It’s that time of year when our televisions are bombarded with festive adverts and, as we’re cosied up in front of the television with Christmas tree lights twinkling and a hot chocolate in hand, it’s hard to spot an advert that doesn’t mention Christmas.
Every year, retailers dig deep and pull out all the stops in an attempt to be behind the best Christmas campaign of the year. Whether it makes you laugh out loud or pulls on your heart strings, there’s no denying that there’s always one that stands out.
Of course, John Lewis has become renowned for its Christmas ads. Christmas 2007 saw the first John Lewis television advertisement in three years and since then, it’s never looked back. Being hailed by many as the king of Christmas adverts, its campaigns have become something that we wait in anticipation for, and which seem to officially mark the start of Christmas.
So with this in mind, and after much deliberation, the Carrington team have come up with our top five Christmas campaigns of all time.
Will John Lewis feature in the list? Read on to find out!
First World War Truce- Sainsbury’s, 2014
Whilst some people criticised the supermarket for using war to sell food and drink, this advert is truly touching. It tells the story of Christmas Day 1914, when British and German soldiers formed a truce and emerged from their trenches to exchange gifts and play football.
Sainsbury’s reconstructed the trench scenes with the help of a war historian and created the campaign with the help of the Royal British Legion, which received all profits from sales of the £1 chocolate bar which appeared in the advert.
In its first 12 hours of going online, the advert had clocked up over 25,000 views on the supermarket’s official YouTube channel, beating John Lewis’ advert views for that year.
With the message of ‘Christmas is for sharing’, the campaign defies expectations of Christmas ads as commercialised affairs and just makes you truly appreciate what a special time Christmas really is.
Come Together- H&M, 2016
As much as we enjoy a traditional Christmas advert, H&M’s approach in 2016 just seems to stand out and stay with you from the moment you see it.
It’s a Wes Anderson x Christmas crossover, so what’s not to love?
There’s something really quaint and cosy about being on a train in the snow (except when talking about The Polar Express, which is a stain on the Christmas movie genre) and at the end of the heartwarming journey, the message is all about people making the best out of a bad situation and coming together.
The visuals really put a spin on those run of the mill Christmas ads while still sticking to the sentiments of joy, friendship and a little bit of giving (even if that giving does happen to be a £49.99 H&M jumper!)
Mariah Carey- Walkers Crisps, 2019
Nothing screams Christmas more than Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ so Walkers certainly knew what they were doing when they featured not only the song, but the woman herself, in their 2019 Christmas ad.
But the campaign seems to have gained more interest from Mariah’s hilarious crisp nibble than from the actual advert itself.
It sees the US star and a Christmas elf have a tussle over the last packet of pigs in blankets flavoured crisps, which Mariah wins after singing her famous high pitched note, stunning the elf into giving up the crisps.
Following the altercation, Mariah then opens the crisps and takes a tiny nibble of a crisp- forgive us for thinking that she’s never actually eaten a bag of crisps in her life!
It’s rumoured that Mariah was paid a huge £9 million for appearing in the advert; that’s certainly got to be the most expensive packet of crisps in the world!
Be A Kid This Christmas- Hafod Hardware, 2019
Forget your million-pound productions, for us, a real contender for the winner of Christmas adverts is Hafod Hardware; an independent shop in Rhayader, Wales.
Thomas Lewis Jones, who runs the shop with his grandparents, spent just £100 creating a truly adorable advert with the help of his family and friends.
His own son, Arthur, is the star of the show and we see him working away as a budding store manager, opening the shop, putting out stock and serving customers.
The emotional sucker-punch comes right at the end of the advert with a subtle twist which leads into the line “be a kid this Christmas”.
While John Lewis is reported to have spent £7 million to earn 10 million views on YouTube with their CGI dragon, Hafod Hardware has racked up 2.5 million views with just £100 spent.
It goes to show the power of a simple, honest story that’s told with real love and passion. With their advert, Hafod Hardware has earned its reputation instead of splashing the cash for a disappointing dragon and we think that makes them the real winner this Christmas!
Mistletoe- Yellow Pages, 1992
Carrington founder, Rob, is definitely showing his age with this one! But there is no other Christmas advert that entered the lexicon for ‘nineties children’ more than this one.
Anyone born after 2000 probably won’t remember the Yellow Pages arriving at the door, but this advert gives a simple message, in just 20 seconds, to show that the Yellow Pages can help you with anything.
There are few Christmas adverts that look more classic 90s than this one. The advert shows a little girl standing by the Christmas tree, holding a piece of mistletoe over her head as a little boy attempts to give her a Christmas kiss- but he’s too small. But fear not, the Yellow Pages is here to save the day! The little boy grabs his brick-like copy of the telephone directory and uses it as a step, allowing him to get his Christmas kiss.
The ad is heartwarming, uplifting and certainly made the whole nation go “ahhh”. And best of all, check out that nineties fashion sense!