Dec 17, 2020

The best and worst holiday ads over the years

Every year around the world, once November rolls around, so too do the seasonal holiday ads. Ranging from the heartwarming, to the corny and downright bizarre, brands, companies and organisations jump on the Christmas advertising bandwagon every year. 

Inspired by one of our favourite ads to come out this year, we’ve found some of the best and the worst holiday ads that have been released around the world over the years. 

The Best

  • Doc Morris, 2020

Starting off strong, we’ve got what some have called one of the best Christmas ads ever. The Doc Morris ad, produced by German agency Jung von Matt, follows the fitness journey of an older man, lifting weights in his backyard and shed as the winter weather draws in. With a tear-jerking ending, this is one of the best 2 minutes and 55 seconds of Christmas advertising you’ll watch this year 

  • John Lewis, 2011

John Lewis Christmas ads have become a bit of a cultural touchstone in the UK, and this one brought a surprising little tear to our eye. Conjuring a feeling no doubt many of us have felt before – that agonising wait in the lead up to December 25th – this heartwarming ad encapsulates the meaning of Christmas.

  • Allegro, 2016

This one comes with a small language warning, but it’s all in good fun. A Polish e-commerce website created this lovely ad in 2016, featuring an older man learning English for beginners in the lead up to Christmas. With post-it notes all around his house, odd looks on public transport and speaking to his rubber ducky in the bath, the touching conclusion of this ad will warm the heart of all who see it.

  • Edeka, 2015

This one takes a harsher angle on the traditional Christmas ad. German supermarket Edeka tells the story of an older man living alone at Christmas. His family are located all around the world, but can’t spend the holidays with him. After an unfortunate turn of events, the ad, titled Heimkommen (Homecoming), delivers an important message of togetherness. 

  • Aldi Australia, 2019

I’ll admit this one almost made it onto the worst list. But as Aldi has become known for its mind-bending ads in Australia, the message of Christmas miracles and bringing communities together, along with on-brand quirkiness, means it just scrapes through to the best list. 

The Worst

  • Iceland, 2008

This ad by UK supermarket chain Iceland, brings together corny rewrites of Christmas carols and Australia’s Jason Donovan, a popular figure in the UK for his time on Neighbours and his romantic relationship with Kylie. This cringey little ditty, including a line sung about salami, makes it onto the worst list for the corn factor alone.

  • Walmart, 2011

There isn’t much to say about this ad really. From the disconcerting human mouth on the cat, to with the disinterested look in the cat’s eyes and the yodeling that goes for way too long, this ad proves  putting a cat in a Christmas ad won’t always make it any better. 

  • KFC, 2013

This KFC ad from 2013 combines some of the aspects of the first two in a cringey carol explosion. Not only do we have to sit through a corny Christmas-themed song about eating KFC at Christmas, it goes on for way too long.

  • McDonald’s, early-80s

Scrolling through the comments below this video, there are plenty who talk about the nostalgia of this ad, watching it as children after school and loving seeing it again. But we can’t help but feel disconcerted by the idea of Ronald McDonald, the clown, ice skating alone in the dark before commandeering some children’s skate trip.

  • Kmart US, 2013

Despite making it onto the worst list, this one did make us chuckle. The idea of Kmart US choosing to feature a group of male models using their hips to play jingle bells just feels strange for a holiday message. But I suppose the holidays are about bringing joy to the world, no matter how you do it. 

Let us know some of your favourite (and least favourite) Christmas ads in the comments. 

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