The Ads of Christmas Past

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Last week we all gathered around to watch the first Christmas adverts of the season together. Seeing the joy spreading on the OVG team’s little faces I couldn’t resist asking which adverts they’ll always remember. Everyone described to me the first time they saw their favourite all time Christmas ad, and how it made them feel: But the perfect reaction from any good ad, of course, is one that takes you back to the moment you fell in love with it.

I’ve put together a small list of some of our most memorable Christmas ads – are any of your favourites listed?

John Lewis “The Long Wait” – 2011

@samcollinst  chose the king of Christmas ads, John Lewis,  with “The Long Wait”. She says it’s the first ad that really pulled at her heart strings and made her cry. An impatient child restlessly waits for  Christmas and you can’t help but say “aaaw” as you realise he’s in fact desperate to give gifts to his parents. Rather than the usual ads we see focused on Father Christmas and children being indulged with towers of gifts, this one tells a heartwarming story.

Sainsburys “#ChristmasInADay” – 2013

@olwenshaw decided Sainsbury’s came first place in the race to the best Christmas ad in 2013. She won’t forget “#ChristmasInADay” which featured a compilation of home videos and I’m sure everyone at home could relate to at least one video from their own Christmas traditions. And, as if the cute kids weren’t enough, this add really pulled on our heartstrings when their army dad returned home to the extremely excited family.

Coca-Cola “Santa Packs Are Coming” – 1995

@misskakapo has gone with a classic and I’m sure is a personal favourite of many. It’s not uncommon to hear people say ‘you know it’s Christmas when you see the Coca-Cola ad’. I can’t lie, out of all the ads mentioned here the music in the Coca-Cola ad really get’s me on the nostalgia train, reminds me of my siblings at Christmas time, lovely!

Vodafone “#TerryTheTurkey” – 2015

@Joe_Huddled tells me he’ll never forget Vodafone’s 2015 “#TerryTheTurkey” advert. Although I don’t remember seeing it on the TV, the Westlife backing track definitely perked my interest. The ad follows the journey of a turkey and his family to his expected death come Christmas Eve. The tension builds, almost to breaking point, when Dad takes the turkey into the shed. But then the Christmas magic kicks in and we see the family mixing things up with a nut roast as we’re told this Christmas to, ‘get closer to the ones you love’.

Yellow Pages “Grab a Yellow Pages” – 1992

@leahbrad_ I was really surprised to discover this ad is older than me! The “Grab a Yellow Pages” ad is the first one I can remember. There’s not much of a Christmas message here but even from a young age I loved this cheeky ad which has definitely gone on to gain iconic status.

Iceland “That’s Why Mums Go To Iceland” – 2008

@suzanne_huddled say’s she’ll never forget the classic Christmas party buffet adverts from Iceland, especially those featuring the notorious Kerry Katona. Who can knock up a Christmas sing-a-long and try tell me weren’t a little peckish after!

cocacola truck holidays are coming 2

But how do these nostalgic oldies compare to some of the top ads this year? I had a quick look around the web and to date, these ads are the ones attracting the most attention. It seems that every year Christmas ads appear on the telly earlier, with a bigger budget and a higher desire to stop John Lewis from gaining the title of ‘Best Christmas Ad” for another year running.

Sainsbury’s – The Greatest Gift

This ad went down a storm with many hailing it the best of the bunch until a fair few Sainsbury’s worker’s pointed out they won’t have the privilege to give ‘the gift of me’ as they’re contracted to work. We’re still waiting to see what their spokesperson comes up with to get around that one. The addition of loveable James Corden’s vocals makes the ad really stick out as fun and cheery.

Aldi – Kevin The Carrot

The first to pop up around social media and appear in PR offices up and down the country was #KevinTheCarrot (mistakenly identified by many as the John Lewis advert). This hype played in their favour, though, as people started to spread the news of #KevinTheCarrot across the internet, claiming to be the first to know the story of 2016’s John Lewis ad. The ad isn’t short of Christmas magic with a humorous monologue to match.

John Lewis – Buster The Boxer

The much anticipated John Lewis ad didn’t disappoint. Although a fair few people on Twitter tried to be  Negative Nigel about the ad, implying that the retailer was ignorant to the TB threat. However, in a statement to, a spokesperson from League Against Cruel Sports said: ‘It is highly unlikely for a human to catch TB from a badger, let alone a CGI one bouncing on a trampoline. This shows a total lack of understanding on the issue.’ which I particularly liked.

M&S – Christmas With Love From Mrs Claus

In a classic case of ‘sisters are doing it for themselves’, this story really plays on the saying that behind every great man is a great woman. If sibling rivalry can’t be resolved for Christmas then when can it? We see a tech-savvy Mrs Claus saving the day, chopper an’all. And who can’t help but choke up a little at the voice of little 7-in-two-weeks Jake?

Waitrose – Home For Christmas

A small robin takes off on an epic journey to get home for Christmas, eagerly awaited by a young girl who checks for him everyday. I remember the excitement in the school classroom when the first robin redbreast was spotted at the beginning of winter, and what an emotional rollercoaster this was… All of the feels. And just at the right time, as I try my best to heal the scars left behind by a homewrecking penguin.

Alzheimer’s UK – Santa Forgot

The Alzheimer’s Research ad comes with a bigger message than most this year.  The issue is close to home for 46.8 million people worldwide who suffer with Dementia but help is at hand. It shows a young girl named Freya who believes in Santa enough to set out on a journey to help him this Christmas. With such an emotive subject, the Alzheimer’s Research ad does well to provide a positive message: that families will not forget, even if their elderly relative do.

Tweet us at @OV_Group and tell us which Christmas ad you’ll never forget.

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About Leah Bradburn

​Leah is a connoisseur of all things cheese; this includes the Biebs, 1D, Westlife, Little Mix and cheddar. She can often be found in her 'ugly work cardigan'​ and pretending she's going to go to the gym. Leah's favourite film is a mix up between Avatar and Wreck It Ralph.

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