We hand-picked these 12 commercials because they made us laugh, smile, and maybe even shed a tear or two. But, most of all, they reminded us of the real meaning of Christmas.
When selecting our favorite ads, we looked for commercials that evoked emotion, reflected the brand’s values, and ended with a call to action. Each of these elements are critical in making a successful Christmas commercial.
Without further ado, pour yourself a cup of hot cocoa and get cozy on the sofa.
The Best Christmas Commercials of All Time:
Walkers Crisps: All Mariah Carey Wants This Christmas
Nothing else can get you more in the holiday spirit than Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” In this ad, you see Carey belting out the words to her timeless classic while on the set of a winter wonderland. As the scene wraps up, Carey explains all the reasons why she loves Christmas – it’s a time for giving, caring, and sharing. But, when it comes to Walkers Crisps, sharing is out of the question. Apparently, they’re so good you’ll only want them for yourself!
Apple’s Emmy-winning “Misunderstood” ad shows how technology can actually bring people together. In this commercial, you see a teenaged boy who is seemingly withdrawn and absorbed in his iPhone and missing the events around him. As his family gathers around to exchange gifts, the boy turns on the TV and reveals that he has been secretly documenting the “little moments” of their family holiday festivities the whole time. It’s a heartwarming video filled with snowball fights, sledding, and a few stolen kisses. The twist at the end catches you off guard, only to leave you with a smile on your face.
Google Assistant: Home Alone, Again (With the Google Assistant)
Google Assistant gave us all we’ve been wanting – a “Home Alone” squeal with the real Kevin McCallister. The ad shows what it’s like for the modern-day Kevin to have the house all to himself. Luckily, he had some help from Google Assistant to keep him on track, organized, and to deploy “Operation Kevin” without even lifting a finger.
Gap: Gift of Thought
Gap struck an emotional chord with this one. “The Gift of Thought” documents the evolution of a young boy and his mother’s relationship. While the boy grew older, one thing always stayed the same – the Gap hoodie he wore year after year. You see the boy wearing this hoodie as he runs out the door to catch the school bus, as he discovers a passion for photography, as he falls in and out of love, and as he moves out. The end of the ad, it cuts to Christmas with the boy all grown up. His mother hands him a gift with a note that says ‘because you’ve been there all along.’ Inside the box was the very same Gap hoodie that he wore all those years before. This ad strives to bring back thoughtfulness and meaningful intention when giving gifts this year.
Target: The Christmas Champ
Holidays are no joke, especially for “The Christmas Champ.” She could be described as an over-the-top Christmas perfectionist. Target released a series of 15 commercials poking fun at how serious handmade cards, cookie decorating, and Target’s 2-day sales are. This one in particular shows just how competitive Black Friday shopping can be – it’s so competitive she spends weeks getting in shape just to be able to snatch up those irresistible deals.
Edeka, a large supermarket chain in Germany, created an ad that showed just how far a grandfather would go to get his family to come home for Christmas. The grandfather seems rather lonely as he sits in his house by himself on Christmas. Eventually, the family learns that he has passed away, and they return to his home to say their goodbyes. But all to their surprise, they find the dining room lit up with a feast of food. However, best of all – a very much alive grandfather. He said, “how else could I have brought you all together?” In the end, the family shares a beautiful meal together with laughter and love.
The “Faint” by M&M’s consistently stands out as memorable. In 1996, M&M’s released the original Faint commercial as it plays off the idea that kids stop believing in Santa as they grow older. In the ad, the red M&M is shocked when he discovers that Santa really does exist, just as Santa is equally as shocked that yellow and green M&Ms also exist! Out of disbelief and surprise, everyone faints. The memorability and humor ensure the survival of this commercial and even inspired a sequel many years later.
Unlike many holiday campaigns, Sainbury’s Christmas ad is based on true events. This ad depicts scenes from the trenches of World War I leading up to Christmas. Instead of going to war, the army enemies made a truce and celebrated Christmas as one. The soldiers played football, exchanged gifts, and wished each other well. While chaos only halted for a moment, it showed that Christmas is truly a time meant for sharing – no matter your differences.
Hershey’s: Christmas Bells
Hershey’s “Christmas Bells” classic debuted in 1989 and has run every holiday season since. As stated by Hershey’s former marketing director, these kinds of advertisements “don’t wear out like normal commercials,” because they are only shown seasonally. With that in mind, they decided to continue running the commercial, which makes it the longest-running campaign for the Hershey’s company and is a staple amongst holiday ads. It’s short, but oh so sweet!
John Lewis: The Long Wait
The UK retailer, John Lewis, is known for its sentimental holiday ads. “The Long Wait” tells a story about a little boy who is impatiently waiting for Christmas to arrive. It’s as though the time passed slower as he watched the minutes and days go by. On the day before Christmas, he runs to bed in anticipation of the next day. While you think the boy is impatiently waiting to see what presents were for him, he excitedly rushes to his parents’ room and offers them a poorly wrapped gift. As he hands over the present, the tagline “for gifts you can’t wait to give” shows. It’s a heartwarming and engaging twist of events, which really makes you want to shop at John Lewis.
Once again, another nostalgic Christmas classic! Campbell’s “Snowman” commercial has retained its spot as creative and magical since 1993. In this ads, a snowman comes to life as he gets chilled out by the cold and snow. So, he heads inside to enjoy a nice, warm bowl of Campbell’s chicken noodle soup. As the snowman eats, he begins to melt and transforms into a very content young boy who can’t get enough of Campbell’s chicken noodle soup.
WestJet: Christmas Miracle
What’s Christmas without a miracle? Before boarding a WestJet flight, passengers told Santa what they wanted for Christmas. Little did they know the WestJet elves were listening and hurried to stores near the passengers’ destination. As the passengers gathered around the baggage carousel, they expected nothing more than to pick up their luggage. But, they were pleasantly surprised when all their wishes came true instead. A few of the gifts received were underwear (ha!), snowboards, electronics, and a flight home – plus the bonus of some very merry Christmas cheer.
Closing Thoughts on Christmas Commercials
Which Christmas commercial catches your eye? We want to know your thoughts! As you think about your own content, which elements do you incorporate into your marketing? If you need help creating your own unique marketing campaigns (holiday or not), don’t hesitate to give Transformation Marketing a call at 402-788-2896. We are a full-service marketing agency near Lincoln, NE, with experience in social media marketing, graphic design, search engine optimization, web development, as well as photography and video production. When you choose TM, you’re guaranteed to get marketing with a personal touch!