Best Holiday Commercials – Past and Present

Dec 11th, 2019 Advertising

We’re into December, and the holiday ads just keep rolling in. What makes a commercial iconic? What ads do you remember from holidays past? These are the ones that have stuck out to our team for years now, and all of these have a few important aspects in common.

  1. They get you in your feels. Whether we’re laughing or crying (or somewhere in between), these commercials artfully hit you where you feel it. They're attention-grabbing and memorable.
  2. They are true to their authentic brand. The values depicted relate perfectly to the company. Brand attributes like playful, reliable, serious, or meaningful come across in the commercial, all by design.
  3. The best ones leave you with a subtle call to action. Not a 'here’s a thousand dollars off our product' or 'rush to your nearest store', but usually wishing you a holiday full of joy, laughter, and love, and 'oh yeah - our products might just help you do that in the best way'. CTAs are important, but when you subtly incorporate it with a sincere message, it is doubly effective.

So with that in mind, here’s a list of 6 commercials - new and old - that we think have these 3 aspects in spades. 

Our 3 favorite throwback commercials:

The Coca Cola Polar Bear 

These polar bears have been around for a long time (the 90s). Feel old yet? This specific commercial was an instant classic. The polar bear didn’t even need words to convey the feeling of cracking open an ice-cold Coke. Classic, timeless, and perfectly satisfying - just like a Coke.


Campbell’s Soup Melting Snowman

Oh, the nostalgia. This takes us back to literally feeling like the melting snowman after coming inside from a day of sledding as a kid. We can literally feel the craving for soup coming up as we watch this one.


M&Ms meet Santa

Is there a better commercial out there? Because we haven’t seen one. This is hilarious and sweet - just like your favorite M&M’s. The nostalgia of childhood, the goofy yellow M&M, and the sweet sentiment of holiday magic through candy - a marketing masterpiece.


Jumping to 2019:

Frito Lay + Anna Kendrick's My Favorite Things

Couple Cheetos and the Sound of Music together and you get holiday perfection. Anna Kendrick’s voice is perfect for the brand as she brings life to this classic song and pairs it with a holiday pitch-in staple. It's a feel-good fun view. Frito Lay gets it.


Oreo + Elf’s First Christmas

This commercial hits you right in the feels and reminds you how much joy Oreos can bring. Putting Oreos out for Santa is a super sweet concept, and we’ll be thinking about this commercial every time we're in the cookie aisle.


Apple Ipad Commercial

Alright, who cut the onions? Apple just knows how to do commercials, and this one is no exception. I’ve linked the longer version here because it's worth the watch. It captures the power of technology in a single commercial. Apple designs things for easy use and interaction, and most importantly connection. Their tagline is “Think Different”, and the two girls in this commercial definitely thought outside of the box for a memorable Christmas memory. This one hits all the points of a good commercial.


Like any marketing masterpiece, these commercials leave you thinking about a product for (literally) decades. They are basically any brand's dream and deserve some recognition.

Did we miss your favorites? Sound off with your all-time faves!

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