The Christmas season is finally upon us! Everyone is bringing out their favorite Christmas movies and are decorating their house from floor to ceiling. There are tons of traditions people look forward to year after year, and I have an odder one. To me, Christmas commercials are as big of a Christmas tradition as Rudolph or The Grinch. Some I grew up with, and some are before my time that I discovered over the years. In celebration of the Holliday season, here are ten classic Christmas commercials.
10. M&Ms Meet Santa
It just isn’t Christmas until Red and Santa faint at the sight of each other. This classic ad originally aired in 1996 and can still be seen on TV today. Red and Yellow are setting out a bowl of M&Ms when they catch Santa in the act. Red and Santa are shocked the other exists and simultaneously faint, leaving Yellow puzzled. The ad was so popular, a sequel was made in 2017 showing Yellow attempting to deliver presents for the unconscious Santa.
9. Caroling Kisses
Another classic Christmas commercial that still gets air time is the Hershey’s Kiss ad simply titled Bells. A group of Kisses perform a bell rendition of We Wish You A Merry Christmas and end with one Kiss nailing a long note. The ad aired in 1989, and amazingly is still enjoyed today. The ad was updated a bit in 2018, as Hershey’s launched a site where users can create their own version of the ad using different bell noises. This is an ad that just screams Christmas, and the season doesn’t feel right without it.
8. Campbell’s Snowman
A Christmas commercial speaks for itself when it hasn’t aired in decades and is still fondly remembered. Campbell’s launched this ad in 1993, and it aired throughout the 90s and early 2000s. The commercial follows a snowman as he enters a welcoming-looking house to escape a frigid winter storm. He settles at a table with a bowl of Cambell’s soup. He eats it, and it warms him up enough for him to start melting. When the snow is gone, it is revealed he has been a human boy the whole time. This ad gives off a warm and cozy feeling and is a perfect companion with one’s favorite Christmas specials.
7. Coca-Cola Polar Bears
The Coca-Cola Polar Bears have become as synonymous with Christmas as Santa Claus. The Bears as we know them debuted in 1993. This original ad sees a group of polar bears watching the Northern Lights while enjoying a bottle of Coca-Cola. There have been countless ads featuring the Bears, and each one is full of Christmas cheer. While they debuted in 1993, the first time Coke used the Arctic bear in an ad was in 1922 according to the Coke website.
6. Batman VHS Release
I wasn’t around yet, but even I know Batman was everywhere in 1989. This was the year Tim Burton’s Batman was released and it was one of the biggest movies of all time. Warner Bros. knew the hit they had, so they rushed the movie onto home video in time for Christmas. This ad proves as much, as it emphasizes the tape is the ultimate gift. The ad shows the tape under a Christmas tree, as well as a shot of the tapes making the shape of a tree. This ad may not be the most iconic Christmas commercial, but a Christmas ad that has Danny Elfman’s Batman score deserves recognition. Funny thing is, Batman 89 has nothing to do with Christmas. That was saved for the sequel, Batman Returns.
5. Pepsi Nintendo Promotion
Something else that was everywhere in 1989, was Nintendo and Mario. In Christmas of that year, Pepsi capitalized on this with a cross-promotion. The contest they ran was a dime a dozen, buy a product, and maybe win some goodies. What made it shine though, was the commercial. The commercial showed Mario going through a grocery store dressed as Santa. If this wasn’t enough, there was an 8-bit rendition of Deck the Halls playing. Things like this aren’t seen as much these days, and that is a real shame as this ad is a Christmas classic in my book.
4. Ronald Skating
Ronald McDonald is an advertising icon, even if he was kinda creepy in his first decade. There have been plenty of McDonald’s Christmas ads in the past, but this one from the 80s is the one Christmas commercial connoisseurs enjoy the most. The commercial is simple, showing Ronald skating with some kids. One boy seems to be afraid to join his peers, so Ronald sees to it he has fun as well. This warm fuzzy feeling is perfect for this time of year, and everyone loves Mickey D’s.
3. Now That’s What I Call Christmas!
Now That’s What I Call Christmas! was a spin-off album of the Now That’s What I Call Music! albums of the 90s and 2000s. The album came out in 2002, and the accompanying ad was pure Christmas bliss. The Christmas commercial was filled with classic Christmas tunes and had fun animations along with them. The Now albums aren’t as popular as they used to be, but many remember this commercial more than the company itself.
2. Hess Fire Truck
The Hess Trucks have been a Christmas tradition since the 60s. In 2000, Hess released a fire truck and a fondly remembered ad. Hess gas stations sold toy trucks every Christmas season, a tradition that continues today. The jingle featured in the fire truck ad is still stuck in my head all these years later. Much of these toys are sought-after collecter’s items today, and with ads like this, it is easy to see how they are so popular.
1. Apple Frankenstein Ad
This is the newest ad on the list, having debuted in 2016 but remaining as classic as the others. Brad Garrett portrays Frankenstein’s monster as he attempts to leave his comfort zone and be accepted. The ad is as heartwarming and emotional as all great Christmas commercials should be. Apple perfectly captured the feeling of Christmas and showed that nobody should be alone for the holidays. This ad is still remembered fondly today, and odds are it will be for a long, long time.