oasis’ “Half The World Away” performed by Norwegian singer Aurora before her TikTok fame.
7. Peter Comes Home For Christmas – Folgers Coffee – 1985
Why: just Peter coming home despite the heavy snowstorm to greet his family with freshly brewed Folgers Coffee. Nothing more, nothing less. And that’s how you produce the best holiday ad.
Make it relatable, pair the commercial with some fine orchestral music, and spice it up with the Christmas spirit. The ad was a huge success, it was shown every year until 1998 turning Folgers into a go-to holiday coffee brand for a generation of Americans.
By the way, in 2009 Folgers did a remake. It is more on the bizarre side of things, and couldn’t keep up with the instant magic of the original ad.
8. Kisses Christmas Commercial – Hershey’s – 1989
Why: not all holiday ads require a cinematic approach. Sometimes you only need candy that imitates the bells and plays the iconic melody. That’s exactly what the American chocolate manufacturer Hershey’s done for their entry into the Christmas marketing canon. And that stayed in the history of the most memorable and the best holiday ads forever.