Every year, around December time, the British public spends an embarrassingly large amount of time talking about Christmas adverts. While this may seem bizarre to visitors to the UK, like complaining about the weather this national pastime is deeply ingrained into the British psyche. Nothing stirs up a conversation at the office water cooler like a good debate about Christmas TV adverts.
The truth, however, is that TV ads are actually really good at this time of year. Retailers pull out all the stops to get their brand noticed, and the result is a slew of spots that run more like 60-second works of art than advertisements. The great thing about these ads is that they bring everyone together. They’re pretty hard to miss, and many of them go viral within a couple of days of being released.
So, without further ado, we bring you the very best of Britain’s Christmas TV adverts. These are our top six favourites that bring back fond memories of family, friends, and chestnuts by the fire. Have a watch and warm the cockles of your heart.
Let’s be honest, Coca-cola is the king of Christmas ads. Their work is so universal that we pretty much set our Christmas countdown clocks by when those red trucks first appear on our TV screens. The red and white of the Coca-cola brand is so deeply ingrained, in fact, that the original adverts have influenced our idea of what Father Christmas looks like. Take a look at our favorite of their long-running ad series.
I’m not kidding when I say that this advert almost brings me to tears. It’s a story that spans the length and breadth of the UK and taps into the most fundamental element of what Christmas is all about – simply being together. Plus, it features cute animals, so you can’t really go wrong.
John Lewis 2011
This company really set the standard for the modern Christmas ad. From Monty the Penguin to the Man on the Moon, every year the UK can’t wait to see what their super-cute, heartwarming Christmas story will be this year. For me, though, the all-time best John Lewis ad was this one from 2011. The cute twist at the end just captures everything that’s so great about Christmas and makes it the top pick in my book.
There was a spout of controversy when this advert was first released in 2014. It was 100 years since the First World War and Sainsbury’s thought this ad would be a great way to commemorate the events. Some people thought that it was off-colour to use the memory of such a tragic national event to sell products. However, the story of the Christmas Armistice really did happen, and we think this is a lovely way to keep the memory alive.
This ad sleeps deep in the memories of my childhood and brings warm feelings of nostalgia whenever it resurfaces. It’s cute, cuddly, and reminds us of Christmases gone by. The fact that it’s an advert for a product that was rendered obsolete by the advent of the internet makes it feel that much more ancient.
This beautiful story always reminds me of a modern take on Paddington Bear and, at the same time, the first scene of Love Actually – not a bad start! But that’s what Christmas adverts are all about; reminding us of the things that are so close to our hearts. The themes in this one – love, family, and memory – are things we can all connect to.
That’s certainly not all of the ads that we know and love, but it’s our top picks. If you need a helping hand to get into the Christmas Spirit make sure you check out our Christmas & Boxing Day tours. They’re a great way to explore the magical Christmas landscape of London.