snowman irn bru christmas

I’m a Shameless Sucker for Brand Christmas TV Ads

I LOVE Christmas TV ads. I don’t mind that the Santa we know today was shaped, in part, by Coca Cola. Yes, I get that Coca Cola is a big brand rotting people’s teeth and cashing in on Chrimbo, but their big trucks with a jolly Santa on the back driving slowly over a snow covered landscape in the ad break of Coronation Street makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. I wait for them eagerly every single year. Side note: anyone know when this year’s is due to air? This one right here gives me the festive fuzzies every single time I see it:

I am a sucker for Christmas. And I’m a sucker for the Christmas TV ads released by brands that I am, at best, indifferent to for the rest of the year.

John Lewis Christmas Ad 2011

I don’t shop at John Lewis regularly. In fact, I can’t recall ever buying a single Christmas present from John Lewis in my life. But their 2011 Christmas TV ad brought a tear to my eye. Really.

And as good as 2012’s and 2013’s offerings both were, they just couldn’t match up to this one for me. I’m not just some one-in-a-gazillion extreme ad fan sitting in a room alone waiting for these ads either. There are hundreds of is. Google data suggests that, in November last year, 12,100 people searched for “John Lewis Christmas ad.” That eclipsed the searches in the same month for “Coca Cola Christmas ad,” (a paltry 260).

Lidl Christmas 2013

And it’s not just something cute and a sweet story that wins for me. Last year I found myself getting the festive fuzzies from the Lidl ad. Yes, the Lidl ad. It featured a cover of a song I hate and just a load of Christmas food. To this day, with that in mind, I still can’t figure out why I liked it so much. But I did.

Andrex Christmas Ad 1992

Lidl’s a bit of exception for me in the sense that there wasn’t much cute or “aaaah-able” about it. But if it’s cute you want, the 1992 Andrex ad was brilliant. A great Christmas classic song, a really cute puppy playing in the snow and, erm… well, toilet roll. What more could you want at Christmas.


(Ad ends at 34 seconds)

Irn Bru Snowman Christmas Ad (2006, I think)

This was, arguably, a bit of a risky move by Irn Bru. Take a film and a song loved by millions. Not just loved by millions, but in fact a film that epitomises Christmas for millions. Take that film and that song and then throw your brand all over it. Oh, and then basically change a lovely festive story into a tale of a snowman viciously attacking a little boy who wouldn’t hand over his Irn Bru. A risky move? Yes, maybe. But I loved it.

A particular highlight for me is this bit of lyrical genius:

“We’re walking in the air. I’m sipping on an Irn Bru. My chilly snowman mate says he would like one too.”

Sainsbury’s Christmas Ad 2013

This was so much simpler in form than so many others. The supermarket adopted an “over to you” approach. Taking videos shot by families the Christmas before, Sainsbury’s gave us all an little peek into Christmas in other households, from the eccentric to the fun, the videos were varied. This was a simple idea really. No fancy storyline development, no fancy graphics. But it was so relatable. Many of the videos show a day that many of us will be familiar with. But then there’s also the sweet story of the children surprised by their Father’s return (starting at 2:38).

A simply concept incredibly well executed.

If you have a bit more time on your hands, check out the full 50 minute documentary – “Christmas in a Day.” (brought to you by the same guy who did “Life in a Day.”).

Christmas Ads – My Guilty Please…

…and I’m not even ashamed. Yes, you could argue that the Christmas advertising landscape is basically just a p***ing contest between retailers about who can get the most mentions of their ad on social media or in the news. But so what? It’s a masterclass in concise storytelling (sometimes, anyway). And it gets me in the mood in the mince pie and a Tia Maria coffee. So go forth and indulge. The big brand Christmas ads should be airing any day now 🙂