Here at Ellen Jackson Videography we love nothing better than a video which tells a compelling story, tugs on the heart strings and provokes a reaction in the viewer. In essence, one which successfully engages with its target audience. Guess what kind of video ticks all three boxes? Christmas TV adverts, that’s what!
And as the time of year is upon us in which it’s hard to avoid those festive ads, we thought we’d take the chance to round up our favourite ever yuletide promos. Make sure you’ve got the tissues handy though, because some of these ads come with a serious mascara warning!
- Back in 1992, Quality Street hit gold with their iconic ‘Magic Moments’ ad. The sight of that no-nonsense lollipop lady who has her heart melted by a little boy with a box of Quality Streets still brings a tear to our eye! And of course that catchy Burt Bacharach track ‘Magic Moments’ had us whistling away right up to the big day!
- The 2011 ad ‘The Long Wait’ set the trend for festive ads which pull on your heart strings harder than grandma with her Christmas cracker! This classic John Lewis ad tells the story of a boy desperately waiting for Christmas Day to arrive. The killer twist comes when we find out he wasn’t in a rush to receive his own presents – but to give his parents a surprise gift. Bless him. We’re coming over all peculiar just thinking about it!
- We loved last year’s Marks and Spencer ‘Mrs Clause’ ad so much it was a real contender for our No 1 spot (see below to find out who landed that one). The 2016 M&S ad introduces us to the power behind the throne – the glamorous Mrs Claus who saves the day by helicoptering a last minute present to a little boy trying to make amends with his sister. The humour in this ad is thoroughly engaging and the message of a woman taking control of the important stuff in life isn’t lost on us either!
- And who could forget Kevin the Carrot, Aldi’s charming little orange mascot who we first met last year in their simply brilliant Christmas ad? After clambering across a table heavily laden with Christmas goodies, Kevin lies down for a nap next to Santa’s mince pie only to find himself scooped up by the man in the red himself! Kevin ends up dangling from Rudolf’s antlers, acting as a literal ‘carrot’ to encourage the reindeers on their way. As Santa and his sleigh race across the sky, Jim Broadbent’s dulcet tones deliver the final line: ‘Powered on by a carrot who liked to believe.’ Magical stuff!
- They say never work with children and animals, but this clearly doesn’t apply to Christmas ads because the best ones include one if not both of these tricky elements! You’d have to have a heart made of stone not to smile at the ‘Monty the penguin’ ad created for John Lewis in 2014. A tousle-haired little boy and his pet penguin are inseparable. Whether it’s a trip to the park or ride on the bus, the pair go everywhere together. But when the boy senses there’s something missing, his gift for his penguin pal on Christmas Day is a real tear jerker – a female penguin called Mabel who pops out of the gift box with a flourish!
- There are even more animals featured in the 2016 John Lewis ad which sees Buster the boxer watch enviously as a series of woodland creatures try out his family’s brand new trampoline. His owner, a little girl in a fluffy pink dressing gown, races into the garden on Christmas morning to try out her surprise gift only to be beaten to it by Buster who bounces gleefully to the soundtrack of ‘One Day I’ll Fly Away’! Humorous and touching. A winning combination.
- This year’s animal offering came in the form of a bear from darkest Peru who just happened to be helping promote Marks and Spencer. Paddington’s charm offensive reaches new heights when he mistakes a burglar for Santa and helps him return all the gifts he’s swiped! Paddington soon wins the burglar round and even presents him with a marmalade sandwich to send him on his way for Christmas. Love that bear!
- Mess with The Snowman? It seemed like Irn Bru were moving into dangerous territory in 2007 when they embarked on a remake of Raymond Briggs’ classic tale. But they ended up with a massive hit on their hands with this cheeky retelling of everyone’s favourite Christmas animation. A small Scottish boy sips from a can of Irn Bru has he ‘walks in the air’, hand in hand with The Snowman. But when the boy refuses to share his drink, The Snowman nicks the can, lets go of his hand and the boy plops unceremoniously into a snowdrift! Humour and nostalgia. It certainly works for us.
- John Lewis turned to animation with their beautiful ‘The Bear and the Hare’ ad in Set to Lily Allen’s cover of the Keane classic ‘Somewhere only we know’, this gentle ad tells the story of a hare who encourages a bear to wake from his hibernation to enjoy a wonderful woodland Christmas. This gently moving tale ends with the tagline: ‘Give someone a Christmas they’ll never forget’. It’s timeless and somehow seems non-commercial. Quite an achievement from a Christmas advert!
- Sainsburys came up with a cracking animated ad in 2016 which saw a hapless, hardworking dad struggling to fit everything in in the run up to Christmas. In this charming stop frame animation featuring vocals from James Corden, the dad realises that the answer is to his problem is to clone himself! Hence the tagline ‘The greatest gift I can give is me’. The song is super catchy and the message is so sweet we never tire of watching this one.
And the winner is…
As for our favourite ever Christmas ad? It has to be John Lewis’ 2012 gem, ‘The Journey’. This timeless ad tells the touching story of a snowman going to great lengths to get the perfect gift for his snowy loved one. He journeys across mountains and rivers, returning with a red hat, scarf and gloves for Mrs Snowman – all from John Lewis, of course! It’s set to Gabrielle Alpin’s version of Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s ‘The Power of Love’. The storytelling is spot on and we love the simple message that no journey is ever too long or too arduous to get the right gift for that special person in your life. What better way to herald Christmas than with a message of love?
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