Our Favorite Holiday Ads:
2019 Season Edition

‘Tis the season for festive decorations, gift-giving, sugar cookies, and our personal favorite— holiday ads.

As 2019 draws to a close, we asked some Celts to choose their favorite holiday ad of the season and to make their case as to why it stuck with them. Get into the holiday spirit and take a look at the results below.

Marlene’s Favorite: “Happy Holidays” by Amazon
Question: How does a materialist company use love as its sales pitch?
Answer: With song. That’s exactly what Amazon did with their “Happy Holidays” ad. They’ve taken the “everybody needs someone to love,” lyrics and connected our family get-togethers with their packages. Instead of downplaying the gift giving, they’ve made it part of the celebration. It’s probably the closest representation of what we all really do at the holidays and they have allowed us not to feel guilty about it. Bravo.

Jim’s Favorite: “Be a Kid at Christmas” by Haford Hardware
I was immediately drawn to the Haford Hardware 2019 holiday commercial. This kid has serious screen presence. The song is perfect and the story is charming. But the best part is that it only cost $130 to make. Sure the editing and composition are beautiful. But the true beauty of this spot is that it demonstrates that good ideas don’t need major production apparatus and budgets. Good ideas just need someone with passion and a clear vision. So my takeaway is if you have an idea and see a simple way to make it happen, take a leap of faith and go for it. And if you are able to use a cute kid to support your idea, it just might help.

Jeremy’s Favorite: “Spotify Wrapped” by Spotify
Music streaming service Spotify is creating a new holiday tradition with its annual “Spotify Wrapped” feature. Users are given a recap including the songs, artists, genres and podcasts they listened to the most over the course of the year with social media friendly infographics and shareable playlists of their top songs to help share their indie cred with the world. I can vouch firsthand for the effectiveness as my social media has been flooded with these recently, and it seems I’m not alone. One report states that downloads of the Spotify app grew by 23% in the three days following the release of this year’s “Wrapped” feature!

Danielle’s Favorite: “A Holiday Reunion” by Xfinity
This winter, Xfinity launched a four-minute commercial reprising the beloved 80s movie character, E.T. The mini sequel is brilliantly stitched in short vignettes and completely pulls at the heart strings. Whether or not you are a child of the 80s, you can’t help but feel the love. The “reconnect for the holidays,” message is an effort to bring warmth to the brand and promote its Sky technology. Though Comcast declined to share the production spend, it definitely has the entertainment value as it did when the movie first launched in June 11, 1982.

Blair’s Favorite: “Book of Dreams” by Argos
The “Book of Dreams” spot by British catalog retailer Argos grabbed me within the first few seconds and kept me smiling and bobbing my head throughout. Set to the iconic song “Don’t You Forget About Me” by Simple Minds (made famous in 1985’s The Breakfast Club movie), the ad delightfully focuses on a dad transported into an alternate universe after spying the drum set his daughter has circled in the holiday catalog. His joy is palpable as he becomes a bona fide rock-band drummer and his darling (and talented) daughter joins him on the stage in their minds to jam along to the track in front of adoring fans. It’s fun, lively, and emotionally showcases the dad/daughter bond.

Lee’s Favorite: “Magic in the Air” by New York Lottery
New York Lottery continues its winning streak of promoting their scratch-off games in a fun and humorous way. Their new holiday spot blends everyone’s favorite light hearted human and animal partnership with a nice accompanying music track. At the end, the sense of optimism and unexpectedness leaves you with a feeling that there’s a chance anyone can win.

Kurt’s Favorite: “The Gift That Doesn’t Give Back” by Aviation Gin
Actor Ryan Reynolds and his brand of gin released an ad on social media featuring the same actress that starred in the infamous Peloton commercial, “The Gift That Gives Back.” Aviation Gin’s video is wittily titled “The Gift That Doesn’t Give Back” and features the Peloton Wife surrounded by friends toasting to “new beginnings,” while drinking the gin. While the video does not directly reference Peloton, Reynolds’ four-worded tweet “exercise bike not included,” made it clear that Aviation Gin was targeting the viral Peloton commercial. The tweet drew over 7,000 retweets and more than 41,000 likes in the first two hours. This ad is a perfect example of how digital marketing has the ability to effectively capitalize on trending news in a timely and creative way.