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Topical Christmas Commercial Tales

I find it very hard to consider, what is bound to be a stressful Christmas in a tragic and mentally exhausting Covid-19 year, as being truly ‘Festive’.

As well meaning as they may be, advertising commercials that pretend the mistletoe and jingle-bells season is back to its habitual festive norms, just don’t cut it for me.

I am therefore, very grateful to those brands and their advertising agencies that offer uplifting communication messages that insightfully reflect the true spirit of a uniquely different Christmas season for family, friends, social engagements, and the caring interactions that are empathically called for.

1. SuperValu Supermarkets, Covid-19 Christmas

Advertising Agency: TBWA, Dublin, Ireland

Directed by filmmaker Sam Huntly, with impressive storytelling expertise, the heartwarming scenario features a superb performance by 8-year actor Cian Kearney from Cork.

Apprehensive about the emotional impact of Covid-19 restrictions on families over the Christmas season, the topical story struck a reverberating cord with TV audiences, and released online, the commercial rapidly went viral motivating two million views in just 24 hours.

Yvonne Caplice of TBWA Dublin, described the reaction as; “a whirlwind few days since the ad launched. The response has been phenomenal”.

2. Amazon, The Show Must Go On

Advertising Agency: Lucky Generals, London, UK

Directed by filmmaker Melina Matsoukas, the emotive scenario features 17-year-old French ballet dancer Taïs Vinolo overcoming the confines of social distancing, to reach out to her family and friends in a loving tribute of expressive artistry, to an original arrangement of Queen’s ‘The Show Must Go On’.

On advertising industry news portals, the creative motivation for the compelling story was succinctly outlined by Simon Morris, VP Global Creative at Amazon:

“Our commercial is inspired by, and pays tribute to, the unbeatable human spirit and the power of community that we have witnessed so often this year.”

3. Kohl’s Department Stores, Give With All Your Heart

Advertising Agency: Yard, New York, USA

Filmmaker and director Rodrigo Garcia Saiz, on the ‘Shoot’ portal described the sentiment behind the story about the exchange of handwritten messages between a young girl and an elderly woman as follows:

“I think that through this emotional time, positive connection is what we all are looking for. I think we can all relate to the little girl longing for a friend.”

The commercial soundtrack features Willie Nelson’s resonant ‘Rainbow Connection’.

4. Coca-Cola, Letter To Santa

Advertising Agency: Wieden+Kennedy, London, UK

Directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Taika Waititi, Coca-Cola’s Christmas commercial is an adventurous tale about a Dad’s unflinching and loving loyalty to his daughter.

The story is an engaging fantasy, but the underlining emotion that has so skillfully been woven into the scenario, is very real and heartfelt.

On the ‘Sun News’ portal, Kris Robbens, marketing director of Coca-Cola Great Britain, described the commercial as reflecting the real magic of Christmas this year being about treasured familial ‘presence’, and not the exchanging of ‘presents’.

“The story reflects our greater appreciation for loved ones, a sense of community and our need to be present with each other this Christmas, above all else”.

5. Woodie’s DIY Stores, Community Spirited Christmas

Advertising Agencies: Rothco and Mindshare, Dublin, Ireland

Produced and directed by Butter Film Studios, Dublin, Ireland, and filmed on location at Dublin’s Ebenezer Terrace, the story centers on Mrs Higgins, the neighborhood matriarch with a squeaky, broken hinged, front gate, and an act of Christmas charity by Arron, a teenager who lives across the terrace from her.

On advertising industry news portals, Hilda Lyon, Head of Marketing at Woodie’s explained the conceptual motivation behind the commercial’s emotive communication at a time when loneliness will be more keenly felt by the elderly than ever before.

“We wanted to reflect on the good that has come from this past year, a year where we all did our best to look after one another”.

Woodie’s Marketing & Digital Director, Suzanne Quinn, added:

“Mrs Higgins celebrates the acts of kindness happening across Ireland and the immense sense of community that Team Woodie’s feel privileged to be able to play a small part in helping make that happen”.


6. Tesco Stores, No Naughty List

Advertising Agency: Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH), London, UK

In a survey conducted by Tesco with friends, colleagues and customers, nearly everyone admitted to ‘naughty’ behaviour during an extremely stressful year of Covid-19, like for example, the panic buying of far too many toilet rolls. Something I confess to be naughtily guilty of as well.

Was was needed Tesco decided, was to help spread a little fun and some guilt-free joy by declaring that as far as they are concerned, all is forgiven and there will be ‘No Naughty List’ this Christmas.

Directed by filmmaker Raine Allen-Mille, the lighthearted commercial features a Britney Spears soundtrack of her song ‘Oops! I Did It Again’, and a ‘voice-over’ by comedian Asim Chaudhry.