Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year – Christmas trees, advent calendars, lights, decorations, presents, food and, of course, all the Christmas adverts. Many companies have begun to go big with their Christmas adverts in recent years (John Lewis and Aldi spring to mind), and these clips have quickly become an anticipated element of the season. Before we start looking forward to the upcoming seasonal offerings though, let’s have a look back over some of the best Christmas adverts of all time – from gravy cubes to auctioning websites, you’ll be surprised how touching some of these diverse adverts can be.
10. My Christmas – Oxo (1984)
YouTube Views: 10,000
Often regarded as the beginning of Christmas ads as we know them today, this Oxo advert starred famous British actress Lynda Bellingham, who became fondly known as the Oxo Mum because of it. The ad shows a traditional Mother at Christmas serving up her family’s Christmas dinner, with a few interruptions from her children and husband, though the famous Oxo cubes save the day in the end. Although it only has 10 thousand views, this advert is widely remembered across the U.K, and there was a public call for it to be repeated after Bellingham’s death in 2014, to which the company complied on Christmas day.
9. Magic Moments – Quality Street (1994)
YouTube Views: 61,000
One of the more heart-warming traditional Christmas ads, Quality Street’s Magic Moments clip depicts a little boy throughout the year being shown across the road by a lollipop lady, finishing up with the boy gifting the lollipop lady with a box of Quality Street chocolates at Christmas. With just over 60 thousand views on YouTube, viewers still fondly remember this advert when they see Quality Street tins at Christmas even today and the touching imagery paired with Perry Como’s catchy Magic Moments tune will have you whistling merrily all through the season.
8. Special Because.. – Boots (2014)
YouTube Views: 150,0000
Even more relevant now in 2021, Boots’ 2014 seasonal offering depicts an NHS worker working the Christmas shift, while her family prepare a late celebration for her, including people coming from all over town just to be there for her, give her some special gifts and celebrate with her. Racking up around half a million views, this advert shows presents as more than just a material item – they are a way of showing someone how much you care about them and that you’re thinking of them not only at this special season, but through the rest of the year as well. Boots spawned the hashtag #specialbecause from the advert to encourage people to share who’d made them feel good that year and why to spread some joy at Christmas.
7. Holidays Are Coming – Coca Cola (1995)
YouTube Views: 682,000
One of the most successful ongoing Christmas campaigns to date, Coca Cola’s well-known ‘Holidays Are Coming’ jingle was first used in 1995 to soundtrack the introduction of their iconic Christmas trucks, which are still used today to hand out free Coke at Christmas. Designed by the same company behind Star Wars, the gloriously bedecked trucks trundle through the forest and create magical occurrences for the amazed people they pass, finishing with an image of Santa Claus dressed up in his red coat and hat, an image that Coca Cola invented. This ad has just over half a million views collectively on YouTube – although it may not be as popular as recent Coca Cola adverts, it’s one of the most well remembered for beginning the structure that the company still uses in its seasonal adverts to this day.
6. The Snowman – Irn-Bru (2006)
YouTube Views: 1,200,000
This advert may have raised a few eyebrows when it was first shown, but it has since become a regular part of Scottish culture and is still shown most years. A parody of the beloved Christmas short of the same name, Irn-Bru’s advert shows a boys snowman come to life and fly him around the world while he sips Irn-Bru, which the snowman tries multiple times to take. Eventually, the snowman lets go of the boy and takes the Irn-Bru for himself, leaving the boy to crash to the ground outside of the Irn-Bru factory with a Christmas message emblazoned across the front. Although there were a few complaints at the time, many embraced the humour of the advert and it now has around 1.2 million views on YouTube, which encouraged the sequel released in 2017.
5. Peel The Need – Aldi (2020)
YouTube Views: 7,600,000
In Kevin the Carrot, Aldi have one of the most popular mascots of any advertising campaign, and Kevin’s Christmas adventures are some of the most anticipated of the season. Their 2020 effort is their most popular Christmas advert so far, with almost 8 million views on YouTube, and it shows the carrot trying to get back to his family in time for Christmas. With some disasters and a bit of help from Santa, Kevin eventually makes it back to his family in a style that E.T would be jealous of. This chain of adverts has spawned many pieces of merchandise that has seen customers physically grappling one another to get their hands on a piece of Kevin in previous years.
4. Mrs Claus – Marks & Spencer’s (2016)
YouTube Views: 9,700,000
Featuring veteran actress Janet McTeer as the titular character, Marks and Spencer’s 2016 seasonal ad shows siblings Jake and Anna squabbling throughout the year, until Jake decides that he wants to give Anna something extra special for Christmas. He writes to Mrs Claus for help, who travels across the world in her helicopter to make sure that Anna gets the perfect present, leaving a fresh sprinkling of snow in her wake. Part of the company’s Christmas With Love campaign, the ad was designed with the input of 32 million customers, making it their most customer-based campaign to date.
3. English For Beginners – Allegro (2016)
YouTube Views: 18,000,000
Though Allegro may be a Polish auctioning company, their 2018 Christmas advert wiggled its way onto U.K TV due to its popularity on YouTube and social media. In the 3-minute clip, we meet an old Polish man who is trying to learn English at the expense of his belongings, his dog and his rubber duck, all leading up to a trip to London, where he meets his granddaughter for the first time and is able to communicate with her in English. The ad received rave reviews from viewers (with some even saying that it made them cry), due to their focus on the emotional connection of the story rather than trying to obnoxiously push their product.
2. Mog’s Christmas Calamity – Sainsburys (2015)
YouTube Views: 41,000,000
Inspired by a character from a children’s book written in 1970, Sainsbury’s ‘Mog’s Christmas Calamity’ shows a cat accidently destroying his family’s house on Christmas morning, but before they can get upset, the neighbour’s gang together to help the family clean up their house and still have a fantastic Christmas. The author of the 1970’s Mog The Cat books, Judith Kerr, was commissioned by Sainsburys to write the story for them to use, and the book published alongside the topped the U.K’s bestselling book charts for four consecutive weeks
1. The Bear and The Hare – John Lewis (2013)
YouTube Views: 48,000,000
At 48 million YouTube views, this is the most watched Christmas ad of all time, and probably one of the most well-known. A bear, who has never seen Christmas due to his hibernation schedule, is left a present on Christmas morning by his friend the hare. The present turns out to be an alarm clock, which wakes the bear up in time for Christmas, when he is awestruck by the tree and witnesses all the woodland creatures opening presents and celebrating, which he is able to join in with for the first time. The beautiful 2D animation is accompanied by pop star Lily Allen’s cover of Keane’s ‘Somewhere Only We Know’, which soared to the top of the charts quickly once the ad was released. John Lewis are now renowned for their Christmas adverts, which encapsulate everything about Christmas for many people, and this, one of their earliest offerings, epitomises the meaning of the season perfectly.
Let’s Hope It’s A Good One
As Christmas is quickly creeping up on us again this year, we can look forward to even more comforting animations, heart-warming Christmassy scenes, and immersive hashtags very soon. Whether you love them or hate them, it’s undeniable that these touching seasonal adverts have become a part of our culture, and, really, how can anyone say that’s a bad thing?
To get ahead on the Christmas decorations this year, why not invest in one of our pop-up Christmas trees? These compact trees can come pre-lit and even pre-decorated – with so many options, there’s bound to be a pop-up tree that fits your needs!
Got a favourite Christmas advert? Let us know in the comments!