I'm not exaggerating when I say "Holiday Ads" are one of my favourite things about the holiday season.
(If this surprises you, you're likely underestimating how much I love marketing, unaware of the fact that my birthday is five days before Christmas, or both.)
Next to the Superbowl, the Holidays tend to be when companies invest in creativity to bring out the magic of the season... and help associate it with their products, of course.
This week I came across four holiday ads worth your time and attention.
To be clear, I don't love the fact that I did, because I firmly believe we collectively shouldn't start thinking about the holidays until Remembrance Day has passed. But their too-early (IMHO) release doesn't make them any less shareable.
Take the 9 minutes you'll need to enjoy these spots. (You can thank me later.)
Coca-Cola's 2020 Christmas Commercial
This is exactly the type of spot you would expect from Coca-Cola if you've ever seen any of their previous holiday ads.
If you're a stickler for believability, you're going to absolutely hate it.
But if not, and if you're the sentimental type, you'll likely find yourself smiling a few different times while watching it. And Coke's marketing team will be smiling too: the brand is integrated into the spot so well that there's no mistaking it for anything other than a Coke ad.
dp Rating: 7.5 / 10
(The whale was a bit much for me.)
Amazon's "The Show Must Go On"
This has been a rough year for many of us, filled with increased worries, cancelled events, and various disappointments on account of the COVID pandemic.
You certainly don't have to be an aspiring ballerina to relate to the aspiring ballerina in this spot.
As a marketer, I have to admire Amazon's restraint with this spot; in two minutes, you can briefly spot two Amazon boxes, one instance of someone ordering a product, and a logo at the very end... and that's it. A less courageous marketing team would have found another half-dozen places to have Amazon show up, but that would have certainly had a negative impact on the story.
The message of the spot -- "The Show Must Go" -- is certainly one that we need to embrace, and most certainly one Amazon needs us to embrace as we begin thinking about where we're going to get all of our holiday gifts... especially if an increase in COVID cases forces another shut-down of retail stores.
dp Rating: 8.5 / 10
(Three cheers for that uber-supportive little sister!)
McDonald's UK "Inner Child" Christmas 2020
My kids aren't yet teenagers, but I'm already expecting that some of the things they enjoy doing now won't be "cool enough" to do when they're older... because I was the same way when I was a teenager. (Weren't we all?)
I think I'm better at letting my inner-child out to play than most people, but this McDonald's ad still resonated with me, both as a parent who always wants to make things magical for my kids, and as a kid-at-heart who still likes to play.
This ad made me smile, and the gentle rendition of "Forever Young" was perfect.
dp Rating: 9 / 10
(Where can I get some of those Reindeer cookies? Asking for a friend...)
Disney's "From Our Family To Yours"
Heartwarming, animated story, told entirely without using any words? Check.
Hauntingly beautiful music (an original track called “Love Is A Compass” by UK music artist Griff)? Check.
Proceeds from every download of that beautiful track being donated to Make-A-Wish? Check!
Disney is one of the world's greatest storytellers, and this ad is exactly what you would expect from them.
My one criticism is somewhat ironic: the final panel of the commercial was too commercial. I think the generic "Shop Disney.co.uk" message feels out of place given touching story that precedes it., and the ad might have been better served by showcasing a "Disney.com/OurFamilyToYours" URL leading to a dedicated landing page (even if that page had items available for sale). But that's a minor transgression I'm willing to forgive.
dp Rating: 9 / 10
(I'm not crying, you're crying.)
* * *
Given we still have over a month until Christmas, it's safe to say these won't be the last holiday ads we'll see this year.
But if the ones that follow are as good as these four, it will be a holiday ad season to remember.