Christmas marks the most important time of the year for many major brands. Companies spend large portions of their marketing budgets just to capitalize on the huge potential sales numbers around Christmas time. Since these Christmas advertising campaigns can mean the difference between success and failure for a firm, many hours of analysis and hard work go into creating the best advertisements possible. These are some of the most successful Christmas ads of all time!
Tootsie Rolls – 1950s – Christmas Commercial
This popular Tootsie Rolls commercial offers a quick look at the success of early television advertisements. For its time, this ad does an amazing job of creating an emotional connection between the joy of Christmas and the product.
Coca-Cola – 1971 – The “Hilltop” Ad
Coca-Cola’s “Hilltop” advertisement is one of the most well-known Christmas commercials of all time. Although most credit its memorable song with the advertisement’s success, the song was a major flop when it was released to radio earlier in 1971. It wasn’t until the hillside scene was added and the ad was sent to TV that it connected with millions.
McDonalds – 1975 – Christmas Gift Certificate Commercial
Although a 50 cent gift certificate wouldn’t get you much these days, in 1975, you could buy a McDonald’s hamburger and a small soda with that little gift. Many still remember these ads today as they were widely successful for their nostalgic tone and innovated offering.
Folger’s – 1986 – “Peter Comes Home for Christmas”
When it comes to advertisements that make you want a certain product immediately, this Folger’s commercial from 1986 may be the best. It combines family values, holiday charm and powerful imagery to create an advertisement that few have ever forgotten. The ad not only creates an instant emotional connection, but, as Peter smells and sips on that first cup, there is nothing a coffee drinker wants more than a fresh hot cup of Folger’s coffee.
Budweiser – 1987 – “Wishing You the Very Best”
The Budweiser Christmas commercial from 1987 is very simple. However, it is arguably the most successful Christmas advertisement ever. The imagery and jingle matched perfectly with the emotional connection consumers have with the holiday. It represents the perfect example of how simplicity works in advertising.
Hershey’s Kisses – 1989 – Christmas Commercial
According to this Hershey’s Archive, this timeless class first hit the airwaves in 1989. Considering the fact that this ad been on TV during the holidays every year since then, it deserves its place in the list of best Christmas ads ever. It is simple, memorable, festive and very effective!
Kellogg’s Corn Flakes – 1990 – Waiting for Santa Claus
This unforgettable ad from 1990 set the model for many Christmas commercials to come. Cute kids, nostalgia, warm imagery, festive music and that mysterious partial glimpse of Santa himself make this commercial a classic. Almost any parent can connect with these three kids in their pursuit to meet Santa.
Campbell’s Soup – 1993 – Melting Snowman/Let it Snow Commercial
Since this television commercial first aired in 1993, it has become a yearly favourite. It does such a great job of portraying that feeling of warmth the Holiday’s bring that updated versions of the ad still play today.
M&M’s – 1996 – “He Does Exist!”
This M&M’s commercial has been shown all over the world. The ad’s popularity comes from its fun twist on the traditional Santa storyline and its creative context. The M&M characters have had a lot of success in general, but none of their ads can beat this memorable Christmas commercial.
Irn Bru – 2006 – The Snowman
This parody of Raymond Brigg’s widely popular book, “The Snowman,” was a huge success among UK audiences and even increased American interest in Irn Bru. The song “I’m Walking in the Air” was originally sung by Peter Auty on the film produced from the book in 1982, but Ben Robinson’s version in the commercial keeps it simple and charming.
Since the creation and release of a Christmas ad can be quite an expensive undertaking, companies place a lot of emphasis on getting it right. There are many great Christmas ads every year, but only the very best can make it to the all-time top 10 list. Hope you enjoyed this look back in time!