Best Holiday Commercials on our Nice List

Published on in Director's Cut

by featured blog contributor, Jeremy Pinckert

As professionals in the media industry, we tend to view television and online video advertising with a different set of eyes. But just like everyone else, we too get caught up in the emotion and magic of the season. Here’s the best holiday commercials on our “Nice List” for 2012.

#5 Apple + Best Buy “Finding Santa”

This ad gets props for incorporating the much-maligned Siri and Maps apps in one boy’s search for Santa and the North Pole. Watch to see one of the best payoff shots of the year in this holiday television commercial created by Wunderman:

#4 Macy’s “Another Miracle on 34th Street”
Macy’s holiday adverts are using hard-to-beat A-list celebrities like Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift and Donald Trump, combined with one timeless character who’s never been off any A-list! This spot gets a mention on our Nice List for the art design and scripting by JWT New York, and Framestore’s visual effects magic, teaming  Kris Kringle from the 1947 film with the stars of today.

Tied for #3 Old Navy “Plug in the Pop”
Following in Macy’s star footsteps, Old Navy and Crispin Porter Bogusky are bringing in a few stars of their own to their holiday television ads this year with a slight twist: these stars are nostalgic 1980’s and 90’s celebrities. Clearly product-focused in their advertising, at least Old Navy can poke fun with magically appearing sweaters, jeans, and of course, fleece! Here’s the best of the bunch with Chevy Chase and the rest of the “Christmas Vacation” crew. For an extra laugh, see Chevy poke fun at the many different “Rusty” and “Audrey” characters throughout his movies in this TV ad “Sweater Sequels” And for everyone who had NKOTB Tee-shirts and Boys II Men trapper keepers growing up, here’s Old Navy’s special gift to you: “‘Twas the Jordan Knight before Christmas.”

Tied for the #3 Target “Wrap It”
As a fan of The Avengers, and a father of a four-year-old who literally thinks he is the Incredible Hulk, I would be reticent to not put this latest holiday television commercial from Target on the Nice List. The shots are well crafted, the lighting in the house warm but extremely realistic, and the interaction between actors, props, and characters like Spider Man and Iron Man superb.   As every media & marketing professional knows, at the end of the day, the best storytelling wins. The top two of our Best Holiday Television Commercials on our Nice List are no exception. Both are from UK companies, both are longer TV ads, and both feature stories which tug on our heart strings.

#2 John Lewis “The Journey”
Wow, this story is simply epic. The music bed, a song called ‘Power of Love’ by Gabrielle Aplin, is soaringly powerful. Using this memorable soundtrack and static, clean visuals, the creators of “The Journey” succeed in transporting you to a magical world, where neither rain, sleet, mountains nor snow will keep a Snow Man from finding the perfect gift for the Snow Woman he loves.

#1 ASDA “Behind Every Great Christmas, there’s Mum”
For the Best Holiday Commercial on our Nice List for 2012, the decision was very close. While #2 “The Journey” is more cinematic, sweeping, and beautiful, the story of our top TV ad is more familial and resonant. The #1 slot goes to another UK company, online grocer ASDA with their “Behind Every Great Christmas, there’s Mum” campaign. Created by Saatchi & Saatchi, the ad captures perfectly all the hectic holiday moments which go into making the perfect Christmas. I can’t imagine the extent of the location scout for all the different scenes in this holiday TV ad, but the director, DP, and actors did a great job of accurately selling the poignant moments to a viewership who can certainly identify with at least a few moments in the commercial. Happy viewing and Happy Holidays to all! (As you may have heard, ASDA did receive some backlash claiming the ad sexist, but as ASDA recognized in a statement, over 80% of their shoppers are mums and the response from their target audience has been overwhelmingly positive. For the purpose of our list, the ad is being graded as a standalone product, and the spot still deserves a #1 in my estimation.)


Jeremy Pinckert is a Chicago Director of Commercial Advertising and Branded Digital Video Content for Explore Media. His work has won over 40 Telly Awards, Best in Show ADDYs, and an Emmy Award. You can follow him on Twitter @jeremypinckert, see him on LinkedIN, or view his reel here.

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About the Author

Jeremy Pinckert
Jeremy Pinckert
Jeremy Pinckert is a Chicago Director of Commercial Advertising and Branded Digital Video Content for Explore Media. His work has won over 40 Telly Awards, Best in Show ADDYs, and an Emmy Award. You can follow him on Twitter @jeremypinckert, see him on LinkedIN, or view his reel here.

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