📌 The best Christmas ads
Atmospheric candles and lights, a colorful Christmas tree, family time, evenings under a blanket with hot chocolate – December is the most atmospheric month of the year, which is primarily associated with Christmas. It’s a time of choosing gifts for loved ones, a fact well remembered by marketers. They are the ones who every year think about how to encourage consumers to spend their budgets on buying their products this Christmas. And the biggest and smaller brands create Christmas ads and take part in the annual Christmas advertising battle. With what results? Judge for yourself.
Every year the Christmas period is a rash of Christmas campaigns and ads. In the foreground are not always even the products of the brand itself, they often function as a “gift” in the background. Each year, this gift takes different, not necessarily material, forms: from care and thanks to encouragement and motivation. In a word, the “bag” of Christmas ads that have been created over the past few years is synonymous with togetherness, closeness and mutual attention. Values that have been compounded by the pandemic. Global retailers have also adopted a different attitude toward Christmas advertising: primarily in the last two years it has been based on direct appeal to consumers. For what? Well, first of all, to motivate customers to get out of the house, “out on the town,” into the stores and thus encourage the purchase of their products/services.
In the UK, it is a well-established custom to open Christmas time with a campaign by Waitrose & John Lewis, in recent years under the slogan Give A Little Love. It is a spectacle of various art forms created by eight artists, experts in their field: animation, claymation (plasticine animation), CGI (computer-generated imagery) or cinematography. The commercial is a picture of the many examples of kindness and courtesy shown to one, returned to other people.
Recent holiday seasons have seen three dominant categories in advertising, which customers described as corny, unbelievable, with a message. Well, this whole year has been unbelievable. However, let’s go ahead and categorize selected Christmas campaigns according to consumer feedback.
❤️AMAZON, SHOW MUST GO ON
This commercial is the story of a young ballerina who has been chosen as the star of an upcoming show. So she desperately hones her skills wherever and however she can: on the staircase, on the street, in rain and inclement weather, only to eventually learn that the dream performance is canceled due to a pandemic. Sadness, frustration, disappointment are just a few of the unspoken verbal feelings that, with regard to COVID 19, have accompanied many people and have been loudly and emphatically expressed through this advertisement. A family rises to the occasion and puts on a show on the roof of the building for the neighbors – while maintaining social distance. “The show must go on,” echoes the dancer to Queen music. And as Freddie Mercury emphasizes in the song: “Inside my heart is breaking (…) But my smile still stays on. (…) I can fly my friends!” (“My heart is breaking (…) But my smile still stays on. (…) I can achieve success, my friends.” The happy ending is not only an emphasis on the spirit of togetherness on the part of the family and the immediate community. Above all, it’s a message that fortitude and perseverance will triumph in the pandemic challenges of 2020. Noteworthy in the spot are details that make the Christmas ad seem extremely realistic, including “covid” reality elements like online learning and masks. Truly, more than a few tears can be shed….
❤️DISNEY, FROM OUR FAMILY TO YOURS
One is surprised that Disney has never created a Christmas campaign, especially since there is probably no person who has not encountered characters from its fairy tales and movies. Christmas 2020 ads have just been enriched with a Disney spot, the ad itself is moving to tears. The beautiful, animated and highly emotional story is a depiction of the relationship between grandmother and granddaughter against the background of traditions celebrated annually before Christmas. The plot is based on the thread of the symbolic Disney character Mickey Mouse, who has accompanied the family for generations. And although times change, people grow up, the cultivated traditions passed down from generation to generation are what keeps the family together. Although Lola and her granddaughter from the spot share a love of Disney and making Christmas ornaments, over time this shared passion begins to fade. The renewal of their special bond will be fostered by the sight of the spoiled beloved Mickey Mouse and the joyful past seen in the pictures. The Christmas surprise prepared by the girl is a message that everything in life can be repaired and “saved from oblivion,” of which the “repaired” ear of Mickey Mouse is a visible symbol.
“From our family to yours” – with the slogan of the Christmas advertising campaign, Disney emphasizes the value of family and at the same time stresses that it is close to its customers.
❤️DOC MORRIS, TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.
This commercial was considered by many viewers to be one of the best Christmas ads of the year. The spot for pharmaceutical company DocMorris is the epic tale of a grandfather, a former athlete, who wakes up one day and takes on a challenge. From an old shed, he tries to pull out (or rather, stamp out, since it’s beyond his strength) sports equipment and begins to train. What is his goal? What is this old, lonely man trying to prove? Does he want to impress his curious neighbors? Is he trying to revive his youth? Such questions arise for the viewers, and the attempt to get answers makes the commercial gripping until the very end. The reason for his efforts is surprising – the grandfather wants to prepare for Christmas with his family to lift up his granddaughter. The touching ending brings tears to the eyes themselves. “So you can take care of what matters in life” – with this slogan, Doc Morris has perfectly fitted the pandemic reality, reminding us that unity, health and taking care of oneself and loved ones is crucial. As a conclusion, we can add here that this is another spot about a “persistent grandfather” who does not give in to the usual stereotypes. Let’s take care of ourselves.
❤️TK MAXX, THE LIL’ GOAT
About the fact that everyone deserves to feel special, we all know. But, to get a goat! Let’s take a look. The owners of the farm watch from their window as their goat Lil, dressed in stylish clothes, strides across the snowy meadow like a runway model to the beat of rhythmic music. In doing so, she infuriates not only the other animals, but also the owner. “Did you buy the goat a designer outfit?” she asks puzzled. The host looks at the decorated goat with a tear in his eye and adds, “Yes, she had such a hard year. As far as I’m concerned, she really deserves it.” Unbelievable? Well, the first year of the pandemic was truly unbelievable. The 2020 Christmas ads summed up a difficult year in which everyone deserved to feel special, at least for Christmas, which was also ingeniously highlighted by the TK MAXX brand.
❤️JOHN DOG, CHRISTMAS GIFTS
“You don’t know, and I know, how to talk to a dog! (…)” – when you watch this commercial, the words of Jan Brzechwa sung by Adas Niezgódka in “Mr. Blossom’s Academy” spring to mind. In this unpredictable year, a friend was someone who more than once motivated action, kept our spirits up and just… was close by. A friend for better or worse? My female cat was the only being who sat with me when I was sick. My kitty senses when I’m in a bad mood. My stick man always climbs on my shoulder and accompanies me. My fish have a soothing effect on me – these are the words of pet owners. Strange? Not when talking about MY pet, regardless of the species of animal. Thank your friend for being with you “throughout this messed up year,” encourages a Christmas spot by Polish brand John Dog. Unbelievable? From there, touching and true
WITH A MESSAGE
Whether corny or unbelievable, all Christmas spots carry a message. Here is a selection of marketing storytelling gems that subtly called for unity, closeness, understanding and love. These are the best Christmas ads of 2020 and 2021, which are still worth returning to and drawing inspiration from.
❤️COCA-COLA, THIS CHRISTMAS, GIVE SOMETHING ONLY YOU CAN GIVE
Coca-Cola’s Christmas ads have for years been associated with snowy lands with red decorated trucks and Santa Claus driving through. In the past two years, the brand’s Christmas ads have looked a little different.
The 2020 Christmas ad is a story that begins with a scene in which a man sets out to work on an offshore wind farm, and his daughter hands him a letter to Santa Claus. The father, against the odds, fighting his own weaknesses and untamed nature, tries to deliver the letter to the North Pole. This Christmas he wants to give something that only he can give. Unfortunately, he arrives too late. All the journey for nothing? – the question arises. When he returns, already standing in front of his house, he opens the letter and reads his daughter’s dream: “Dear Santa, let Daddy come home for Christmas.”
Company representatives elaborated on the advertising slogan: “This Christmas, give something that only you can give. In the context of the pandemic, this message takes on added value: in person, via an inconvenient video call or simply a short message. Finding time for those you love makes Christmas, no matter how you do it, a truly special time of year. No matter where you are, we hope it’s a good time.”
This commercial, directed by New Zealand director, Taika Waititi, ( winner of the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for “Jojo Rabbit”) is amazing. First: it is a beautiful message of love and determination, and second: it appears to sum up the year 2020 – we struggle, but we will make it.
❤️COCA-COLA REAL MAGIC
The 2021 Christmas ads have already moved a bit away from the theme of lockdown or the difficulties of spreading a virus. Coca-Cola’s 2021 Christmas campaign focused on the power of unity, togetherness and support. Coca-Cola’s Christmas ad with the slogan “Real Magic” is in line with the brand’s new philosophy and emphasizes the magical time of Christmas. A time that brings people, families, neighbors together, and unites at the table beyond all cultural, generational and worldview differences. The spot tells the story of a boy who lives in a block of flats resembling buildings in New York City, and comes up with the idea of delivering gifts to his neighbors through a chimney, which includes an invitation to a joint Christmas gathering. The boy builds a chimney out of cardboard boxes, with the help of other neighbors, and decorates it with colorful Christmas tree lights. On Christmas Day, a lonely elderly neighbor gets a gift directly to her room that falls through the chimney, which contains a card with an invitation to the meeting. Overall, this storytelling can be interpreted as a story about how Coca-cola does not divide, but unites. A subtle message and a touching ending, especially in a neighborhood context where we don’t always have relationships with the people who live next door, but only pass each other in the hallways for hellos and goodbyes.
❤️LEGO, REBUILD THE WORLD – THAT’S A REALLY COOL WORLD.
It doesn’t take a commercial to figure out that everyone becomes a kid in the Lego world. Accompanying the Christmas commercial is Louis Armstrong’s song “What a Wonderful World,” featuring the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra (especially for the spot), drawing attention to the magic of everyday life that comes from spending time together. The commercial, held in true holiday spirit, engages the viewer emotionally. Julia Goldin, Marketing Director of the LEGO Group, adds that “… the new campaign celebrates children’s creativity and optimism” and gives “…parents the chance to experience and appreciate how children can build, dismantle and rebuild the world around them with LEGO bricks. We want to inspire people of all ages to play and unleash their creativity this Christmas.”
These words become a message not only for this Christmas, but also for the year ahead after the difficult months marked by the pandemic: LET’S REBUILD THE WORLD – IT REALLY IS A SUPER WORLD.
❤️ALLEGRO, LET’S SEE THE ESSENTIALS IN EACH OTHER
When listing the TOP Christmas commercials of 2021, the item from Allegro cannot be missed. Last year’s spot “Let’s see in each other what’s most important” won the hearts of millions of Poles, combining a corny story with a beautiful message. For several years now, Christmas commercials under the Allegro banner have been like honey to the heart, and their creators definitely know how to build the perfect atmosphere and emotion. The short story of youthful love from the 2021 Christmas commercial was created by the Ogilvy agency and directed by Jakob Ström. The Christmas images of interpersonal and intergenerational relationships are accompanied by a cover of the main song from the film “Never Ending Story.” It’s a lesson about not judging people by their appearance and not suggesting first impressions. The key scene focuses on the daughter’s young, tattooed partner, who presents a gift to her father. The gift is right on target, and a close-up moment on the hand of the boyfriend handing the wrapped gift shows a tattoo on his fingers with the word LOVE, or LOVE.
❤️IKEA, IT ONLY TAKES A LITTLE TO CHANGE A LOT
The theme of closeness and reunion are the main, but not the only, messages of Christmas ads. An ingenious linking of the Christmas theme with environmental education was proposed by IKEA. Among the most creative Christmas ads of 2021 we can certainly mention the spot “It takes little to change much”, which addresses the problem of food waste. IKEA addresses the needs of household members who are left with too much food, urging them not to throw food away. The ad features the brand’s product, which is a food container. It might seem like a not-so-holiday item that is unlikely to be suitable for a Christmas tree gift, but it will help household members store food left over from Christmas Eve dinner. A big plus for the makers of the ad for going off the charts and the educational value of environmentalism.
What are your favorite Christmas campaigns from recent years? Would you add anything to this set of ads? Which Christmas ad idea moved you the most? We look forward to your feedback.