Nothing says Christmas like a TV ad pulling at your heart strings to get you to buy from retail giants. Perhaps that’s a little cynical – I for one would be lying if I said I didn’t partake in the yearly office debate over who’s Christmas ad is the best. And with many the retailer pouring out millions to outshine their competitors, Christmas ads just keep getting better and better.
But who would reign supreme in the best Christmas adverts of all time? From cartoon creations bursting with emotion to catchy tunes that hook you all festive season, here are our top ten Christmas TV adverts of all time:
10. Mistletoe – Yellow pages 1992
Back in ye olde times when the internet hadn’t taken over every household, the good old yellow pages was there to help you look up any business details you needed. And if you were a bit of a shorty back in the 90’s, then it also doubled up as an aid for when you couldn’t reach the things you wanted, like the cookie cupboard or a cheeky smooch under the mistletoe. The Yellow Pages 1992 advert, with it’s jingle-filled music and its very British voice-over, is a nostalgic reminder of a simpler life.
9. This is not just Christmas food… – M&S 2006
A sultry playlist, slow-mo camera work and a seductive whisper of a voice-over – who would have thought that M&S, of all stores could make food sexy. But make food sexy they did. The M&S 2006 Christmas advert was the beginning of food porn. M&S’ elaborate food descriptions also triggered many the parody advert. Because it was not just Christmas food, it was M&S Christmas food.
8. Magical Place – Toys R Us 1995
“There’s a magical place, we’re on our way there, toys in the millions, all under one roof…” If you can still to this day remember the words of Toys R Us’ catchy theme tune, then chances are you grew up in the 90’s. Many the kid dreamt of their yearly trip to the toy superstore in the run up to Xmas, whilst parents lay waiting in dread at the thought of taking their excitable little ones to what was essentially a tantrum waiting to happen. Thankfully, the Toys R Us TV ad captured the magic, not the madness, experienced by visitors to the store.
7. Holidays are coming – Coca Cola 1995
Another golden oldie that has survived the test of time. This year marks the 21st anniversary since those glitzy Coca Cola trucks first hit our screens. You know Christmas is around the corner when you start hearing that “Holidays are coming…” soundtrack.
6. Wish Upon A Star with X Factor Finalists – M&S 2011
Not only is the choice of a Disney classic soundtrack a warming move, but the beautiful rendition of the song by 2011 X Factor finalists was teamed with some heart-felt family moments to really pull at your heart strings. Nicely done, M&S.
5. #YourRules – House of Fraser 2015
It might not scream Christmas to some, but House of Fraser’s 2015 TV advert certainly put them on the map for offering an edgy, fashion-focused Christmas. A killer soundtrack and some often-questionable dance moves are blended together with some vague Xmas references, but strangely it works. And everyone in it, from the break-dancing kids to the suave grandpas, looks pretty badass.
4. Vicar and Imam meet for cup of tea – Amazon Prime 2016
Whether it was intentional or not, the timing of Amazon’s 2016 advert is impeccable. The cheerful advert celebrates tolerance and tackles current social tensions, whilst keeping the tone light as viewers watch the friendship of a Vicar and Imam as they bond over a brew. It’s a bold move for a retailer, but Amazon execute it beautifully.
3. Christmas Truce – Sainsbury’s 2014
The supermarket giant gave John Lewis a run for their money back in 2014 with an emotional tribute to the Christmas truce of WW1. The advert caused controversy for its blatant manipulation of revered history in attempt to flog groceries. Whether you found it emotive or insulting, there’s no denying the ad caused quite a storm for Sainsbury’s.
2. Man on the moon parody – Aldi 2015
Aldi took their famous ‘like brands, only cheaper’ motto to the next level in 2015 when they spoofed John Lewis’ Man on the Moon advert. The fun parody sees the old man receive a different delivery tied with balloons – it’s a nana floating on a sofa. It’s like the John Lewis ad, only better.
1. Monty the Penguin – John Lewis 2014
Whilst there are plenty of Xmas ads from John Lewis that could make it to this list, it’s the story of Monty the Penguin that gets to our number one. A tear-jerking sound track follows the lonely penguin as a little boy helps him find love for Christmas. But just when you think the advert can’t get any cuter, it turns out the penguins aren’t real – the little boy just has a heart of gold and doesn’t want his stuffed toy to be lonely. To make things even better, John Lewis released Monty the penguin toys for purchase in their stores whilst the advert ran, so their customers wouldn’t be lonely at Christmas either. If you were single for Christmas 2014, then you were putty in John Lewis’ hands.