The Adverts of Christmas Past: InQuire Looks Back

As the festive season kicks off and John Lewis’ Monty the Penguin becomes a familiar face on our screens, Jennie Nee looks back on the TV adverts past and present that have defined Christmas over the years.

Every year, the elongated build up to Christmas has the television screen bursting with countless adverts that associate themselves with the Christmas cheer. Over the years, there have been some memorable and widely discussed adverts. Most recently is the new Sainsbury’s display, which utilises a vastly impactful historical World War One event in marketing their store; something which has divided public opinion. In relation, I have looked back at a never-ending selection of Christmas adverts, with it being a challenging endeavour to decide on the stand outs.


Woolworths Christmas Advert 1983

We all remember Woolworths – it pretty much sold anything and everything, meaning it was perfect for those all-important stocking fillers. This advert is fun, happy, cheesy and colourful, perfectly encapsulating the Christmas period. Moreover, it advertises its products in an entertaining and creative way via the use of a catchy song, something which many Christmas ads are accused of overlooking.


Yellow Pages Christmas Advert 1992 – Under the Mistletoe

Yellow Pages inserts their product into an adorably charming scenario, depicting a young boy using the product as a foot stool in which he is able to kiss his childhood sweetheart under the mistletoe. The simplicity of this advert is what makes it so great. Unlike some of the other adverts, this one only spans 30 seconds, making it the shortest presentation on the list. However, the effect it has on the viewers is certainly longer lasting.


Sainsbury’s Christmas Advert 2014

This polarising Sainsbury’s advert is perhaps a controversial choice. Some say it is pointless, arguing it has nothing to do with Sainsbury’s and their products. Others look further than that, believing it is disrespectful in exploiting a tragic event to boost sales. Whilst I can understand this point of view, I personally do not see it in that perspective. Admittedly, my initial thought was how beautiful it is; reflecting happiness and peace between the soldiers despite the terrible conditions and ordeal they are surrounded in. Love it or hate it, it has certainly sparked discussion.


M&S Christmas Advert 2013 – Fairytales

The 2013 M&S advert perfectly embodies the magic and sparkle of Christmas by drawing on various different fairy tales to promote their campaign (as well as a stand-out cameo from Helena Bonham Carter). The creation of an elegant artistic feel complemented by an enchanting fantastical vibe makes for the perfect blend to target all manner of ages, stemming from young kids to grown-ups.


Coca Cola Christmas Advert 2010
This festive advert for Coca Cola re-appears year after year, with the anthemic and magical backing track always having a presence. Simply put, it never gets old.


John Lewis Christmas Advert 2011 – The Long Wait
John Lewis has fashioned a string of Christmas adverts, all of them being unique and memorable in their own right. The 2011 John Lewis advert is still remembered three years later, following the story of young boy eagerly awaiting Christmas, it seemingly depicts his excitement to open all his wonderful gifts he is likely to receive. However, due to a clever twist in the tale, it is eventually unveiled that this is not quite the case. The advert is an endearing tearjerker, perfectly capturing the Christmas mood in emphasising the concept of giving rather than receiving, adding to the notion of the importance of family.



One Response to “The Adverts of Christmas Past: InQuire Looks Back”

  1. Mary Gregory

    Dec 01. 2014

    The ones that evoke emotions are the most powerful. M&S and Yellow Pages do it for me, whereas Woolworths is memorable by being irritating and Sainsbury’s is just too OTT.
    Good article, thank you :-)

    Reply to this comment

Leave a Reply

© 2007 inQuire | Terms and Conditions | Privacy | Designed by Move Ahead Design