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The Best Christmas Marketing Campaigns Ever from the Businesses That Got it Right

Written by: Keith Tully

Published: 23rd December 2014

Christmas marketing campaigns seem to get bigger, bolder and in most cases better each year. The blend of dewy-eyed Christmas schmaltz and turbo-charged commercialisation presents the perfect opportunity for advertisers to warm the cockles of consumer hearts and, invariably, lead to them being putty in their hands.

Christmas adverts are now seen as an official curtain raiser for the festive season but in truth, they always have been. Here, we look back at some of the greatest Christmas commercials dating back through the decades to the modern day... with not a penguin in sight.

OXO – 1984

The late, great Lynda Bellingham starred in a series of memorable stock cube commercials for OXO between 1983 and 1999, helping her to become a household name. Lynda died in October this year after a long battle with cancer but the much-loved actress will be with us on Christmas Day as the classic ‘My Christmas’ OXO advert will be screened by ITV once again in her memory.


Throw in some adorable children, a roaring open fire, an opulent tree and some mistletoe and you have the perfect ingredients for a truly heart-warming scene which sees a young boy finally ‘get the girl’... with a little help from the Yellow Pages.


In recent years, Christmas advertising has become an annual beauty contest for upmarket retailers such as Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer and John Lewis. In 2013, the latter stole the show with their animated production of charming woodland animals, the Bear and the Hare – in tandem with the mellow and haunting tones of Lily Allen’s cover of Somewhere Only We Know.


Sainsbury’s epic depiction of ‘The Christmas Truce’ on the anniversary of the First World War was a piece of breathtaking and poignant cinema. The four-minute long advert tells the real-life tale of British and German troops laying down their weapons, coming out of the trenches, and playing football together in No-Man’s land to celebrate Christmas. The commercial has sparked huge debate; not for its production which is spectacular beyond question, but for the ideology of commercialising an event which saw such enormous loss of life.

COCA-COLA – 1995

The now world-famous festively decorated Coca-Cola truck debuted in 1995 and has become a real Christmas curtain-raiser when hitting our TV screens each year.

IRON-BRU – 2006

What do you get when you mix a sugary drink with an adaptation of a popular Christmas film? Kids going wild for Irn-Bru. Drink maker Barr's version of the classic Walking In The Air first aired in the UK eight years ago and has become one of the nation's favourite adverts.

WEST-JET – 2013

Not exactly a TV advert; more of a viral web sensation; WestJet hit gold in 2013 with their incredibly heart-warming Christmas commercial which saw passengers urged to tell Santa, in the departures lounge, just what they wanted for Christmas. After their long flight had landed, they were left jaw-dropped by what was waiting for them in Arrivals...

Merry Christmas from all at Real Business Rescue

Keith Tully

Keith Tully

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Keith has been involved in Business Rescue since 1992, during which time he’s worked for both independent and national firms. His specialties include company restructuring matters and negotiating with HMRC on his clients behalf.

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