Some of the best Christmas Ads I’ve seen

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Christmas is a great time to drive home the connection between consumers and the brand.  But not everyone can pull it off.  You likely need to have an established love for your brand already or it would come across as lacking authenticity.  Brands here like Coke, Kellogg’s, Budweiser, Tim Horton’s, Canadian Tire and even Target have strong emotional connectivity that they can use at this time of year.   But the boss of Christmas season has to be John Lewis who every year comes out with something huge.  Some get too wrapped up in making sure they sell product at the same time.  That’s a complete turn-off.

John Lewis

The best Christmas ads I’ve ever seen are from John Lewis, the department store in the UK.  They use beautiful music, a movie-like storyline that demonstrates the beauty of gift giving, stretched out over 90 seconds.    No words are needed to tell the story.  They are not loaded with so much branding that they would turn you off before inviting you in.  They tug at the heart and bring a reminder of what the season is all about:  the gift of Giving. 

I think this is the best one in the John Lewis (2011) series so far, with a nice twist at the end.

This is also a great one from 2010

 

And finally, you can see the one from 2009, which really shows that over the 3 years, they’ve been able to create this ownable idea for themselves.

 

But then, this year’s John Lewis Christmas ad is a bit different.  As people have started to watch for the next great John Lewis Christmas ad (myself included), I guess they have to push the creativity, but this isn’t quite what I was hoping for.  A bit too dark for me, a bit disconnected from the John Lewis brand or the series of ads over the past 5 years.  While a nice story, I think it’s a miss.  But the next one is only 11 months away.

 

I may be wrong, so if you love the new John Lewis ad, tell me you love it.

Coke

Coca Cola, the brand who came up with the look of how we see Santa Claus, makes a special ad every Christmas, to recreate the magic of Christmas.  Here’s a few great ones over the years:

From Argentina, here’s a brilliant take on spreading the joy of the season.  It’s a powerful message from a brand that has always owned Christmas.  

 

A very wholesome TV ad by Coke where life takes place in a snow globe.

 

And here’s a cute one…

Budweiser

The Budweiser Clydesdales were first introduced to the public in 1933, to celebrate the repeal of Prohibition.   August A. Busch Jr. presented the hitch as a gift to his father.   And that hitch proceeded to carry the first case of post-Prohibition beer.  Every Christmas you’ll see a team of Clydesdales pulling a case, a great icon of the American beer brand.

 

Not technically a Christmas ad because it air during the Super Bowl, but Clydesdales always make you think of Christmas.  This ad was aired just a few months and will give you goose bumps even a decade later.

Canadian Tire

This is your classic sentimental Christmas ad, talking about family.  It’s done very well by retailer Canadian Tire.   They told a nice story, about the modern family.

Tim Horton’s

This ad will make you cry just a little bit.  A nice touch of reality about being a parent from the old school to the new school.

Kellogg’s

A pretty darn whole ad, but pretty darn cute.  We do need a bit of wholesome serotonin at this time of year.

Target

The Target lady makes me laugh every time.  While everyone else is using kids in a tear-jerking sentimental way, Target uses humor and makes the art of getting the deal the idea.   Perfect fit for their value based positioning.  This Target Lady in red is adorable, representing the cheesiest of shoppers in all of us.

 

 

 

What’s the best Christmas ad you’ve seen?

 

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If you are in the mood to see other great advertising, here’s a few other stories:

 

To see a training presentation on getting better Advertising: 

 

Positioning 2016.112

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Graham Robertson

Graham Robertson is one of the voices of today's brand leaders. As the founder of Beloved Brands, he has been a brand advisor to the NFL Players Association, Shell, Reebok, Acura, Jack Links and Pfizer. He's helped train some of the best marketing teams on strategy, brand positioning, brand plans and advertising. Graham's purpose is to use is marketing experience and provocative style to get marketers to think differently about their brands, and to explore new ways to grow. Graham spent 20 years leading some of the world's most beloved brands at Johnson and Johnson, Coke, General Mills and Pfizer, rising up to VP Marketing. Graham played a significant role in helping win Marketing Magazine's "Marketer of the Year" award. He has won numerous advertising and innovation awards including Businessweek’s best new product award. As a keynote speaker, Graham shares his passion for brands to challenge and inspire marketing minds around the world, whether speaking at Advertising Week, or at the NBA Summer League, or to a room full of marketers in Bangkok Thailand or an agency in New York. He's been a guest writer for Ad Age, and his weekly blog stories have reached millions of marketers, who are trying to improve their skills. His new book, Beloved Brands, has launched with rave reviews. Many brand leaders are using this book as a playbook to help build the brand they work on. And, it serves as a brand management textbook for business schools in the US, Canada and the UK. Graham’s personal promise is to help you solve your brand building challenges, to give you new thinking, so you can unlock future growth for your brand.

4 thoughts on “Some of the best Christmas Ads I’ve seen”

  1. Hello Graham, thank you for your post. Here is my contribution from Spain. Christmas National Lottery is the most famous lottery in my country. Every year, we are waiting for its new ad. Until 2005, the actor Clive Arrindell became a Christmas icon for these campaigns, and he made us dream about hope…Que la suerte te acompañe! (May the luck be with you!).

    http://www.kewego.es/video/iLyROoaftZFc.html

    1. Such a lovely spot….very high production values with a movie quality and highly dramatic. Great to have a contribution from Spain. Thank you for sharing this spot. Merry Christmas from Canada!

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