12 Best Christmas Ads In Recent Years

by | Dec 22, 2020 | Creative

Bringing  joy and laughter is a priority for many retailers and brands when they create heartwarming Christmas ads to promote their brands and add a sparkle to the festive season. 

Christmas ads are all unique, differing in how they’re made and the stories that they tell. But one thing is certain – Christmas ads are a great opportunity for brands to not only wish their audience and customers a Merry Christmas, but to generate brand awareness and leave a lasting impression for seasons to come.

We’ll share some holiday commercials that are filled with the Christmas spirit. We’re sure you’ll not only enjoy them, but also be inspired to spread some Christmas cheer of your own. 

1. Man On The Moon’ John Lewis Christmas Ad 

John Lewis is perhaps the biggest player in the Christmas TV ad game. This British department store sure knows how to run a Christmas campaign, with holiday-inspired ads running every year. 

The 2015 “Man On The Moon” commercial depicts a young girl who spots a lonely elderly gentleman living on the moon through a telescope. She tries her best to somehow reach out and get in contact with the man with no luck for several months. 

The girl is finally able to send a gift to the moon when Christmas Day arrives. The tenacity of the girl’s desire to deliver the gift is extremely touching. The audience empathizes with  the man who lives all by himself on a cold and deserted moon and wants both characters to be happy. 

This Christmas ad tugs on viewers’ heartstrings quite a bit by playing around with the themes of old age, abandonment, and our desire to bring happiness into someone’s life. The whimsical theme and the relatable, albeit tale-like story is both touching and inspiring.

2. 1914 | Sainsbury’s Ad

Sainsbury didn’t spare any expense in their 2014 campaign for the production of one of the most memorable (and controversial) TV advertisements of all time.

This cinematic-level ad portrays a historical event that took place during the First World War. British and German troops came to an unofficial ceasefire on Christmas Eve and on Christmas morning. During the ceasefire, they played soccer, exchanged gifts, and enjoyed a moment of peace and Christmas celebration.

Many jumped to criticize Sainsbury for using war as a basis to get exposure for their brand, which is something companies should keep in mind when choosing a subject for an ad. Nevertheless, this ad has racked up over 20 million + views on YouTube, and for many, is considered one of the best Christmas ads of all time.

3. Waitrose & John Lewis Christmas Ad

Waitrose & John Lewis blessed us this year with a truly heartwarming, animation-filled commercial that is definitely worth checking out if you haven’t done so already. 

What starts out as a simple video quickly turns into an epic story about kindness. Various animation techniques are used in this ad – from stop motion to claymation. It ties together a message about how even a small act of love and kindness can have a big positive impact on the world.

4. Kevin the Carrot in Aldi’s New Christmas Ad

Aldi continued the story of Kevin The Carrot in a wonderful 2020 animation. The minute-and-a-half ad has everything: humor, interesting characters, and a wholesome journey. 

Children and adults both can enjoy this ad and ring in the festive spirit as they watch Kevin trying desperately to arrive home for Christmas alongside a new prickly friend.  

5. Coca-Cola Christmas Ad

We all know that Coca-Cola doesn’t mess around when it comes to Christmas ads, and this year is no exception. In this particular ad, a father tries desperately to get his daughter’s letter to Santa on a long journey. The ad features amazing cinematography and exciting locations that will keep you hanging on the edge of your seat. 

It’s unknown how much money went into the making of this ad, but one thing’s for certain: whatever the cost, it was worth it. The message of this ad is very deep and touching, with the idea of a perfect gift taking a whole new meaning. 

6. Amazon’s “Show Must Go On” Christmas Ad

If you enjoy ballet and know a thing or two about the late Freddie Mercury, then Amazon’s 2020 Christmas ad will do more than just delight you. 

This ad depicts the story of a young girl who is the main star of her school’s ballet production. As the performance draws closer, the show gets canceled because of the COVID pandemic. 

Amazon captured the hardships that we must face and overcome this holiday season. We won’t spoil the ending for you, since we highly recommend everyone to watch this ad. You’ll get teary-eyed by the end of this two-minute clip (there’s no shame in admitting that!). 

7. Apple iPhone Christmas Ad

Christmas is the time for going home and enjoying the company of those who are closest to you. Apple was able to brilliantly capture this idea in 2013 while simultaneously promoting their iPhone creatively.

It’s always a win when a brand or a product’s ad has a deeper meaning besides simply making a sale. With this particular commercial, Apple went above and beyond by creating a relatable story that both inspires us and makes us want to purchase their products. 

It’s an incredible piece of marketing material – the likes of which doesn’t come around too often. Other brands can certainly take notes and try to find inspiration from this Apple ad for a long time to come. 

8. Edeka Christmas Ad

Even though this ad is in German, you won’t need words to understand what is unfolding right in front of you. In this 2015 Edeka (German supermarket corporation) ad, the essence of what really matters this time of the year is shown in a somewhat mischievous way. 

The ad shows an elderly gentleman spending his Christmas all by himself while at the same time showing several other characters who don’t seem to be connected in any ways. Each character receives a letter that looks like an invitation to a memorial service. We see the characters distressed and emotional, packing their bags and heading somewhere. 

We realize all these characters are actually related. They’re children of the elderly man. As they walk into the house, expecting the memorial service of their father to commence, they see a beautiful table set for a Christmas dinner. In a moment their dad walks out, and as his kids and grandkids express shock at seeing him alive, their dad asks his family: “How else would I get you all here?”. 

What makes this ad special is the fact that we too often forget about our parents and grandparents. The father was desperate and lonely, unable to find a different way to get all his kids to gather together, resorting to such drastic measure in the end. Let’s hope our parents and grandparents don’t have to do that. 

9. IKEA | Silence The Critics Christmas Ad

IKEA dropped one of the coolest Christmas rap tracks ever in 2019 with the help of a British grime MC, D Double E, and it’s no Jingle Bells. Christmas is the typical time of year when guests’ impending visit creates extra work for the hosts.

To get the message across for a family to get their house in order, different items around the house become personified and wrap their way through the ordeal. The amount of creativity that went into this commercial leaves us wanting more!

10. Lidl Christmas Ad

If you only have a minute to get a message across while showing off great seasonal prices in your store and you want it all animated, then take your pen and paper out: this ad has just that! 

This year, Lidl amazed us with their short animated ad which will inspire any Christmas dinner preparations. It’s not often that we see companies putting prices into ads because that isn’t always well received. But when it does, you get results that are worth a mention and perhaps a rewatch.

11. McDonald’s Christmas Ad

With technology, video games, and social media distracting so many youngsters today, time spent with family decorating a Christmas tree is too often an afterthought. McDonald’s does a convincing job of providing us with a solution to it all. 

In their 2020 UK ad, McDonald’s tells a story of a young boy and his mom who can’t get across to him no matter how hard she tries. It seems like a lost cause with no common ground until they both settle for some McDonald’s. 

Things begin to straighten out in their relationship once they do. This animated ad touches upon some troubling nuances of today and does a fine job at promoting itself as the remedy.

 12. Argos Book of Dream’s Christmas Ad

If you need to find a way to promote your product in the most rock-n-roll fashion possible, then just take a look at what Argos did last year. 

It doesn’t make sense to list each and every product you have in your inventory. Simply showing one of them can have a greater effect if done correctly. If a kitchen can be turned into a concert stage with you headlining as a front drummer on a children’s drum set, what more can you ask for? 

This commercial leaves you thinking what other great products and toys can be found in the Book of Dreams. Sorry Mr. and  Mrs. Claus, you might have some competition here!

Honorable Mentions

Tesco Christmas Ad 

Tesco came up with this funny and entertaining commercial of a time-traveling delivery man hopping across time in his van and delivering goodies to kids and adults from several different decades.

We all love a good time-travelling story, even in such a short format. We get to see a 90’s rave, housewives of the 60’s, and even the British Queen consuming the Tesco Christmas-themed snacks. This ad is fun, bright, and entertaining, and the snacks look incredibly delicious. 

Marks & Spencer Christmas Ad

If you ever wondered how Mrs. Claus spends her Christmas eve, M&S lets you in on her secret. Watch Mrs. Claus get in on the action and deliver a last-minute present in the sweetest of stories.  

This ad has it all – a James Bond-esque sequence of Mrs. Claus getting ready to deliver presents equipped with high-tech tools and her own helicopter. With beautiful scenery and an exploration of a sweet, yet rambunctious relationship between a boy and his older sister, this ad truly delivers. 

Disney Christmas Ad

This year Disney also blessed us with an amazingly heartwarming story about family, traditions, and growth, with a plush Mickey Mouse as the star of the show.

This ad, done in true Disney fashion, brings all kinds of emotions out of the viewer. Through a series of flashbacks we witness a sweet relationship between an elderly lady and her granddaughter blossom and change over time. 

At the end, the granddaughter surprises her grandma in the sweetest way possible – even though the ad is only three minutes long, it feels like a real movie with a climax and an ending. This ad truly shines in more ways than one with Disney’s attention to detail that they’re for which they’re so well known. 

Campbell’s “Snowman” Ad

This 1993 ad is very 90’s – and in a good way! It begins with a snowman waddling into his house and consuming a hot bowl of Cambell’s soup. While doing so, he slowly turns from a snowman into a boy. We’ve all been there as kids – spending the whole day outside in the snow and then coming home to a hot meal. The ad invokes childhood memories and definitely makes one wish for a bowl of piping hot soup. 

Walkers Crisps Mariah Carey Christmas Ad

The idea of Christmas being the time for sharing gets questioned in Walkers Crisps’ ad that features Mariah Carey and an elf that simply won’t budge. 

How About Creating Your Own Christmas Ad? 

Have you ever wanted to create your own Christmas ad? Or any ad, for that matter? 

For a brand, ads are an intricate and important part of your overall image, and creating an ad campaign that emotionally engages your viewers takes a bit of practice. 

If you have an idea for an ad and are curious in exploring how to make one, don’t hesitate to do so. With the right software, such as Animation Desk or Write-on Video, creating an inspiring ad is a piece of cake. Download Animation Desk on iOS, Android, or Windows to create stunning animated ads, or start your video production with Write-on Video on iOS or Mac

Featured Image by rawpixel.com


Also published on Medium.

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