Yes, festive friends, it’s that time of year again! You’re undoubtedly excited about quality time with the family, the generous servings of fabulous food, and all the general merriment to come, but here at EW, we know the thing you’ve been most eagerly anticipating is the gift that is our annual holiday commercial countdown!
We’re sure there have been sleepless nights while you’ve wondered who will top the list like a shining star atop the tree this year. Will Kevin the Carrot return? Will Air New Zealand fly in with another hysterical holiday helping? Will Allegro make us all weep in wonderment? (Spoiler: No, because I couldn’t find the Polish store’s Christmas commercial ad this year! Please leave a comment if you stumble upon it.) Without further ado, grab some cookies and a mug of nog and settle in for a sizable dollop of Christmas spirit with 2018’s roundup of holiday commercials that do everything but send you to the stores.
Sometimes not everything goes to plan over the holidays, but did you know, all these years you could’ve been blaming the Christmas Fool for those busted lights, dried-out trees, and missing tape? Thankfully, ordering for British retailer Argos is all you need to fool-proof your Christmas.
Honestly, hit pause at 0:20 and gaze at Matt Smith. That is my Christmas gift to you. M.I.A., Kristin Scott Thomas, Naomi Campbell, and Valerie Morris-Campbell also star in this snazzy designer-label holiday ad.
The holidays are exciting, sure, but is there anything better than a friend getting to the next level of a computer game? Microsoft’s emotional entry reminds us of the important things at this time of year: Supporting and celebrating others, oh, and getting to the next level, of course.
18. Aldi (Australia)
If Santa stranded in the Outback is something you never thought you’d see, Aldi is here to change that. Poor guy doesn’t fare so well in those heavy clothes that are meant to keep him warm as he traverses the globe, but despite an ENORMOUS snake, some hard work, and some potential hallucinations, ol’ Kris Kringle makes it outta there in time to get all the gifts delivered by Christmas morn — well, hopefully…
It’s tough being an elf at Christmas; not only do you have to make millions of toys, but you also have to watch out for the threat of kidnapping by excitable children. Luckily, the clever creature in this Swiss ad has a trick or two up his sleeve to avoid becoming a heavily played with toy.
Nothing says holiday cheer like singing packaging! As always, Amazon is here to prove it has every single last possible need covered in every corner of the world when it comes to Christmas prep. Can you feel it? The inclination to buy all your gifts with just the click of a finger? I know I can.
We all have different ideas about how Christmas Day dining should go down (I’m particularly fond of the dude who suggests cheese!), but as long as we all agree on no sprouts at the dinner table we’ll be just fine. Right, mom?
Ah, the holidays! A season for showing our appreciation for our loved ones with gifts — hopefully better gifts than a brightly-colored lip gloss, but hey, this lady seems happy so who are we to interfere. And it’s the thought that counts anyway, right?
Look, I’m a sucker for animated kids and animals, okay? Just look how cute this little dude is, shoveling snow all day so he can save up pennies for a pet and then (!!) picking a three-legged dog as the pup for him! You’re right, Petco, giving does feel good especially when it does good! You’re all welcome.
Do you remember Kevin the Carrot from last year’s Christmas commercial countdown? Course you do! The little orange chap is back. This time around, he’s defeating a wicked parsnip (“the root of all evil” get it?) intent on roasting him (literally) and even has some miniature talking carrots in tow too — or baby carrots, if you will.
11. Cricket Wireless
What more do you need at Christmas than good friends and strong service to ensure you can share all your seasonal selfies on the ‘gram? Cricket Wireless is pretty sure that’s all that’s necessary for a fun festive period, and, honestly, they’re not wrong.
Another holiday season, another commercialized take on The Snowman. Not that we’re complaining; this adorable tale of a young girl’s fascination with the story and her dad’s dedication to see her dream of flying away with the Snowman realized, is enough to melt even the snowiest of hearts…maybe, just maybe.
If you’re surprised to learn McDonald’s sells carrots then you clearly didn’t read last year’s holiday commercial countdown. Anyway, they do, and good thing too because apparently, children around the world have been forgetting to leave a snack for the reindeer when they lay out cookies and milk for Santa. Of course, being the OG gift giver, Mr. Claus can’t stand for that and heads off to the nearest McD’s to
clean them out of pick up some crunchy carrots for his flying friends.
Well, if you haven’t teared up yet, get ready. Macy’s touching commercials shows love and festive feeling can truly traverse all obstacles — even hundreds of thousands of miles through space. In a successful attempt to makes us all weep, the ad sees an astronaut mom communicate with her family back on Earth as she dreams of being home with her daughter for Christmas. Top tip if you’re sending a gift to space this year: Gravity makes polystyrene foam packaging way more fun.
7. Air New Zealand
Last year’s runner-up entry Air New Zealand lands a little lower on the list this year, but that doesn’t mean it’s not hilarious! When Santa accidentally sends the naughty list to one of the kids who made that very list (“Santa, what have you done?!”), naughty kids from around the world gather for a summit (with the help of Air NZ), ready to do enough good deeds to get them off the list. Does anyone recognize the kid from the U.S.? If only the promise of Christmas gifts was enough to improve us all.
Did Apple, a multinational technology company(!), just make a commercial about the power of paper to bring people together? Ah, the paper is printed-out documents typed up/drawn on a Mac. Still, the animated kid and dog, emotive-song backdrop, and the uniting of strangers at the end is enough to get the tears rolling.
5. BBC One
The British Broadcasting Corporation never fails to deliver the festive feels. This holiday ad might start out a little slow and sad, but it soon exhibits what the holiday period is all about: making time for loved ones. Now I just need to figure out where to get that time/people freezing tool so I can get my shopping done in peace.
We all have certain conversations with family members we dread over the festive period, but I have to admit I’d never thought to just burst into song about cosmetic products to get out of those awkward moments. Let’s all start practicing now: “Have you heard about Olay mist?”
Last year’s top
dogs bears may have narrowly missed out on first place this time ’round, but the adorable and cuddly couple is back! When the bears realize Christmas isn’t much fun away from home in the Florida Keys, they jet home to England (via Heathrow of course) to reunite with their family over the festive period. Added bonus: gifts at Duty Free! Save those pennies, retired bears!
2. John Lewis
The man, the myth, the legend that is Elton John obviously deserves a Christmas commercial dedicated just to him. The ad takes us through the life and career of John as he performs “Your Song” at multiple occasions on multiple pianos and studios around the world. Actors portray John at different stages of his legendary career, as we see him from his very-cute beginnings, receiving his first ever piano as a Christmas gift, and ends with the real John tapping the keys himself. How wonderful life is now this ad is in the world!
Congrats to my mom’s favorite supermarket Sainsbury’s for snagging the top spot this year! Why did they win, you ask? Cute kids? Check. Costumes? Check. Cute kid dressed in a plug costume that literally runs at a socket to plug himself in? Check. Check. Check. Clearly that moment is the highlight of this wonderfully festive holiday commercial, though the sweetly-sung and inspirational song with a positive message built in is also pretty great. Dry your tears, quit feeling bad that a three-year-old girl can out sing you, and watch on loop while you get your festive feels on!