Ahhh, the holidays. It’s the time of year families get together to eat, drink, and be merry. Except this year. As the flaming dumpster of 2020 nears its the end, much of the world’s holiday season will be exactly as pandemic-y as the rest of the year has been. And while that silver lining might be you don’t have to listen to That Uncle drone on about election fraud in person, it also means you’ve already spent so, so, so, so much time with the family that does live under your roof. Point is, you may need a break, and it’s not even Christmas yet.
Considering so many of our impressions of Christmas culture comes from the seasonal hype provided by marketers over the past century (looking at you, Coke Santa . . . ), where better to turn for a refueling of the holiday spirit than advertising? Here are seven commercials that’ll do the trick, or at least give you a deserved distraction as you tuck away in the bathroom or closet or attic for a few minutes of precious, precious me time. Plus, they’re all significantly shorter than Miracle on 34th Street and It’s a Wonderful Life.
Amazon “The show must go on”
Created by agency Lucky Generals, it’s a classic Christmas ad in many ways—the holiday concert, the coming together of neighbors. What’s different is how the spot manages to pull all this off while still acknowledging the many ways the pandemic has impacted our lives. Like many of the best holiday spots year in and year out, this one’s from the United Kingdom, where Christmas advertising is basically the Super Bowl. This ad certainly feels like it.
Greenies “Holiday Snowman”
One of the funnier Christmas ads comes from a dog treat brand, of all things. Never has the brutal fate of a snowman induced so many giggles, from the perennial holiday ad specialist agency adam&eveDDB.
Lidl “Big on a Christmas you can believe in”
Here the grocery chain and agency Karmarama walk the fine meta line by serving up the standard UK Christmas ad sweetness with a generous portion of realness. This is for all the almost-bah-humbugs out there. You’re not here for the magic, you’re here for the munchies.
KFC “A Recipe for Seduction”
What is there to say, except that KFC made a 16-minute mini-soap for the Lifetime Network starring Mario Lopez as Colonel Sanders? Is it holiday themed? Of course. Does any of it make any sense at all? Who knows. But it’s it’s just weird enough to watch.
Meijer “Christmas Commercial”
Another family is dealing with the emotional toll of this pandemic year, but the spot turns on the charm with a small moment of sibling understanding.
There is comfort in shared experience. We’ve all been a part of or even hosted a chaotic holiday get-together. Here one guy gets pin-balled around a yuletide disaster zone and there just can’t be enough paper towels for it all. Amid all the chuckles here, the real message is this: You are not alone.
Doc Morris “Take Care of Yourself”
And here ladies and gentlemen is your emo-advertising winner this holiday season. It’s sweet, it’s unexpected, it’s German. Agency Jung von Matt craft a story that juuuuuust ties back to the pharmacy brand client enough with a wellness theme for things to make sense. But no one wants to think about the convenience of prescriptions or toothpaste sales right now. This is all about emotion (without triggering an eye roll). Which, when it comes to advertising, is about as successful as you can get.