The Christmas advert is, by all accounts, a modern phenomenon. Back when I was younger, I’d just wait until I heard those immortal words: “Holidays are coming” blaring from the TV in the lounge and that was it. Coca-Cola must be one of the only Christmas ads I ever remember from my youth.
Fast forward a few (too many) years and, thanks largely to John Lewis, the Christmas advert has taken on a new identity – it is something many people anticipate year in, year out.
And now, everyone’s at it. Trying to cash in on the festive season with adverts that tug at our heartstrings in the hope that our Christmas cash will land behind their tills.
I think it’s fair to say that there are very few that really hit the spot. But I don’t want to dwell on the criticism of those that didn’t (in my opinion) do it right. I want to focus on the guys that nailed it – whether that be through an original idea, perfect execution, humour or just capturing what Christmas is really all about.
- As mentioned before, the only Christmas spot that I recall as a kid. Is it creatively amazing? Probably not, but for so many people this is THE ad that kicks off the festive period. (Coca Cola – Holidays are Coming)
- Arguably the best of the John Lewis Christmas ads, The Long Wait captured the hearts and minds of the nation. It’s almost perfect down to the last detail: a great idea, wonderfully directed, brilliantly cast and with a wonderful soundtrack to top it all off. Too saccharine for some, but, for me, just brilliant. (John Lewis – The Long Wait)
- Something a bit different here, but I think last year’s Sainsbury’s spot captured the real spirit of Christmas. Mainly because it is made up of little snippets of real people’s Christmas Days. Plus, let’s face it; we all love a bit of a peek behind closed doors. It’ll make you laugh, it’ll make you cry. A job well done. (Sainsbury’s – Christmas in a Day)
- Emotion is all well and good in Christmas advertising, but in at number four is something a little more light-hearted. Harvey Nichols have always taken a slightly different tact when it comes to Christmas. It’s a beautiful piece of film with a real truth behind it and the performances are just spot on. (Harvey Nichols – Walk of Shame)
- As my last choice, let’s opt for something a bit silly. A parody of a real Christmas institution, just for a laugh. (Irn Bru – Snowman)
Alternatively, if you really hate Christmas ads, then check out one of my favourite ads of all time for Logitech. It’s great.
So, those are my top 5 Christmas ads. You might not like any of them, or think that I should have put in something like Yellow Pages ‘Mistletoe’ and that’s okay; the wonderful thing about advertising is that it still manages to create conversation and debate, even in the digital age.
About the Author:
Rory Hall is a creative at adam&eveDDB where he works with his creative partner, Steph Ellis. They’ve made ads for John Lewis, Phones 4u, Volkswagen and Temptations amongst others. They get to act like kids all day, it’s pretty great.