A range of key elements must be present for a Christmas TV spot to be effective and memorable. In the last Esencial Blog post entitled Merry Advertising, we discussed storytelling, branded content, emotion, brand values and a good ending. Now we’ve chosen the top 10 creative pieces of recent years for you to enjoy during the holidays.

1. 1914

  • Title: 1914
  • Brand: Sainsbury’s
  • Agency: AMV BBDO
  • Year: 2014

As a brand, Sainsbury’s has always surprised with its spectacular big-budget spots and well developed concepts, but the British supermarket chain stirred up some controversy when they presented this multiple prize winning piece. Many praised the storytelling surrounding the British and German truce in 1914, while others were outraged and accused the brand of exploiting a war to boost sales.

2. Justino

  • Title: Justino
  • Brand: Loterías y Apuestas del Estado
  • Agency: Leo Burnett
  • Year: 2015

In 2015, Leo Burnett surprised us all with Justino, a charming campaign featuring Pixar-style animation that touched the hearts of advertisers and the public alike. It went on to become the world’s most award-winning TV spot, receiving 48 major prizes, including some as prestigious as the Cannes Lions Grand Prix and another Grand Prix from El Sol, the benchmark for Spanish-speaking creativity. 

3. Misunderstood

  • Title: Misunderstood
  • Brand: Apple
  • Agency: TBWA
  • Year: 2013

Apple‘s Christmas adverts like Misunderstood or ‘The Song‘ aim to show the friendly face of technology. The brand distances itself from accusations that iPhones can cause family isolation by demonstrating the benefits of the product and their brand values. This spot was an Emmy winner.

4. English for beginners

  • Title: English for beginners
  • Brand: Allegro
  • Agency: Bardzo
  • Year: 2016

A wonderful Christmas ad. After astounding us with the spot ‘Santa‘ in 2015, this Warsaw-based agency touched us once again with an adorable story about an older person who wants to learn English.

5. The Boy and The Piano

  • Title: The Boy and the Piano
  • Brand: John Lewis
  • Agency: Adam & Eve/DDB
  • Year: 2018

A gift can change somebody’s life. John Lewis, a UK chain of luxury department stores, manages to astound us year after year, and in 2018 they made the one and only Elton John the star of this viral advertisement. The brand’s other spots like ‘Man on the Moon, ‘Monty the Penguin and ‘Edgar the Dragon also demonstrate their impressive knack for touching our hearts and demonstrating their values through consistently superb storytelling.

6. The Book of Dreams

  • Title: The Book of dreams
  • Brand: Argos
  • Agency: The & Partnership London
  • Year: 2019

Toy catalogues never fail to stir a range of emotions. To the sound of the legendary Simple Minds hit from 1985 “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”, this feel-good spot transforms into a music video as it transports us to an alternate reality dreamed up by a father where the toy becomes the star of the show. 

7. El tiempo que nos queda

  • Title: El tiempo que nos queda
  • Brand: Ruavieja
  • Agency: Leo Burnett
  • Year: 2018

How much time do you have left to spend with a person you love? A blow straight to the heart. “We have to see each other more” was the claim at the core of a remarkable campaign that shocked both consumers and advertising professionals alike. Through interviews and a simple calculation, which were also available on the website, you could receive an alarming figure that really made you stop and think about all the time we waste each day.

8. Heathrow Bears

  • Title: Heathrow Bears
  • Brand: Heathrow Airport
  • Agency: Havas
  • Year: 2017 

A simple idea beautifully executed. The Heathrow bears have already become a Christmas classic. Over the last 3 years, we have been given the chance to enjoy various spots featuring this sentient teddy bear couple. And the British airport has been providing the best homecomings for more than 70 years.

9. Familiarizados

  • Title: Familiarizados
  • Brand: IKEA
  • Agency:
  • Year: 2018

Ikea’s advertising has been recognised with many awards in Spain. In 2018, they invented a game where mobile phones are left in a box while family members are asked questions about one another. The results were so astonishing that many families tried the game for themselves during Christmas dinner so they could disconnect from the digital world and connect more with one another.

10. Christmas Miracle

  • Title: Christmas Miracle
  • Brand: WestJet
  • Agency: Mosaic
  • Year: 2013

Not just a spot, but a wonderful piece of Christmas street marketing. In the Toronto and Hamilton airports, WestJet installed a virtual Santa Claus who spoke to passengers flying to Calgary so he could make their wishes come true. Everything was filmed with hidden cameras and it’s a wonderful reinterpretation of the poem The Night Before Christmas.

Author: Joan Margarit, Marketing and Communication Analyst.

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