The festivities have started, the mince pies are out, we're still working hard here at LRD with the final push before the New Year, but Christmas is a great time for advertising, so we've come up with our top six most memorable ads selection.
1. Spectacular Woolworths’ Christmas - 1983
Just for the nostalgia value alone I’ve chosen this ad. If you’re pushing into your mid forties (like me) who doesn’t remember rocking down to Woolworths as a kid to do your Christmas shopping - it was the one stop shop - you could buy everything you needed plus because it was so cheap there was a little left over for that essential bag of pick ’n’ mix. There’s a flood of memories watching this ad - cassette tapes, Geoff Capes, Eric Bristow, Speak and Spell, Video recorders, Daley Thompson…this ad has it all! RIP Woolworths, Christmas has never been the same without you.
2. Coca Cola - The Holidays are Coming - 1995
Coca-Cola’s trucks have featured in their Christmas ads since I was five years old and so the accompanying ‘Holidays are coming’ jingle has long been engrained in my mind as marking the start of the festive period. Hearing the first few bells sets off waves of anticipation and excitement that over the years no other brand has managed to replicate. The fact that the Christmas trucks will be visiting 44 UK locations this year, just so people can have their pictures taken next to them, it is a resounding nod to the value such a classic ad still brings to the brand 21 years later!
3. Oxo - My Family Christmas - 1984
I grew up with the Oxo cube. So wedded to the product was my dear mum, that given the chance to extend the farmhouse kitchen she would have built it out of Oxo cubes.
Spot the seismic social changes since this advert adorned low definition screens of the eighties. Not too many Alisons under 10 years of age or pullovers for that matter.
And “Everybody had the most wonderful Christmas ever.” Seriously? Even mum? Thank goodness for the magic of Oxo. You might have spotted that although chained to the oven she appears to quaff a glass of the phenomenon of recent years - pink Prosecco. Ahead of her time really.
4. Sainsburys - Christmas is for Sharing - 2014
I think we all shed a tear when we watched this one. Shot 100 years after Christmas 1914, this ad is a recreation of one of the most famous moments in the First World War. Sainsbury’s worked closely with The Royal British Legion to ensure its historical accuracy. Also, the chocolate bar featured was available in-store and funds raised went back to the charity. This ad is a cinematic experience that lasts over 3 minutes. It takes on the likes of John Lewis when it comes to highly emotive Christmas advertising that pulls on the heartstrings of consumers. It also follows the public’s passionate response to the exhibition of thousands of ceramic poppies at Tower of London to commemorate 100 years since the start of the First World War. I love this ad because it becomes more than just about simply selling food and drink. The big idea at the heart of it is about sharing a memorable Christmas between family and friends. Thank you Sainsbury’s for showing us that the spirit of Christmas can be kept alive wherever you are.
4. Toys 'R' Us UK - Magical Place
Toys ‘R’ Us really was a magical place when I was growing up and this advert especially holds childhood memories of visiting my family in Gloucester at Christmas time. The music brings back memories of entering the Toys ‘R’ Us store with my cousins - being let loose round the aisles to wander and explore all ‘millions’ of toys (great way of keeping the children busy whilst the parents get the rest of the Christmas shopping done, but not so great when your cousins decide to take the mini cars and drive them round the store!)
We used to have so much fun searching for that one present that made it on to our letter to Santa.
I have to congratulate the makers of the ad too - whether you consider it great or just down right annoying, you can’t help but singing along... It’s called Toys ‘R’ Us!
6. John Lewis - The Long Wait - 2011
A respected department store wins the hearts of middle-England.
So good, I used it as a study piece when working towards the IPA Foundation Certificate when I entered the industry.
I love the clever use of a soundtrack that is a re-engineered version of a song that is released to the music market at the same time. Every radio play thereafter becomes John Lewis revisited.
Beautifully scripted, we’re all suckered into believing that this should-be innocent child is simply taking impatience to a new level. But I love his endeavours to speed up time using magician’s tricks. And then the stunning deception. ON Christmas morning he scoots passed his own unwrapped gifts to be… the giver. Sublime.