There are so many things to love about Christmas: food, music, decorations, parties, presents, spending time with friends and family, and so much more. However, we’d be lying if we said we didn’t let out a squeal of excitement at the thought of all the festive Christmas adverts.

From the anticipation of the iconic John Lewis and Coca-Cola ads to the surprise early ad that comes out in October, Christmas adverts form a very important part of our overall Christmas experience.

There have been hundreds of hilarious, emotional, memorable and just fantastic ads over the years; we couldn’t possibly choose a favourite… but we’re going to try!

So, pour yourself some mulled wine, pop the Christmas tunes on and get ready for our list of the best Christmas adverts of all time, with some special shoutouts to our favourite ads of 2023.


The Best Christmas Ads of 2023


#1 Make this Christmas Incredibublé - Asda 2023

Asda has once again sleighed the Christmas ad game, hiring the King of Christmas as their new seasonal Chief Quality Officer. 

When you think of Christmas, you can’t help but think of Michael Bublé which is why this year’s ad from Asda is a stroke of pure genius!

After last year’s iconic ad featuring Buddy the Elf, the bar was set very high for Asda but they delivered not once but twice. That’s right, prior to the full ad being released, they put out a one-minute long teaser trailer that was almost as fun as the ad itself. It did a great job of building anticipation and excitement, ensuring people flooded to watch the ad when it was released, for fear of missing out. FOMO is a form of Loss Aversion, a behavioural principle whereby the pain of losing is more powerful than the pain of winning so people will go to lengths to avoid it.

What we love more than anything about Asda’s brilliant ad is that, despite Michael Bublé taking centre stage, the star of the show is still the supermarket’s range of Christmas food. They bring fun and capture the magic of Christmas without compromising on their brand, products, and messaging.

#2 Joy Ride - Amazon 2023

Our second favourite Christmas ad of 2023 is from Amazon - a delightfully heartwarming ad that tugs at the heartstrings and brings some well-needed Winter warmth to people’s screens.

The ad follows three elderly women reminiscing about their childhood, as they watch children sledding. Proving you’re never too old to play in the snow and have fun with friends, the women decide to join in, with a little support from a padded seat swiftly ordered from Amazon.

Why do we love this advert?

  • We can’t help but smile every time this ad comes on. It brings together friendship, nostalgic memories and Christmas…all of our favourite things!
  • As the audience, you create a connection with the three women as they take you through their childhood memories. You feel their joy and nostalgia, and it’s contagious! Focusing on three main characters in detail rather than lots of fleeting characters follows the idea of the Identifiable Victim Effect (spoiler alert: Skip to ‘#2 on the list of our top Christmas ads of all time below to learn more).
  • This ad champions Amazon’s products and highlights some of its USPs in a subtle, yet effective way. They order easily on the website and the delivery arrives quickly, saving the day so that the women can enjoy an afternoon of sledging - well played Amazon, well played!

#3 Kevin and the Christmas Factory - Aldi UK 2023

It’s fair to say that Aldi’s marketing game is one of the strongest out there, particularly on social media. You’ll be pleased to hear that their Christmas ad lives up to expectations.

After the success of last year’s Home Alone inspired ad, Aldi have continued their theme of using iconic films with a clever play on Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, featuring William Conker and Kevin the Carrot. The ad showcases a wide range of Aldi’s food, from Christmas puddings to roast potatoes, with the infamous ‘chocolate river’ even being made from gravy!


Our Favourite Christmas Ads of All Time


#1 Holidays are Coming Campaign - Coca-Cola 1995-Present Day

Our first festive favourite has been running for over 25 years, and we bet you can hear the ‘Holidays are Coming’ jingle in your head already!

Every year, the sound of Coca-Cola’s iconic Christmas trucks makes us feel like Christmas is well and truly on its way. Simple but incredibly effective, Coca-Cola nails their ad year after year.

Hannah Kane, Senior Growth Marketing Manager, says: “Once you hear that song, Christmas is coming. 

“I remember when I was younger watching X Factor and hearing that song on the adverts, you knew Christmas was just around the corner. 

“It is so nostalgic, and the fact they don't need to change anything in the ad year after year shows how powerful it is!”

What we love about the Coca-Cola Christmas ad is that the brand goes one step further by combining it with out-of-home marketing to create anticipation, excitement and all-around Christmas magic. Every year, the infamous Coca-Cola truck goes on a tour, and in the past has been through locations such as Wembley Park in London, Bluewater in Kent and Dublin in Ireland.

Many say that seeing the bright red, twinkly truck is the beginning of their countdown to Christmas, and despite being over 25 years old, it’s proving to be more and more popular every year. Online searches for ‘Coca Cola Christmas truck’ this year are higher than in the last five Decembers!

#2 Monty the Penguin - John Lewis 2014

When you think about Christmas adverts, your mind probably wanders to John Lewis pretty quickly. From dragons and snowmen to penguins and animated hares, John Lewis has released some memorable ads over the years.

However, there’s one that’s stuck with our team for almost a decade! In 2014, John Lewis released ‘Monty the Penguin’, which follows a young boy and his penguin best friend. As the young boy realises Monty is lonely, he surprises him with a girlfriend of his very own and makes his dreams come true.

By focusing on Monty the Penguin for the majority of the ad, rather than having a wide range of characters and people, John Lewis uses the Identifiable Victim Effect to their advantage. This is the behavioural nudge that suggests that having one individual who is described at length will evoke much deeper emotions than a group of anonymous individuals.

Hannah says: “Everything about this advert was perfect to me, from the music to the storyline, it was utterly heartwarming and exactly what I needed to see. 

“It was also a genius move by John Lewis as you could purchase Monty and bring the advert to life.”

This Christmas advert pulled at people’s heartstrings and was a complete commercial success, as John Lewis reported a ‘4.8% increase in like-for-like sales across the five weeks to Christmas’. Want to learn how to take a leaf out of John Lewis’ book? Read our blog on how to increase conversions at Christmas.

As John Lewis have had so many brilliant Christmas ads over the years, we couldn’t leave without mentioning their 2011 ad ‘The Long Wait’. Hannah says: “I adored this because it’s all about pure excitement. Not for opening presents, though, but excitement at giving his parents a gift that he chose himself. This is something that sat so well with me, and I resonated with massively!”

#3 1914 - Sainsbury’s 2014

This emotional and powerful Christmas ad was chosen by several of our team as one of the most memorable Christmas ads of all time.

Nick Harris, our Graphic and Motion Designer, says: “Thinking back, the Christmas advert that stays in mind for me is the Sainsbury’s 2014 centenary of the 1914 WWI ‘Christmas Truce’ where the soldiers laid down their weapons, rose from the trenches of No Man’s Land, to exchange Christmas greetings, rations and a game of football.

“The Sainsbury’s advert portrays this beautifully – complete with a dusting of snow, a Christmas carol, suspense, drama and ending with a warm sense of feel-good emotions.

“What I particularly loved about this Christmas campaign was the vintage design of the chocolate bar, reminiscent of the era. This certainly nudged me and many others into buying a few bars as gifts, which raised around £500,000 for The Royal British Legion Charity.

“Christmas is all about sharing!”

#4 The Big Night - Sainsbury’s 2018

Sainsbury’s is a true festive force to be reckoned with when it comes to Christmas adverts, with their 2018 ad also being a firm favourite amongst the team. Proving they can go from one emotional extreme to the other, ‘The Big Night’ is a stark contrast to ‘1914’, with a Nativity-esque depiction of a school’s Christmas show.

So, why does this make the list? It’s simple really. This Christmas ad appeals to everyone:

  • It’s relatable to children, who may be putting on their own school Christmas shows
  • It’s nostalgic for young adults, who can reminisce back to their school days
  • It’s emotional for parents and families, who know what it’s like to wait nervously in the audience for their child to perform

This Christmas ad has also given us one of the greatest moments of the 21st century: ‘Plug Boy’.

The stage is filled with students dressed as shining stars, snowflakes, baubles, turkeys and… a plug. That’s right, affectionately named ‘Plug Boy’, the advert sees a student dressed as a plug take a running jump into a giant socket on the wall. Behind him trails a line of students dressed as Christmas lights, whose costumes light up when plugged in.

Brilliantly bizarre, ‘Plug Boy’ has been the topic of many conversations and is still being talked about today, giving us no choice but to put ‘The Big Night’ on our list of the best Christmas ads of all time. Well done, Sainsbury’s!

Key Takeaways

After reminiscing about all our favourite Christmas ads over the years, we truly wish it could be Christmas every day!

So, what have we learnt about what it takes to be crowned the most iconic Christmas ad the world has ever seen?

  • Show your understanding of human behaviour by incorporating the Nostalgia Effect into ads, playing on childhood memories such as classic films and memorable milestones
  • Emotion is the key to Christmas success, whether you make your audience laugh, cry or both!
  • Brand plays just as important a part as the video itself - Coca-Cola’s Christmas truck has become part of their brand identity
  • 1 memorable moment can go a long way - ‘The Big Night’ may not have made the list if it wasn’t for ‘Plug Boy’

Are you looking to compliment your seasonal ads with marketing from other channels? Come and chat with us about Paid Media, SEO, Digital PR or Customer Experience. We can help you supercharge your marketing strategy to elevate your business above your competitors. Get in touch with us today!

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Wordsmith Morgan joined the Reflect Digital team fresh out of University and is learning about the world of digital marketing while supporting the SEO team with highly engaging content. With a background in website administration and social media, she also brings a broader perspective to her clients. 

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