The holiday is in its full play, and major brands are bombarding us with another portion of Christmas-themed commercials. While most of those will soon be forgotten, some might get on the list of Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity to become legends. “The Loupe” took a look at the recent ad “Oscar winners” 2014-2017 in order to track the latest tendencies.

Year 2014

Christmas Miracle

Brand: WestJet Agency: Mosaic Award: Bronze Lion (Live Experience, Social Video) Canadian airline WestJet went further than advertising. The Calgary-based company has turned their Christmas campaign into a real-time giving for 250+ people flying to Calgary. WestJet offered their passengers to talk to a virtual Santa and ask for a present while scanning their boarding passes. When people landed in Calgary, the asked-for gifts started to fill up the baggage carousel. If that is not worth an award, then what is?

Sorry, I Spent It on Myself

Brand: Harvey Nichols

Agency: adam&eveDDB

Award: Grand Prix (Retail Stores)

The top-end British department store Harvey Nichols has won a Grand-Prix for playing with the idea of selfish shopping. Their Christmas commercial features self-indulgent people presenting their loved-ones with pretentiously named rubbish. The awful gifts could actually be bought at Harvey Nichols – the store was pairing them with luxury items anyone would like to keep for oneself.

Year 2015


Brand: Sainsbury’s Agency: AMV BBDO Award: Silver Lion (Travel, Leisure & Retail) Sainsbury’s, the second largest chain of supermarkets in the United Kingdom, unlocked the insight that Christmas is not just about buying. Their commercial dramatizes the real World War I episode when two opposing sides laid down their arms to share greetings on Christmas day 1914. Though Sainsbury’s had only got silver, “1914” claims the title of the most powerful holiday campaigns ever.


Monty’s Christmas

Brand: John Lewis Agency: adam&eveDDB Awards: Grand Prix (Direction) 2 Gold Lions (Visual Effects, Integrated Campaign led by content platform), Silver Lion (Retail Store), Bronze Lion (Integrated) Millions of people all around the world watch this heart-whelming advert over and over again. The touching story of a boy and his toy penguin has brought a high-end department store John Lewis to the deafening triumph at Cannes Lions Festival 2015. The key to success was dwelling on the concepts of love, friendship and sincerity.


Year 2016


Brand: Edeka Zentale Agency: Jung von Matt/Alster Awards: Grand Prix (Use of Original Composition for a Brand or Campaign), 2 Bronze Lions (Direction, Integrated Campaign) A friendly warning for those who haven’t watched this commercial video yet: it might break your heart. One of the saddest Christmas adverts of all times was made for German supermarket Edeka. It features a lonely elderly man whose children are always too busy to come home for holidays. The only thing he can do to gather them for a family dinner is to fake his own death.


Year 2017

Christmas with Love

Brand: Marks & Spencer Agency: Y&R London Award: Silver Lion (Use of Broadcast) Who rules Christmas? Santa? M&S do not think so. Their holiday commercial stars a brand new hero – Mrs Claus (looking as classy as Claire Underwood). She flies to London in her own red helicopter to help a little boy who wants to present his sister with new glittery trainers (instead of those his dog has ruined). Both fresh and recognizable, this story has earned more than 8.5 million views on YouTube. All thanks to Mrs Claus.


English for Beginners

Brand: Allegro Agency: Bardzo Award: Bronze Lion (Online: Fiction under 15 minutes) Polish online auction website decided to follow Edeka’s lead. The brand’s weeper shows a senior man learning English at his desk, on the bus, even in his bathtub. All by himself. However, the mood is more cheering than pitiful since his efforts are awarded with a long-awaited meeting. And a Bronze Lion.


So, it looks like Cannes Lions tend to favor heartwarming Christmas stories with a hint of humor or real-life drama. However, 2018 may change the trends. We still have plenty of time to see. But for now – share your favorite Christmas commercials in the comments. Let’s spread the holiday spirit onto the web!