It’s the first week of December, and yet it feels like we’ve been watching holiday ads since Labor Day. The fear of succumbing to yuletide fatigue is very real, and we feel your pain. Be forewarned, though, there are two holiday commercials in this week’s list but rest assured they both diverge significantly from the norm. I won’t spoil it here, but let’s just say one involves Nick Offerman drinking whisky and staring into your eyes for 45 minutes, and the other one is German. Onward!
What: A four-year-old girl remotely drives a Volvo truck through an obstacle course to prove just how tough the vehicle is.
Who: Volvo Trucks, Forsman & Bodenfors
Why We Care: Obviously it would take a miracle to top Jean-Claude Van Damme’s Epic Split, the last entry in the Live Test campaign. But taking a preschooler’s penchant for roughly playing with toys into the real world is still pretty inspired.
What: LeBron James answers online skeptics who doubt he really drives a Kia.
Who: Kia, David&Goliath
Why We Care: There’s always been a little doubt when it comes to certain celebrity endorsements. Did Taylor Swift use Covergirl? Does Jennifer Aniston actually drink Smartwater? And despite all the millions, does LeBron James really drive a Kia? This ad uses a real fan tweet to have some fun at the state of celebrity endorsements in the social age, all while making the brand look self-aware and confident. David&Goliath managing partner and chief creative officer Colin Jeffery says it makes perfect sense that people would question whether or not a superstar like LeBron would actually drive a Kia in real life. “The truth is he does, and people are big fans of the truth,” says Jeffery. “So instead of avoiding the issue we took doubt head on. The objective was not to prove that LeBron doesn’t drive any other car, of course he does. We simply wanted to prove that he does indeed drive a Kia K900.”
What: An elderly man goes to great lengths to get his family home for Christmas.
Who: Edeka, Jung von Matt
Why We Care: In just a week, this spot has hit more than 27 million views which is almost reason enough to be on the list. The supermarket chain also also differentiates itself from its feel-good brethren by going a bit dark. But it’s also how it plays on two different emotions, the one that makes you want to call your parents after it’s over, and the one that salutes the old man’s cajones to pull off such an elaborate prank.
What: A 45-minute holiday journey to the center of your soul via the flicker of flames and the unwavering power of Offerman’s silent stare.
Why We Care: Shhhhhhhh.
What: Portlandia‘s Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein are banished to the kids table at a holiday party because of their inadequate fashion choices.
Who: Old Navy, Chandelier Creative
Why We Care: Sure, it’s still an Old Navy ad but it also uses Armisen and Brownstein’s brilliant Portlandia personas perfectly. It’s just too bad they didn’t bring anything pickled to the party.