The 15 best Christmas ads of all time

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Christmas is a great time to drive home the connection between consumers and the brand. Get your consumer into an emotional state; hopefully, those emotions will pay back to your 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. If you want to get into the holiday spirit, here are the best Christmas ads I have seen from all over the world. We include ads from the UK, Ireland, Australia, Poland, Spain, France, Canada and the US.  What do you think are the best Xmas ads? Feel free to add your favorite Christmas ads to our mix.

You will see a few common themes, such as kids surprising us by showing they understand Christmas is more than gifts or trying to do things for our parents or grandparents. I have added a few that stand out because they run completely counter to these themes.

best Christmas ads, John Lewis Christmas Ads, Xmas Ads

The best ad of 2023 (so far)

This is the best holiday ad I’ve seen this year.

Warning: you might cry.

For those of us who have parents losing their memories, this is precisely how it feels.

My mom is 88 and struggles to remember things from an hour ago. Yet, we go on drives; she loves the birds, the trees, the waterfront, and all the people. When I feed her information, it can trigger some memories. Or not. It comes and goes. It’s the biggest test of my patience I have ever experienced. (And I’ve raised two teenagers, Lol)

I hope those going something like this can find a few tears in this ad. Crying is likely good for us. We all go through the same feelings. Have a look:

John Lewis from the UK

🎄 As we gear up for the holiday season, I’m reminded of the iconic 2011 John Lewis Christmas ad. Renowned for their heartfelt and cinematic advertisements, John Lewis outdid themselves with this one. The ad, featuring no dialogue but a moving soundtrack, unfolds a touching story over 90 seconds, capturing the true spirit of Christmas – the joy of giving.

 

🎁 Why This Ad Remains Unforgettable:

Storytelling Excellence: The ad’s movie-like narrative, told without words, showcases the power of visual storytelling in capturing emotions.

Emotional Connection: It beautifully illustrates the anticipation of gift-giving, especially from a child’s perspective, tugging at the heartstrings with its twist ending.

Brand Message: John Lewis successfully reinforces its brand ethos centered around thoughtfulness, quality, and the true meaning of Christmas.

 

🔍 Key Takeaways for Marketers:

  • The Art of Subtlety: This ad demonstrates how subtle storytelling can be more impactful than overt advertising messages.
  • Emotive Branding: Connecting with audiences on an emotional level can forge deeper brand relationships.
  • Simplicity and Elegance: The elegance of the ad lies in its simplicity, proving that sometimes less is more in creating a lasting impression.

If you are a fan of John Lewis Christmas ads, click on this link to see every John Lewis Christmas ad since 2009: John Lewis

Coke Argentina

Coca-Cola, the brand that came up with the look of how we see Santa Claus, creates a beautiful Christmas ad. From Argentina, here’s a brilliant take on spreading the joy of the season.   

Allegro in Poland

This Christmas ad has great storytelling from Allegro, a Polish website. The ending is very heart-warming. Millions of views so far, lots of tears for sure.

Anuncio Lotería from Spain

🎄 As we embrace the holiday season, I’m drawn back to the heartwarming Anuncio Lotería de Navidad 2016 from Spain. This ad captures the essence of hope, family, and community spirit, telling the story of a grandmother who mistakenly believes she’s won the lottery with a number from the past year. The ad’s beauty lies in how her family and the village share her joy.

 

🎫 Ad Highlights:

Heartfelt Storytelling: The ad tells a touching story that resonates with everyone who dreams and hopes, especially around Christmas.

Family and Community: It beautifully portrays the support and love of family and community, rallying around the grandmother’s innocent beliefs.

Cultural Significance: The ad underscores the cultural importance of the Christmas lottery in Spain, a tradition that unites people in anticipation and celebration.

 

 

🔍 Marketing Insights:

  • Emotional Connection: Creating an emotional narrative can profoundly impact the audience, making the brand more memorable and endearing.
  • Cultural Resonance: Ads that tap into cultural traditions and values can strengthen the connection between the brand and its audience.
  • The Power of Simplicity: The ad’s simple yet powerful storyline demonstrates that sometimes, less is more in creating an impactful message.

Marks and Spencer from the UK

Marks and Spencer likely won the UK retailer contest of 2016. This Christmas ad does a nice job in telling the story of Mrs. Claus. While very modern, it still brings a lot of traditional touches of Christmas.

Air Canada

One of the best Christmas ads from 2019. It’s a very simple idea, but it’s a nice production. The main kid actor delivers the magic, and it is even more challenging to do it through visuals, as this Xmas ad must work in English and French. 

Sainsbury's from the UK

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of World War 1, Sainsbury’s created this very high-production “Christmas is for Sharing,” set in the context of the 1914 Christmas Truce during World War I. 

This ad, commemorating the centenary of the truce, beautifully captures the spirit of humanity, peace, and shared moments.

🕊️ Why This Ad Resonates:

Historical Significance: By revisiting a poignant moment in history, the ad connects deeply with our collective memory and emotions.

Universal Message: The theme of enemies finding common ground and sharing a moment of peace is a powerful narrative that transcends time and geography.

Brand Connection: Sainsbury’s subtly integrates its brand into the narrative, aligning its values with peace, unity, and the joy of sharing – key tenets of the holiday spirit.

 

🔍 Marketing Insights:

  • Leveraging History: Using historical events can create a strong emotional connection, but it requires a delicate balance to remain respectful and relevant.
  • Emotional Storytelling: Ads that tell a story and evoke emotions can have a lasting impact and elevate brand perception.
  • Purpose Beyond Product: This ad emphasizes the brand’s values and commitment to community and togetherness, which can be more impactful than focusing on products alone.

Mulberry in the UK

It’s not one of your normal Xmas ads, but I love the creative idea behind this ad: WIN CHRISTMAS. So what beats a beautiful portrait, a puppy that waves, or a unicorn? A new bag from Mulberry!!!  

Burberry in the UK

🎄 As we delve into the festive season, I’m drawn to Burberry’s evocative Christmas ad, a cinematic portrayal of its founder, Thomas Burberry. This ad brilliantly blurs the lines between reality and fiction, presenting him as an extraordinarily passionate inventor and entrepreneur, almost reminiscent of ‘the most interesting man in the world’.

🧥 Ad Highlights:

Creative Storytelling: The ad takes creative liberties to dramatize Burberry’s life, capturing his relentless pursuit of innovation in fashion.

Emotional Engagement: By focusing on Burberry’s passion and purpose, the ad deeply resonates with viewers, emphasizing the human spirit behind the brand.

Brand Legacy: This narrative reinforces Burberry’s long-standing heritage and dedication to quality, positioning it as more than just a fashion label, but a symbol of pioneering spirit.

 

 

🔍 Insights for Brands:

  • Elevating Brand Narratives: Creating a compelling, almost mythical, narrative around the brand’s founder can profoundly impact brand perception and loyalty.
  • The Power of Emotion: Connecting with audiences on an emotional level can be more impactful than traditional product-focused advertising.
  • Blending Fact and Fiction: Striking the right balance between historical facts and creative storytelling can create a captivating and memorable ad campaign.

Apple iPhone from the US

Titled “Misunderstood,” the ad tells the story of a teen seemingly absorbed in his iPhone during family Christmas gatherings.

The twist? He’s been capturing precious family moments all along, unveiling them through a heartwarming video at the end.

📱 𝗪𝗵𝘆 𝗜𝘁 𝗦𝘁𝗮𝗻𝗱𝘀 𝗢𝘂𝘁:

𝗘𝗺𝗼𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻: Apple tapped into the universal themes of family, holidays, and the magic of shared memories. It wasn’t about the iPhone’s features, but how it could capture and enhance our most treasured experiences.

𝗡𝗮𝗿𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗦𝘁𝗼𝗿𝘆𝘁𝗲𝗹𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗴: The ad’s narrative format, with a compelling twist, made it memorable. It showed, rather than told, the iPhone’s role in our lives.

𝗕𝗿𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗣𝗲𝗿𝗰𝗲𝗽𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻: This ad reinforced Apple’s brand as not just a technology provider but as an integral part of our personal and emotional lives.

 

 

🔍 𝗟𝗲𝘀𝘀𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗠𝗮𝗿𝗸𝗲𝘁𝗲𝗿𝘀:

  • 𝗙𝗼𝗰𝘂𝘀 𝗼𝗻 𝗘𝗺𝗼𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻: Products are not just tools; they’re part of our stories. Effective ads tap into emotions, not just functionalities.
  • 𝗡𝗮𝗿𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗣𝗼𝘄𝗲𝗿: A good story can transcend the product itself, creating a lasting brand image.
  • 𝗨𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗿𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗔𝘂𝗱𝗶𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲: Apple knew its audience valued connection and memories, tailoring the message accordingly.

Aldi in Australia

What would happen if Santa crash-landed in the Australian outback? Nice Xmas ad.

Bouygues Telecom from France

🎄 As we enter the festive season, I’m reminded of Bouygues Telecom’s delightful Christmas ad from France, a beautiful blend of joy, nostalgia, and emotional connection. The ad features a father’s quirky dance, a charming ritual that begins when his son is a baby and continues as the son grows up, culminating in the son repeating the same dance with his newborn.

🕺 Why This Ad Captures Hearts:

Continuity of Tradition: The ad beautifully illustrates the passing down of a simple yet meaningful family tradition, highlighting the bond between generations.

Emotional Depth: The portrayal of the father-son relationship evolving over time, set against the backdrop of a cheerful song, strikes a perfect chord between joy and sentimentality.

Universal Appeal: The ad’s theme of family, love, and tradition is universally relatable, transcending cultural and linguistic barriers.

 

 

🔍 Key Takeaways for Marketers:

  • Storytelling with Heart: Ads that tell a story with genuine emotional depth can create a lasting impact and foster a deep connection with the audience.
  • Simplicity is Key: Sometimes, a simple, relatable concept can be more effective than complex narratives or high-tech visuals.
  • Celebrating Human Connections: Highlighting human relationships and emotions can be a powerful way to resonate with viewers, making the brand more approachable and relatable.

Currys from the UK

Like the Mulberry ad, this dry-humour Xmas ad with Jeff Goldblum stands out. 

Supervalu in Ireland

From 2020, playing gently on the coronavirus issues, this Christmas ad has a very cute payoff at the end. 

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The Creative Brief defines the box.

At Beloved Brands, we believe the best creative people are in-the-box problem solvers, not out-of-the box inventors. This builds on our Strategic ThinkBox we used in our planning process. The box below demonstrates how we need creative work that is focused on the target, fits with the brand, delivers the message, and executes the strategy. 

As marketers, we kick off the advertising process using a Creative Brief to define the box the creative advertising must play in. The execution align with the brand positioning work and deliver the brand strategy statements you wrote in your marketing planMoreover, we show examples of the good and bad of the Creative Brief. And, we introduce our Mini Brief for smaller projects and the Media Brief as part of media decisions. We have a Creative Brief template you can use. 

As marketers, we kick off the advertising process using a Creative Brief to define the box the creative advertising must play in. The execution align with the brand positioning work and deliver the brand strategy statements you wrote in your marketing planMoreover, we show examples of the good and bad of the Creative Brief. And, we introduce our Mini Brief for smaller projects and the Media Brief as part of media decisions. We have a Creative Brief template you can use. 

Use our Creative Checklist to determine if the creative work is in the box.

Then, we introduce a Creative Checklist that is designed to help you make advertising decisions. When you see the creative marketing execution come back from your experts, use our creative checklist to make decisions. Next, use your feedback to your marketing experts to steer the ideas back in-the-box. Importantly, the Creative Checklist highlights the gaps you see. Your role is to provide your problems with the work, while avoiding providing a solution. Let your creative marketing execution experts use their in-the-box creativity to figure out new solutions that will fit the box. 

To illustrate, click to review how our Creative Checklist helps decide if the creative advertising fits the box..

Use our ABC's of Advertising: Attention, brand link, communication stickiness

Here are four questions to ask:

  • First, is it the creative idea that earns the consumer’s attention for the ad?
  • Then, is the creative idea helping to drive maximum brand link?
  • Next, is the creative idea setting up the communication of the main consumer benefit?
  • And, is the creative idea memorable enough to stick in the consumer’s mind and move them to purchase?

To illustrate, click on the ABC’s of advertising to see details.

Get comfortable with various advertising techniques.

Learn how to be better at advertising. Explore other advertising ideas such as emotional advertisinghumorous ads, feel-good ads, and ads that bring consumer insights to lifeMoreover, read how to conduct your own marketing research, social media plans, or using influencers.  

Video on how to use in-the-box creativity

Have a look at our video on how to use in-the-box creativity to ensure our marketing execution stays on strategy. We introduce how our Creative Brief defines the box the work must play in. And, our Creative Checklist to allow you to decide if the marketing execution delivers. 

To read more, click on this link: How to use in-the-box creativity. 

To view, use the ▶️ controls to play our brand strategy video. 

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