10 Greatest Christmas Adverts of All Time

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Marketing Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for Marketing pros

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

These classic Christmas adverts are great examples of how to build awareness and engagement with your brand.

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10 Greatest Christmas Adverts of All Time

You know December 25th is just around the corner when the big brands start dropping their Christmas adverts. These tear-jerking, heart-warming vignettes have become as much of a tradition as eating turkey and singing carols - but who has done them best?

Let's take a look at some of the stand-out examples of seasonal advertising.

1. Coca-Cola, Holidays are Coming

 

Many view Coca-Cola's festive advertising campaign as the official start of Christmas, so iconic has it become since its launch in 1995. The ads see festively decorated red Coca-Cola trucks driving through picture-postcard towns as happy children and families look on. 'Holidays are Coming' is quintessentially Christmas - and one of the biggest marketing hits this mega-brand has ever achieved.

2. Apple, Share Your Gifts

 

Reminiscent of Disney Pixar, this animated 2018 campaign from Apple features a young girl keeping her creativity a secret until her dog releases her talents to the world for all to enjoy. It contained almost no product placement, but was a stellar example of boosting goodwill and celebrating the best in everyone during the festive season. There was even a 'behind the scenes' spin-off that created further fanfare.

3. Qantas, Feels Like Home

 

A 2015 campaign from Australia, this tearjerker depicts the lengths to which a man living miles away goes to ensure he gets home for his family's Christmas gathering - a message that has only become more poignant today. The ad avoided commercialism and highlighted the reason many of us travel in the first place: to spend time with our loved ones.

4. Sainsbury's, Christmas is for Sharing

 

British supermarket Sainsbury's stood head and shoulders above its rivals in 2014 when it teamed up with the Royal British Legion to tell the true story of the First World War's Christmas truce 100 years earlier. It depicts troops on both sides of the Western Front's No Man's Land as they gingerly emerge from the trenches singing 'Silent Night' to temporarily put their weapons down. At the end, a German soldier finds the bar of chocolate slipped into his coat pocket by a British 'Tommy' - and the Tommy returns to his trench to eat his dry biscuit ration. This poignant example did well to remind us of the true meaning of Christmas.

5. Yellow Pages, Mistletoe

 

This one is a UK blast from the past, dating way back to 1992. It sees a little boy approaching a girl for a kiss under the mistletoe, only to realize that he's too short to reach. Not to worry - he grabs a Yellow Pages, stands on it and gets his Christmas kiss. Mistletoe is wonderfully nostalgic to watch in the 21st century, particularly since the internet all but wiped out the now old-fashioned concept of the Yellow Pages.

6. WestJet, Christmas Miracle

 

If the holiday season is all about giving, Canadian airline WestJet truly nailed it with one particular campaign. In 2013, it quizzed travelers on one of its flights about what they wanted for Christmas - and then had the gifts waiting for them at the baggage reclaim carousel. The resulting heart-warming film went viral, and proves the benefits of a well-orchestrated, well-meaning publicity stunt.

7. Toys R Us, Magical Place

 

First seen in 1989, this toy store's ad was guaranteed to whip children up into a festive frenzy as it showcased all the must-have Christmas toys mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe had to offer. From the memorable tune to the frantic repetition of 'Toys R Us' at the end, it continues to be one of the most definitive marketing campaigns ever - although it sadly couldn't save the brand, which finally folded in 2018.

8. Aldi, Kevin the Carrot

 

German supermarket chain Aldi launched its mascot Kevin the Carrot in 2016 and it proved to be one of the most successful moves the company ever made. Kevin has featured in Christmas ads ever since, getting into scrapes such as fights with evil parsnips and tussles with Peaky Blinders-style sprouts. There were even altercations between shoppers when a corresponding merchandise range was launched. Kevin certainly seems to be enjoying a very long shelf life.

9. Hershey's Kisses, Christmas Bells

 

The Christmas Bells ad made its debut in 1989 and features a handbell choir made up of the iconic Kisses playing 'We Wish You a Merry Christmas'. It was so successful that the brand has brought it back every single holiday season since - until 2020, when a remake was attempted. Such a backlash ensued that Hershey's had to concede defeat and play both versions - which just goes to show that you shouldn't mess with a classic.

10. Ferrero Rocher, Ambassador's Party

 

Last but not least, who could forget the glorious cheesiness of Ferrero Rocher? Its classic Christmas ads see attendees of an extravagant European party being served the gold-wrapped chocolates by a butler as a guest declares: “Monsieur, with these Rocher you're really spoiling us." The ad achieved cult status and, despite many attempts by the brand to move away from it, popular demand sees it continuing to return.

With all these greats from Christmases past, we can only look forward to what brands will do in the festive seasons to come.

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