Christmas time is rapidly becoming known for something other than mistletoe, presents under the tree, and eggnog. It’s also morphing into something of an advertising showcase. Brands are increasingly competing to create the Christmas spot that wins Youtube and is shared all over the globe.
Emotions are strong drivers for consumer behavior and the Christmas season is nothing if not a time charged with powerful sentiments like joy, togetherness, and generosity. So, it’s no surprise that advertisers try to tap into the warmth of the season.
Here are six ads that got a lot of attention this year:
1. Samsung used the opportunity to promote its Gear VR virtual reality headset, showing off the incredible, stirring impact the technology can have.
2. British department store chain John Lewis started producing special ads for Christmas in 2007. Since then their annual holiday spots have become a new British tradition.
This year’s ad features a little girl, a gang of cuddly wildlife, and a bounce-happy boxer named Buster. It was the popular favorite this year, with over 24 million views on YouTube so far.
3. Coca-Cola, with its red and white branding, and association with wholesome fun and happiness, is a perfect fit for Christmas advertising. The soft drink brand has long associated itself with Santa Claus, polar bears, and all manner of winter hallmarks.
For 2016, they opted for something simple and sweet, a 30-second spot featuring people working hard to prepare for the holiday being rewarded with a cold, fizzy beverage.
4. In years past Apple has run ads more likely to elicit tears than chuckles. 2013’s commercial for the iPhone 5 about a boy with his nose in his phone that was secretly creating a holiday video for his family could have melted Ebenezer Scrooge’s heart.
The star of this year’s spot was, strangely enough, Frankenstein’s monster, who convinces a wary audience to join him in a holiday carol. It was an unusual choice, which helps make it memorable, and the closing message, “Open your heart to everyone,” is playing well online with over 8 million views on YouTube.
5. Fast fashion retailer H&M pulled out the big guns this year, enlisting A-list director Wes Anderson and Academy Award winning actor Adrien Brody for a lovely spot called “Come Together.” It’s a perfect match of the brand’s upscale but accessible persona with the director’s signature highbrow but quirky charm.
6. The sleeper hit this year was for Polish online auction company Allegro. An elderly Polish man slowly works on his English so that he can say hello to his new granddaughter who lives in the U.K. Just try and watch it without getting misty.
A spokesperson for Allegro summed up the season nicely: “Christmas for many is a difficult time in which we yearn for more. But the story we are telling is all-purpose and can be easily understood by any other nation or community who can easily link the happy ending of a smile and tears of emotion to their daily human experience.”