Battle of the festivities: memorable Christmas adverts | TQS Magazine

When Christmas comes around there are plenty of ways in which each year takes a foothold in the public imagination.

Obviously if the weather is particularly harsh (or mild) this can make a mark on memories, especially if snow is involved somewhere along the line.

However, since the TV became the centre point of most living rooms it has been the main focal point for the family to gather round, with only the dinner table giving it any real holiday competition.

This has led to many Christmases being defined by what happens on the box. The first real examples of this in the UK were when much loved comedy duo Morecambe and Wise made their Christmas Specials. Watched by record numbers of viewers, the shows featured other major stars of the day taking part in skits and sketches, often at their own comedic expense.


In recent times with the advent of self-scheduling, first by video tape, then DVD and more recently by hard drive recorders, there has been a move away from the mass viewing figure TV events and subsequently the ‘water cooler’ effect of people asking each other if they saw a certain show has diminished considerably.

What everyone does see now are the many Christmas themed TV clips that usually appear sometime in November. With these ads also commonly placed over a wide range of internet media as well as on TV and in the cinema, virtually everybody will come across the best ones each year.


Major companies have realised the importance of making just the right sort of Tv appearance for the festive period and this usually means it tugs on the heartstrings or makes a bold and glamorous statement. Budgets are set aside in their millions and some of the best and most talented people in the business are called upon to make the productions.

A perfect example this year is Sainsbury’s Christmas in a Day, a full 45-minute festive film directed by Oscar-winning director of Life In A Day Kevin Macdonald and produced by Ridley Scott.

It is even getting a cinema release in the UK on 29 November when it will be shown in locations across the country. Watch the video now.


Most of us will just see a three-minute trailer which is made up from the 360 hours of crowd-sourced footage showing how different people prepare for the festivities.

The emotional impact hits home at the end of the main feature, with a scene of a family recording a Christmas message to their father serving in the forces in Afghanistan who then walks through the door on a surprise return visit.


The idea of ‘coming home for Christmas’ has always been a popular theme for festive TV ads and another of the most memorable is Coca-Cola’s 1990 campaign ‘Holidays Are Comin’.

As the red and white image of Father Christmas himself is said to be based on the iconic livery of the brand, it’s no wonder that many people rank this particular clip highly.


Although some people think that the whole festive season is over commercialised, the fact is that most enjoy buying presents for friends and family and treating themselves to a few extras to celebrate the season.

The very best Christmas TV doesn’t really seem as though they are trying to sell something, but are more actively setting a scene and building a picture of how everyone can join in the fun and take some time out to appreciate what they have.

If anything, today’s examples of major TV clips at this time of year can add to the good memories of a particular time and place with clever use of images and music to remind us all that it really is a special season.