Nothing says Christmas time like the bevy of festive ads that bombard us from early November. Advertisements are undoubtedly powerful; they can make us laugh, cry, evoke powerful, precious memories from our early childhoods and make us question whether we really needed to purchase that extra pair of shoes (the short answer is yes). This year, we’ve been blessed with some good ‘uns from the tearful John Lewis to being told how to avoid #GiftFace and a celeb-filled effort from Burberry. But what about the ads of yesteryear? The vintage gems that decades ago, really were about embracing that Xmas magic. From the delightful Yellow Pages ad to a (very) young Alan Hughes pre-pantomime stardom and a warm and wonderful effort from Penneys, these may have been temporarily forgotten but thanks to the strides in technology (YouTube), they’ll exist in our hearts for years to come. Here we’ve chosen eight of our favourites from times of Christmas past. Watch them below and enjoy the memories.
1. Penneys Christmas Ad (1996)
This animated festive offering is a sheer delight to watch. We love the ultra-cute, wide-eyed boy excited for Santa’s arrival and props to them for the subtle branding used throughout. The ‘theme’ was also big on the radio back in the day. It’s a sweet offering, although if this were made today, there’s no way they’d miss the chance to showcase their fabulous selection of PJs and fluffy socks. Their early nineties effort also warrants a mention.
2. Yellow Pages Christmas Ad – Mistletoe (1992)
Is their nothing cuter than this eager lad wanting a kiss from under the mistletoe? Height is a slight issue here but not for long thanks to this quick-thinking chap. We reckon he wouldn’t come by such a solution so quick in this day and age, and we wouldn’t advise standing on your laptop as an alternative. Decades later, it has lost none of its charm.
3. ESB Going Home (1980s)
This ad is of the era, but epitomises the feeling of going home to your mammy come Christmas time. It’ll be cold and windy but you’ll be with the ones you love, and that’s what matters.
4. Kellog’s Christmas Ad (1991)
This was all of us, every year, for probably longer than we’d care to remember but it captures the magic like few have managed to since. From Santa himself, to the adorable little one and cosy house, this takes us right back.
5. Coca-Cola Christmas Hilltop Ad (1970s)
Though everyone associates Coca Cola with the now infamous red van, there was obviously a time when it did not yet exist. Instead at one stage coke fans were amicably singing about ending homelessness (still hugely topical today) with a special coke type-tree added at the end. Watch it for a visit back to a 70s utopia of sorts.
6. McDonald’s Ice Skating Christmas Ad (1986)
While we can appreciate that this live-action/animated creation was deemed cute back in the day, now there’s something a little strange about a wild looking Ronald McDonald attempting to ice-skate across a frozen lake… Or maybe we’re just being over-sensitive? Make of it what you will.
7. Toys R Us: Magical Place (1989)
“There’s a magical place, we’re on our way there, toys in the millions, all under one roof…” Thus begins the jingle that was the soundtrack to Christmas for a generation of children who grew up in the late 80s. Its theme was undeniably catchy and we hope the writers received their just rewards, as this one was played on a loop for months.
8. Guinness Christmas Ad (2011)
Though this one isn’t really old enough to be featured officially in our countdown, there’s no way we could leave it out. It’s spine-chillingly gorgeous and reminds us that no matter what else may happen in the run up to the festive days, Ireland, covered in snow, is a magical place to be at Christmas. And whether you’re home or abroad this year, it serves as a little reminder of the beauty of where we call home.
Which is your favourite?