John Lewis, Sainsbury’s, M&S and many other big brands have all released their big hitting festive TV productions onto our TV screens and social feeds in the run up to Christmas, in the hope that they will melt our hearts and connect with you, the consumer. Christmas TV adverts have always been magical and can evoke childhood and nostalgic memories. Some say that the big budget productions of 2015 are too lavish and have lost their charm that many of the older classic commercials once had.
What was Christmas like before Monty the Penguin?
A lot of brands have used the same commercial for a decade or so, which has helped to endear the TV audience and become part of the British Christmas tradition.
Here are 10 snippets of nostalgic bliss with a few cheesy ones in there for good measure. Which ones do you remember?
1) Holidays are Coming!
A fleet of dazzling red trucks convoying across a nighttime snowy landscape like beacons in the night – it can only mean one thing – that holidays are coming! First airing on our TV screens in 1995, the Coca Cola advert turns 20 this year and for many people, signals the start of the countdown to Christmas. Whether it’s the enchanted kid’s faces in the night, the ‘Holidays are Coming’ unforgettable jingle, or the deep red festive tones that the brand shares with santa, it’s certainly one ad that has grown deep in people’s hearts. The advert’s connection with its audience has become so strong over the years, that there is now a Coca Cola Christmas truck tour around the UK. With this advert, Coca Cola managed to ‘bottle’ festive cheer into 1 minute of on-screen magic. There has been a few updates to this ad, but this version below is the original:
2) Magic Moments Surprises!
Christmas – the perfect time to give presents and show those who help us throughout the year how much we appreciate them. This classic advert shows a small boy giving the gift of Quality Street to his school lollipop lady, who has guided him safely across the road throughout the seasons of the year. It was made by made by legendary advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather. This Quality Street advert first appeared on our screens in 1992 with a catchy jingle that went on to be used by the brand on a variety of follow up adverts.
3) Kiss Under the Mistletoe Anyone?
What do you do if you can’t reach up to have a festive kiss under the mistletoe? Grab your copy of the Yellow Pages of course. Although, in the age of the internet, they have shrunk in thickness so you may actually need three copies to gain the same height advantage! This ad was on our screens in 1992 and has become one of the most memorable Christmas adverts of all time.
4) A ticket to the Ambassador’s Party!
Ferrero Rocher based this early 90’s advert upon a party at the European ambassador’s residence. The advert was produced in-house by the Ferrero company, which first started making its luxury chocolates in 1982.This advert was not quintessentially Christmas, but it was made for this time of year. The advertising team wanted to present the chocolates as an aspirational brand and the commercial was made to look classy and decadent with butlers serving Canapés and ladies wearing shoulder pads (the latter was the height of fashion at the time!) The advert is poorly over dubbed, with guests commenting “Eccellente!” and saying the now infamous line “Monsieur, with these Rocher, you are really spoiling us”. If there were awards for cheesiest adverts, this would be right up there.
5) And A Jar of Hellmann’s Mayonnaise!
Hellman’s own rendition of the festive 12 Days of Christmas listed out foods that could be enhanced with their brand of mayonnaise. We all know that Hellmann’s always works well in a cold turkey sandwich and this brand’s ad ran for many years, eventually becoming pretty iconic. The visual of a jar on screen getting ambushed by various family member’s spoons at Christmas is a simple but great idea and works well with their really catchy update on the 12 Days of Christmas – proving that you don’t have to throw millions at a Christmas production for it to be success!
6) High Street Value
Christmas shopping hasn’t been the same since Woolworths disappeared from the high streets and back in the 80’s, Woolies did some fine festive adverts that were packed with a wide range of products for all the family. The ads had unique, nostalgic jingles singing about the products and high street value, and they also featured some of the biggest celebrity endorsements of the time. In this ad from 1983, Daley Thompson, Geoff Capes and darts legend Eric Bristow feature for no apparent reason – although they were pretty cool at the time.
7) Festive Tipple!
The Famous Grouse adverts always appear on our screens at Christmas, reminding people of this festive tipple. This Scottish whisky brand takes the personality traits of the real-life shy grouse and applies them to the animated bird, making it look shy and meek. In this advert, it realises it is the star on the red carpet and suddenly grows rapidly in confidence. They use the following line to describe the brand and the character: ‘Although The Famous Grouse doesn’t need to seek attention, it frequently ends up in the limelight’.
8) Christmas With A Twist
Irn-Bru borrowed and changed the iconic Christmas song Walking in the Air and referenced the visual style of The Snowman to come up with an inspiring take on a Christmas advert, that had a little dark humour mixed in. The snowman goes on a journey with the young boy (like in the film) and his can of Irn-Bru. The ending of the commercial sees the snowman steal the boy’s can of Irn-Bru and let go of his hand to send him crashing down into the snow. Definitely not your typical Christmas advert.
9) What To Buy Dad for Christmas?
One of the fall-back presents to buy any man at Christmas used to be Old Spice. For anyone who remembers the Old Spice adverts in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, they often featured dramatic crashing waves and a powerful opera soundtrack to echo that this pungent fragrance was for real men and they even used the slogan ‘The Mark of A Man’. In recent years, Old Spice has relaunched with a new body wash and exciting new adverts featuring actor Isaiah Mustafa with a quirky quick-fire script banishing the old stereotypical views of the brand.
10) Gravy At Its Finest
OXO adverts were always on at Christmas in the 80s and 90s, with the OXO family reuniting around the dinner table again and again. Their familiar love of a traditional British roast (which of course, involves gravy!) made for a classic and relatable advert we all loved to watch. In tribute to Lynda Bellingham, who played the much loved OXO mum, ITV played this advert on Christmas Day of last year as Lynda passed away in Autumn 2014.