In honour of what is fast becoming a new tradition, we count down the best Christmas adverts of all time.
5. https://www.youtube.com/embed/ywjfSVrCqnk Yellow Pages - Mistletoe
Simple yet unforgettable. The classic Yellow Pages ad from 1992 was a stroke of marketing genius and a progenitor of the current brand of emotionally affecting adverts that companies such as John Lewis are producing. No elaborate production or computer generated penguins are to be found, but the simple act of standing on a phone book to steal a kiss under the mistletoe made this an instant Christmas classic. Ending with the straight forward message ‘Happy Christmas’, this ad eschewed any torturous marketing slogans and as such earns its rightful place among the festive marketing classics.
4. www.youtube.com/embed/9fbwS9kNboM Marks & Spencer - Christmas 2009
With a cast featuring everyone from Stephen Fry to Wallace and Gromit, this recent Marks & Spencer ad used star power rather than elaborate production to establish itself as one of the more memorable marketing efforts. Following a method focused around humanising a large corporation by having its stars directly address the viewers about what makes Christmas Christmas, the ad earns a place on this list for the sheer amount of celebrities it manages to pack into 50 seconds.
3. www.youtube.com/embed/4yZOab5gl-4 Irn-Bru - The Snowman
Striking a nice balance between parody and reverence for the original Snowman, this Irn-Bru ad from a few years ago may only be familiar to Scottish readers but earns a place on this list regardless. Recalling what is for many a fond childhood memory with a reworking of the classic Snowman song, the ad has all the ingredients of a great Christmas promotion: nostalgia, cheer, and carbonated beverages.
2. www.youtube.com/embed/XqWig2WARb0 John Lewis - The Bear and the Hare
Changing the Christmas advert game entirely, this instant classic from last year cemented John Lewis’ place as the king of the festive promotion. It just misses out on the top spot for reasons explained in the next section, but is otherwise peerless in its standing as the epitome of the modern Christmas ad. The usage of Lily Allen’s cover of Keane’s ‘Somewhere Only We Know’ was a stroke of marketing genius and when combined with the hand-drawn animation it established a sense of nostalgia whilst simultaneously representing something entirely new in the festive promotion field.
1. www.youtube.com/embed/kr7h8crYAYQ Coca-Cola - Holidays Are Coming
The all-time greatest Christmas advert. Each year, the nation waits for the arrival of the ‘Holidays Are Coming’ advert to signal what might as well be the official start of the Christmas season. It has become quite a widespread phenomenon for people to say that they consider the Christmas season to begin with the first sighting of this iconic ad which has proved so popular that it has spawned an equally popular tour whereby the famous ‘Coke Truck’ travels around the country drawing the masses to its corporate brand of festive cheer. Leave it to the company that invented the modern depiction of Santa Claus to provide us with the definitive Christmas ad.
Honourable Mention: Sainsbury’s 2014
Although it has only just been released, the sheer scale of this 3 minute epic earns it an honourable mention on this list. Who among the British and German troops involved in the famous football game between the two sides on Christmas day 1914 would have thought that the profound moment in which they were involved would one day be immortalised as part of a Sainsbury’s marketing campaign. Surprisingly affecting, this bold effort may cause some controversy but deserves recognition as one of the most elaborate Christmas adverts we have yet seen.