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Image / Editorial

8 forgotten Christmas ads worth watching again


by Jennifer McShane
14th Nov 2020
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Nothing says Christmas time like the bevvy of festive ads that bombard us until the end of December. Advertisements are undoubtedly powerful; they can make us laugh, cry, and, in this, case, evoke powerful, precious memories from our early childhoods


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.

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 there nothing cuter than this eager lad wanting a kiss from under the mistletoe? Height is a slight issue, but not for long thanks to this quick-thinking chap. 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 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, we have people singing about ending homelessness (still, unfortunately, a huge issue today) with a special coke type-tree added at the end.

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. 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, especially 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.