Unwrapping the Top Christmas Adverts That Connect Worldwide

Christmas ads

Festive TV advertising has been running for decades, although it wasn’t until John Lewis upped the ante in their advert, “shadows” (2007) that the battle of TV adverts began. We take a look at the Christmas adverts that stole our hearts in 2023 and discuss how Christmas advertising can appeal to a global audience.

In recent years, John Lewis has set the bar high for the most anticipated Christmas adverts. This year, Saatchi & Saatchi’s “Snapper, The Perfect Tree” has sparked diverse opinions, however, it has earned recognition from DAIVID [1] as one of their top performing campaigns to date.

Big retailers typically allocate substantial budgets to their festive advertising campaigns. However, our favourite ad was actually shot on a shoestring budget. Since it’s almost Christmas, here’s our roundup of our most beloved adverts this year. Drum roll…

Charlie’s Bar, Enniskillen

This £700 advert for a small bar in Northern Ireland serves as a poignant reminder that Christmas can be a lonely time, especially for the elderly and those who have lost loved ones. Despite its modest budget, this advert went viral, attracting millions of views through social media channels. 

Charlie's Bar

Good as Gold, Shelter

Shelter, the housing and homelessness charity, tugs at our heartstrings with the message that 139,000 children are wishing for a home this Christmas. This is a record-high for the charity!  The ad stars a young girl. She has made a big effort to behave well all year in the hope that she will get her Christmas wish. At the end of the advert, viewers learn that her Christmas wish is for a permanent home for her family.

 

Good as gold

Joy Ride, Amazon

This Christmas, Amazon took their advertising campaign in-house with their production, “Joy ride” which celebrates lifelong friendships through the story of three older women reviving the joy of snow sledding down a hill. This is all made possible through Amazon Prime.  It’s a breath of fresh air to see older actors star in the advert. 

joy ride

Fuzzy Feelings, Apple

Created by TBWA\Media Arts Lab, “Fuzzy Feelings” is a tearjerker set in an office during Christmas. We witness the strained relationship between an office worker and her not so nice boss. We discover the office worker has a talent for stop motion and she uses it to get revenge on her boss’ miniature felt double.  There is a wonderful blend of live action and stop motion. 

Fuzzy feelings

Become more Christmas, Tesco

From the agency BBH, London, Tesco’s advert brings a happy ending to the holiday season. It’s centred around a parent trying to connect with their “too cool” teenager. The narrative resonates with every parent who has (or has raised) a teenager. The ad can appear a little bizarre, but it’s complemented by an apt soundtrack! It will make you feel all warm inside!

Become more Christmas

What is the magic formula for Christmas adverts?

These Christmas adverts all share a common thread…powerful storytelling that taps into our emotions. The themes of family, unity, sharing, and kindness resonate well with viewers. Adverts for Christmas tend to leave us feeling warm and fuzzy, instead of the usual ‘hard sell’ ads we see the rest of the year.

Ensure your campaigns resonate with global audiences

Many global brands around the world adopt similar themes in their festive campaigns. 

To ensure your campaign works well across the pond, be aware of cultural differences and how brands frame Christmas in different countries. Let’s take a look at this festive advert from Spain. The Spanish National Lottery annual Christmas campaign tells the story of ‘Vika’ and how her friendship develops with a Spanish co-worker in a Christmas lights factory. Despite Vika not speaking much Spanish, the two workers form a close bond and share a lottery ticket. In Spain, sharing a lottery ticket is a tradition reserved for those who matter most in a person’s life. The food references are also very Spanish. Watch it here. 

To connect with your local audiences, tailor your campaign to them. What works well in one country may not necessarily work in a different country. Learn from Huawei, who creates a different Christmas advertisement for their local markets. [2]

Finally, if you are considering your own brand’s storytelling, remember that creativity can shine through even on a modest budget, as demonstrated by Charlie’s Bar.

Bridgehead is an international growth agency helping scaleups to enter new markets in the UK, Europe, North America and Australasia. 

 

References:

[1] https://www.exchangewire.com/blog/2023/11/10/snapper-the-perfect-tree-among-top-four-most-effective-john-lewis-christmas-ads/

[2] https://daoinsights.com/works/huaweis-evocative-christmas-ads-aim-to-attract-global-audience/