5 best holiday ad campaigns

The best holiday ad campaigns are the ones that become engrained into your holiday experience.

To the point you don’t even realize these are advertisements that exist to curry your sentiment and your dollars.

When you see any of the following ads it suddenly it “feels like Christmas.” Part of the appeal is that you only see these ad campaigns during the holiday season. The remaining portion is due to how well-crafted each of these are.

Corona “O Christmas Tree” Ad

Corona Extra’s ”O Tannenpalm” holiday ad campaign became an iconic staple of holiday TV programming. The ad, made for an estimated $50,000 almost 30 years ago, has been running untouched since 1990 and has been keeping the holidays LIT AF.

Appearing every year from Nov. 1 through December, some “O Tannenpalm” viewers have literally grown up watching the commercial—and now buy the beer to go with it.

The commercial, created by ad agency Campbell Mithun Esty in 1990, is the longest-running beer ad and the second-longest-running holiday ad of any kind, behind Hershey’s famous kiss-bells spot.

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Hershey Kisses “Christmas Bells” Ad

“Christmas Bells” is a television commercial produced by the Hershey Company promoting Hershey’s Kisses. The advertisement, originally produced with stop-motion animation and later being redone with CGI animation, features Hershey’s Kisses, fashioned as a handbell choir, playing the Christmas carol “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”.

It debuted in December 1989 and is shown in the United States and Canada each holiday season; as such, it is the longest-running television commercial for the Hershey brand.

They tried to launch an updated version in 2020 featuring a human hand, but people got pissed.

“Hershey’s redoing their Christmas commercial is personally the last straw of 2020 for me,” one person tweeted.

Internally this was referred to as the “whimsy” campaign. Ogilvy & Mather was the advertising agency behind the spot and David Apicella served as Creative Director.

Budweiser Christmas Featuring the Clydesdale Horses

Anheuser-Busch aka Budweiser has produced some of the most best holiday ads of all time, and the 1987 Budweiser Christmas commercial is no exception.

I have no idea why, but I can hum the entire song in the commercial from start to finish with absolutely minimal effort. How many times does a person need to hear a jingle for it to be essentially implanted into your brain?

Or is it less about quantity and all about how it pulls on your feelings and engrains itself via the feelings it imbues/tickles?

In this holiday, the Clydesdales are bringing into town a giant Christmas tree. People rejoice and the holidays are officially being enjoyed.  The message: Budweiser wishes only the best for the Christmas season.

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Folgers Coffee “Peter Comes Home” Holiday Ad

Folgers’ “Peter Comes Home” ad first aired in 1986. A presumed college student named Peter gets home early Xmas morning after a snowstorm delayed his arrival. He drops some presents under the tree and proceeds to make a pot of fresh Folgers coffee with his little sister.

While the aroma of fresh Folgers moves through the home, the pleasurable aroma wakes up the rest of the family and they meet in the kitchen and proceed to live, laugh, love.

This holiday ad campaign has not run on a consistent basis for multiple years. Actor Greg Wrangler played the role of Peter.

“People constantly tell me they “Saw it just last Christmas”. The truth is that it hasn’t been on for at least a couple of years now… at least four I think … but the spot ran for over 17 years, so it stands out in people’s minds, and memory.”

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Captain Morgan’s “Miracle” Series

For their holiday ad campaign in 2008, Captain Morgan created a mini-campaign consisting of three advertisements designed to make a Captain and Cola the drink of the holiday season.

Loosely contained under the tagline “Holiday Miracle or Hammered Hijinks?” There were three separate spots; Lime, Spill, and Coaster.

Each ad consisted of a person in a holiday party environment, about to enjoy a Captain and cola. And in each scenario, a potential impediment would arise.

But thanks to the Captain, a voiceover would whisper the word “miracle” and the problem would be solved – bingo, bango, BONGO!