10 Christmas Adverts from ckwrites 12.20.2014

LaFonda 2

Christmas, Taos Plaza

Christmas often brings out the best in clients and agencies. After all, it’s one of the best known Holidays in the world, and it comes complete with much loved music. With the current content-mad emphasis on storytelling (that’s right no one ever thought of it before,) a look at this years Christmas adverts (spots) seemed particularly appropriate.

To give credit where it’s due – and where the budgets are – no one is as mad for their Christmas adverts as the Brits. The top UK retailers compete ferociously to have the best spot. Here are two that have gone viral on a grand scale.


One of the great stories of World War One is the so-called “Christmas Truce,” which took place across the Western Front in 1914.

In the week leading up to the holiday, German and British soldiers crossed trenches to exchange seasonal greetings and talk. In areas, men from both sides ventured into no man’s land on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to mingle and exchange food and souvenirs. There were joint burial ceremonies and prisoner swaps, while several meetings ended in carol-singing. Men played games of football with one another, giving one of the most enduring images of the truce. Source: Wikipedia

This spot from Sainsbury marks the centennial of this unofficial but very human pause in the fighting. It has been seen by over 15 million viewers.

 John Lewis

Thanks to Graham Robertson at beloved brands, the John Lewis Christmas spot has become one of my Holiday pleasures. If you think that Sainsbury was a heartbreaker, here is a different take through the eyes of a little boy and his buddy, #MontyThePenguin. This one passed 20 million views in 7 weeks.


There are more great spots where these came from. beloved brands asks and answers Who Won This YearThere’s a round-up from The Independent, whilst The Telegraph has some fun with The 12 Clichés of Christmas TV Adverts

Spanish Christmas Lottery

I am putting this one way up here because I want you to watch it. It’s from Leo Burnett Madrid. This is no chump change deal, the ‘El Gordo’ lottery has been running for over 200 years. It has the biggest jackpot in the world – in previous years it reportedly topped $3B. And unlike our local Lottos, the prize is shared among thousands.


This Pepsi ad is by BBDO Vietnam, and while the presence of a golden retriever seems wildly out-of-place, the piece has a simplicity that meets our Western idea of an Eastern aesthetic. Plus, I guarantee that you will not see the tagline coming.

Meanwhile, I am developing a theory that US advertisers and their agencies are mostly focused on SuperBowl XLIX and the bragging rights that will come with a home run February 1st.


Coke is one of those advertisers who have “feel-good” TV spots in their DNA. This year ‘s spot, set to ‘Make Someone Happy‘ by Jimmy Durante is decidedly retro and about as unplugged as you can imagine.


With a million views the first day, Apple has another winner. This spot also uses an old standard as a soundtrack to bring together old and new.


If it’s a little too-too (you know unctuous or smarmy,) you’ll enjoy this delightfully irreverent review in the Guardian.


This spot redefines the concept of the second screen – in fact it was shot live using 74 synchronized screens ranging in size from a 2″ watch to a 65″ plasma to tell the story of a little girl chasing her stocking from screen to screen. (Too bad all that tech wasn’t put to better use.) It will soon have 6 million viewers. There’s a making-of and some production details in the AdWeek story.


One interesting category is Luxury. I don’t know it for a fact but I am happy to hypothesize that Christmas is their most important season.

Mercedes-Benz AMG

For the most part, Mercedes-Benz seems content to run their “Naughty and Nice” spots from years past. But I stumbled across this AMG spot. If you don’t know, AMG is the factory tuning company which uses their genius to build ultra spendy, wicked fast models. The spot seems to have been introduced in 2012, and while I doubt that it’s for real (it’s a lot too tongue in cheek,) boys will be boys and they are always good for a smile.

Chanel No.5

Since Christmas is all about giving and getting what you want, #THEONETHATIWANT definitely belongs here. It is a lush production, made all the more so by the presence of Gisele Bundchen. It has been seen over 8 million times in the past two months. It’s been cut down to a 60 for Christmas – of course you get the original long form here.


For those of you who have not delved into the wonders of single malts, let me introduce Laphroaig; a 10 year old Islay said to be “the most richly flavoured of all Scotch whiskies.” This is not an idle boast – it is so smoky and peaty that one can smell it on your companion long after the wee dram is gone. Put another way, this is a very specific and acquired taste.

The distillery was established in 1815, making this the 200th anniversary which led the marketing wizards in Islay to launch “Opinions Welcome.” The write-in campaign was such a success that it became copy for both print and television. For instance Kim Jeffers said “It’s like being kicked in the face by a horse that’s been galloping in a peaty bog.”

For Christmas, Laphroaig and their agency set some opinions to traditional carols. Another AdWeek story, you can read more about the whole thing here.

That’s it for 2014. Look for the next issue of The Jolt! on January 10th, 2015. It makes a great stocking stuffer, so please forward it to someone you love.

I’d like to thank each of you for reading, sharing and commenting. I wish you and yours the happiest of Holiday seasons and a great New Year.