There’s still a little holiday magic left in advertising
For 10 months and 27 days out of the year, commercials are a nuisance. They’re intended to sell a product or idea, and most consumers (intent on hanging on to their hard-earned money and entrenched opinions) avoid them. But on Super Bowl Sunday and throughout the month of December, advertisements shine bright enough to grab our attention and maybe even change our perspective on advertisements, for a little while anyway.
Annually, the Obsidian team reflects on the holiday-themed commercials, ads and marketing spots that resonated with us. Here are a few examples that filled our festive hearts enough to stand out in our holiday-shopping-list-filled minds.
Courtney – Coke Real Magic
I love this cinematic approach to the storytelling, which Coke is especially known for around the holidays. This piece is about hope, imagination, community and the true spirit of Christmas. Warm fuzzies all the way!
This year, Peloton made a comeback after 2019’s holiday ad sparked controversy. Actor and comedian Brett Gelman brings exciting energy to this festive retelling of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, and I have to say I love the pep, sparkle and the message that perfectly sums up Peloton’s mission of bringing fitness to anyone, no matter what stage you’re in. It’s funny and may just inspire me to get moving a little more this winter!
Whitney – Kohl’s Dance With All Your Heart
This commercial makes me smile every time I see it. As I get older and I watch my parents progress in age, I’ve seen how happy they get to spend time with my niece and nephews (their grandchildren). This ad reminds me how tender and precious life is and how we must not forget to show love to our elders – especially during the holidays.
Kelli – I also intended to choose Coke Real Magic because it makes me think of all the things Christmas should be…togetherness and magic. But since Courtney and Brittany did that, I’ll go with my close second, Hobby Lobby’s “Christmas is what you make it.” I have three little girls. Our house is full of crafts, coloring books and a wholehearted belief in all things magic. And I identify with the parents in this commercial. Last year, Christmas parties were few and far between, and Santa pictures at the mall were socially distanced. So my neighbors and I got together and brought Santa to our neighborhood for an outdoor photo shoot, complete with a big chair I dragged out there in my cool mom minivan. Because our children’s experience was worth it. Hobby Lobby perfectly tapped into every parent’s desire to “make” their child’s Christmas perfect!
Christina – Wayfair’s “The Host”
What I love most about the holidays is tradition. My immediate family always comes together at my parents’ house, and we have festivities that we look forward to every year, including Christmas Eve Mass followed by Nochabuena. Wayfair’s commercial “The Host” reminds me of my family because no matter what is happening in our lives, our parents always go above and beyond to welcome their grown kids and host a Christmas that’s traditional to the Babus.
Murray – The Host
With so many missing loved ones during the holiday season, this commercial from Wayfair is totally relatable, making it memorable as a result. It pulls on the heartstrings while also exhibiting subtle humor to keep the piece light.
Taylor – Does Santa shop here?
Home Depot used the holidays as an opportunity to publicly thank its employees. In this clever television spot, employees in the store’s Fairbanks, Alaska, location are tight-lipped about one of its most notorious shoppers. The spot was warm without being cheesy and heartfelt without making me cry. That’s a recipe for holiday commercial success in my book!
Gracie – Xfinity’s “Come Home”
When I saw Xfinity’s “short film” debut during this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, I couldn’t help but smile! Directed by Garth Jennings, the writer and director of the Sing films, this holiday commercial promotes resilience, togetherness and tradition. This one has definitely put me in my holiday feels!
Carlee – M&M’s “They Do Exist”
I know this is older, but I saw it run on TV recently so I’m counting it. This commercial is one of my all-time favorites – it reminds me of Christmas Eve excitement while getting ready for Santa. I’ll always love this one.
Jenna T. – Apple’s Saving Simon
I’m a crier, sure, but if you’ve seen Apple’s 2021 commercial “Saving Simon” – shot entirely on an iPhone 13 – you’ve probably cried too. Anything that can tug at my heartstrings and make me feel sad, happy and grateful at the same time deserves a mention, and this one is no exception. Saving Simon is all about this little girl and her snowman. She saves him from being trampled by her brother, puts him in the freezer and checks up on him every day for a whole year until it’s time to place him back in the snow again the next holiday season.
Brittany – Coca Cola’s “Real Magic”
Coca Cola has done it again – they’ve created yet another ad that illustrates happiness during the holidays! Not only does this video show children utilizing their creative juices to create a chimney for those who don’t have one, but it also provides a sense of community and togetherness that we haven’t experienced in so long because of the pandemic.
MC – Wrappin’ with Coolio
Christmas is always one of my favorite times of the year, especially for commercial watching – brands always get so creative with their messaging! I especially love commercials from brands that you typically wouldn’t expect to see on television, like Hormel Foods. This year, Hormel teamed up with rapper Coolio to take viewers on a fantastic voyage through a world where everything is better wrapped in the company’s Black Label Bacon – even the Christmas gifts! They actually advertise a bacon-scented wrapping paper that viewers can win, which is so clever. The commercial is the perfect combination of unexpected, witty, cozy and nostalgic! It makes me laugh and think about Hormel bacon.
Jenna W. – Apple “Saving Simon”
I’m a sucker for anything heartwarming, and Apple really created an advertisement that is more than just selling a product. It tells a beautiful story that taps into the warm feelings around the holidays and the people that we look forward to being able to gather with. Especially with COVID, we crave the sense of togetherness with those that we haven’t seen in a while even more.
While I love a good heartwarming, holiday-themed commercial for the season, it’s really comedy that grabs my attention the most. Christmas movies are one of my favorite things about this time of year. Chase created this commercial with a nod to Home Alone, which is an absolute classic in my book. It’s such an effective way to pique the interest of those familiar with both the timeless film and popular actors and comedians of today with its cast of Catherine O’Hara and Kevin Hart.