John Lewis TV ad The Long Wait

The Best Christmas Marketing Moments of the Tenties

If you thought Santa’s elves had their work cut out during the run-up to Christmas, then you should spare a thought for the poor PR and marketing gurus of the world. Since time began (or rather, since chrimbo became a great big commercial goldmine) companies have made it their mission to one-up each other with the flashiest, tear-jerkiest, and most wholesome campaigns their merry minds could muster. And with the twenties due in less than a month, we thought we’d take a look back at our favourites Christmas marketing moments over the last decade. Tissues at the ready!

John Lewis ‘The Long Wait’ – 2011

John Lewis Christmas ads are notoriously emosh, and they certainly pulled the old heartstrings with their 2011 campaign. ‘The Long Wait’ follows an impatient young boy as he eagerly waits for Christmas to come – no doubt so he can get his mitts on some new toys like most kids. Or that’s what the ad would have you believe at first.

Instead, when he wakes up on Christmas morning, the bizarrely altruistic child runs past his gifts to retrieve one he’s been stashing in his wardrobe – and it’s for his parents. Awww.

John Lewis ‘Man on the Moon’ – 2015

What’s more heart-breaking than an old person being alone at Christmas? (Probably a dog being alone at Christmas, but that’s beside the point.) In 2015, John Lewis decided to break our hearts again with their ‘Man on the Moon’ advert, which highlighted the sad reality that nearly one million older people in the UK experience loneliness over the festive period.

Set to a genteel cover of Oasis’ ‘Half the World Away’, the ad follows a young girl at Christmas time as she looks up at the moon through her telescope and spots a glum, lonely old man pottering about on its surface. She tries to get his attention, but he can’t see her, so she gift-wraps a telescope and sends it up to him via some balloons. The old man miraculously receives his gift, gives her a wave, and admires the fairy-lit suburban dreamscape below him, which presumably makes him feel a whole lot worse. Still, it’s very touching.

Sainsbury’s ‘1914’ – 2014

Unless you bunked off history class, there’s a good chance you were already familiar with this heart-warming WW1 story: On Christmas day, 1914, some 100,000 British and German troops on the Western Front called a temporary truce, and during the brief ceasefire celebrated Christmas together in a touching display of humanity.

In 2014, 100 years after that day, Sainsbury’s aired their Christmas advert depicting the event in all its emotional glory. A £1 chocolate bar was put on sale to coincide with the campaign, with all profits going directly to soldiers, veterans and families of the British Army.

‘The Bear and The Hare’ – 2013

Yep, another tear-jerker from the master manipulators/marketing team at John Lewis – and possibly their most memorable. Set to Lily Allen’s rendition of ‘Somewhere Only We Know’, this advert follows the unlikely friendship between a bear and a hare, as the winter sets in and the bear prepares to hibernate and miss yet another Christmas, much to his chum’s disappointment.

To spare the bear from missing out this time, the hare brings a mystery gift to his cave, before re-joining the other woodland animals who are all busy decorating a tree. Then, just when we think Christmas will pass the bear by again, he comes plodding down the hill to join the fun. Cut to a happy hare, and then cut to the opened gift: a John Lewis alarm clock. Batteries obviously included.

Edeka ‘Coming Home’ – 2015

Nothing says Christmas quite like faking your own death to bring your adult children together. While the concept for this advert by German company Edeka was weird to say the least, it still tickled the world’s tear ducts enough to make it a viral sensation.

The advert documents an elderly gentleman as he endures Christmas after Christmas alone, while his adult children are too wrapped up in their own busy lives to spend it with him. This goes on until he ‘passes away’, and we see each of his children devastated as they receive the news. Eventually they all congregate at his house, where they find the dining table laid out for Christmas dinner, and their deceptive Dad standing there looking somewhat bewildered that his scam actually worked. “How else could I have bought you all together?” he says. You can’t help but wonder if this sort of behaviour was the reason they didn’t go and see him in the first place.

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