My All-Time Favourite Christmas Ads from Across the World
Christmas ads in the UK are our closest equivalent to the Super Bowl in the US and one of the few times in the year where creativity in advertising crosses over into mainstream media and is properly discussed. This is a trend that was largely kick-started by John Lewis' 'The Long Wait' campaign in 2011. This iconic spot firmly embedded itself in the UK’s cultural landscape and helped establish the idea that the launch of major brands' Christmas campaigns is a significant event. As all the major players’ Christmas ads have now hit our screens, we’ve picked out some of our favourite spots from across the world that have crossed over into public consciousness.
ALDI - “Aussie Christmas” (BMF, Australia 2014)
ALDI's Australian Christmas campaigns have long established themselves as a major player in festive advertising. While the UK’s John Lewis campaigns tend to pull on the heartstrings, Aldi’s Aussie offerings aim straight for the funny bone. Gary Freedman’s 2014 spot sees a Nordic traveller returning home with Australian Christmas traditions with hilarious consequences and a suitably quirky and charming score.
Allegro - “Angielski” (Bardzo, Poland 2016)
This charming advert for a Polish auction website went viral in 2016 and now has over 15 million views on YouTube. It perfectly balances humour and sentimentality and features an original score that gradually shifts into a version of Silent Night to great effect.
Spanish Lottery - “Justino” (Leo Burnett Iberia, Spain 2015)
It’s easy to see why this beautifully animated Spanish campaign cleaned up at various award shows following its launch in 2015. It combines Pixar-esque visuals with a heartwarming story that follows an elderly security guard from isolation to Christmas companionship and features a suitably emotional Einaudi piano piece.
Irn Bru - “Snowman” (The Leith Agency, Scotland 2006)
A very different approach to an animated ad and one of our favourite Christmas spots ever! This inspired parody faithfully recreates many aspects of one of the UK’s most iconic Christmas films of all time, Raymond Briggs’ 'The Snowman'. It matches the animation style and famous score but adds a healthy dose of Scottish humour.
ORANGE - “The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” (Publicis Conseil, France 2018)
This brilliant French spot from last year takes the famous song about all of the joys of Christmas and pairs it with images that convey some of the more stressful realities of the festive season. This one’s for all of you Grinches and Scrooges out there!
MasterCard - “Arrivals” (McCann Erickson, UK 2008)
This UK spot directed by Simon Ratigan hits the most universal of Christmas themes - coming together with loved ones. There isn’t a snowflake in sight but this natural and humanistic approach nails the idea of festive spirit and Woodwork Music worked with editor Ben Stephens to find the perfect track (Findlay Brown’s “Come Home”) to convey the emotion of the film.
Andy Oskwarek is creative director at Woodwork Music