Five Christmas campaigns that ‘nailed it, and five that ‘failed it

The holiday season is here, and that means it’s time to talk about Christmas adverts! A long-standing tradition in advertising, Christmas ads see companies and brands taking advantage of the season’s high spirits to promote their products and services. The holiday period is seen by many brands as a way to boost brand loyalty, and to show a more human side to their values. 

While some Christmas adverts bring warmth and joy to our hearts, others can be downright cringe-worthy and inappropriate. Here are our top five Christmas ads which absolutely nailed it over the years, and five we thought drastically failed it.

Nailed it: Coke (1995) – Holidays are coming

The Coca-Cola Christmas advert has become a staple since its original release in 1995 that sees the now infamous Coca-Cola branded convoy of red trucks drive into a festive snow-covered town. The advert has become iconic over the years and is always a heartwarming reminder of the festive season. It’s hard to believe that we’ve been seeing this on our screens for the last 27 years.

ebWuCEVIsbKerttP00gL8liH43NepcFdrIis1LWUc1XQxkq8qvhji4ZYDZmV6WvvdO930K6AI 8BI9Z4le2IeSGfn6bP066tW41oKgMEMGK27jc5wxSAJ1Lx8bwCfFDTjSoB BV eZLwAtoqrrg1gFsOr3rYIUe rIHLLpjtiOcqCuPrewZ t8ivcCwQLg

Failed it: Japan’s Christmas reindeer Dominos delivery (2016):

Dominos using Reindeer to deliver pizza over the Christmas period, what’s not to love? Well, it turns out there’s actually quite a lot. For starters reindeer weren’t the most practical when it came to actually delivering the pizza and, unlike Santa, humans aren’t so great at taming them. Combine the carnage unleashed on the streets with animal welfare complaints and it’s no surprise that it wasn’t long until Dominos Pizzas PR stunt was dead in the water.

zzOpgxa3w6bb 7QJFMBIAZqHrrefrv4nxXqyLXtbllFpV4KDG7HW5xMq9FiH7IONlPdRSj6Z1nkfEg Ugp4rUv3SonBFIgF

Nailed it: Irn Bru (2013) – The Snowman

The Scots do not disappoint with this ode to a classic that has a humorous twist. The Irn Bru advert created in 2013 sees a rewrite of the Christmas classic “walking in the air” and features the Snowman and the boy flying over the Scottish landmarks with a can of Irn Bru safely in the boy’s hand. When the boy refuses to share the Irn Bru the snowman drops him and takes the can. Remember, Christmas is for sharing with everyone.

gC8CcQHzlQvQ03BMoiwg2kJPiieO2ebQuiV3z6jZWwcAGwnRF3i aH8O OFYRaPnrJSsm84tK95CbdJLH wzW3zByQewMkrhswOcD8uhckgFxiUrbWvR8I2Mv9kWIHB2jTwITP4dmra jXkWLirboiESdzIlrK0nJDb4U VRcI0JN QtPxspnW dKtFodw

Failed it: Bloomingdale’s holiday catalogue blunder (2015) 

It’s really hard to imagine how this got signed off on, but it did, and it still blows our minds. The advert published in Bloomingdale’s 2015 holiday catalogue advertising  Rebecca Minkoff features a laughing woman with a man looking at her and the caption “Spike your best friend’s eggnog when they’re not looking”… yes you read that right, and it’s no surprise that it went down like a lead balloon and forced Bloomingdale to officially apologise and pull the ad.

X9ECUlAZvyGE7VUGE4UrAdO9Fb606wJWBF ivR4CnjVLu1qvzQcKhx jiFMy4CPdQd4rRFdZH08dOC6OWmLZF v06NVWcUhttWkPp TxEWvTKbSGPkv2YnYt74ro 4WpwesAqo LXSsu0QJrWMTY o0q2hgNcB6xOpLpdWv9wHWnCEj 3v W6kKaUENXGQ

Nailed it: Sainsbury’s (2014) – 1914 with British Legion:

In partnership with the British Legion marking 100 years since the start of world war I in 1914, Sainsbury’s launched an advert that went a step further than just advertising the supermarket chain. The advert portrays the true story of the French, English and German troops who came together to play a game of football at Christmas. We see a young English and German soldier exchange gifts and at the end, with the backdrop of the trenches we see the title line “Christmas is for sharing”.  Along with the advert, Sainsbury’s donated all profits from a £1 chocolate bar to a veterans’ charity. 

C7tDVUDyTiV 5eIm8IelfasHUhA6JHOHyvqbi2mejZqglZySXm52VgibzFS3hLWPM5 rNQdxvl4hKbFc8jKtK CWfDcQmnvfV5RKb8zl44EUdp1Y66ZGYU3A8MTztFDrW0d5fkSPM5Pl70Ie5SA

Failed it: Burberry (2019) – What is Love?

Although at first glance the advert by Burberry looks like some great production value, we still struggled to see the point behind the whole thing because it certainly didn’t feel ‘festive’. 

Burberry stated that the ad was meant to ‘celebrate the essence of love at this special time of year – those who make you happy, lift you up and bring you joy”, did we miss something? Because we’re fairly certain models wearing high-end fashion, and dancing around a studio (and pretty badly as well) – is not what people relate to when thinking about happiness and love during Christmas. 

frf9aK PihjJMYUE426956iaDfgwlCdb48lUqtAkcmfydMaPH lFILGw8TNIjCprlF YmfViS mffZCmdNH UfBzpswBoSjhbSww2aMZo IqqhzLInnRnsUMPjaMTzY4j16 YNrM86U54EhZTNxZOhW1RqhNe aMWC435L3N9MOQDoaSzqt9eQ4d awwA

Nailed it: Nike (1985) – The Air Jordan Christmas Poster

Sometimes less is more, and this is a perfect example of something very simple, yet very effective.

UYlxNP Xf1b9ZsO550THPsmpXw07R6wNK87iX3NGg

Failed it: KFC – The Taste That Unites

KFC for Christmas dinner, although we can see where they were aiming for with this one, and we love a bit of satire, we’re still not so sure…

lhwv2n5OV9y6AQGTiSFybu03hjZqMbejK yC4aRpvyAukn1JbBYtW8MLgFk6cmczTNUOF4Adp4Hw6KKfBo8xMOv7wfdYa U1r2NDzT6u3WMUcg3VzTeTORGlRwuI94dUB0kKYAVMj HWBSZm oOKlpEOml4epvK6Y6dK tulYho1ro5FZkBeNr9 RzBFQ

Nailed it: Marks & Spencer (2016) – Mrs Claus.

The M&S Mrs Claus advert is the fun and festive adventure that follows the ‘far cooler’ Mrs Claus as she prepares for Christmas. The ad focuses on her journey to find the perfect presents for her husband, Santa, and her family, and even features an original song, ‘A Gift For You’, written and performed by British singer-songwriter Celeste. The ad was praised for its heartwarming and uplifting message, as well as its focus on female empowerment and independence. 

8OTQqKqXgrqBi3cPc Mnv

Failed it: Mr Kippling (2003) 

Only shown three times on tv before the number of complaints led to its removal from the airways, ‘Nativity’ by My Kippling features a woman named Mary painfully giving birth in clinical surroundings – until the camera pans out and the scene becomes a nativity play.  Complaints were far and wide with some accusing the ad as ‘blasphemous’, which is certainly not something you want to be labelled as during the holiday period.

v61 t m1 voFDy1Uz9V16YYZAGET6svXQw64GkEImI 8AetT

So there you have it, do you agree with our selections? Leave a comment on our Instagram post!

For more information on the digital marketing services we provide, contact us on 0113 357 0440.