Christmas is all but a few days away, and our screens are filled with festive adverts designed to pull on our heartstrings. And of course, our wallets. But, with around £6.5bn being spent on Christmas advertising in the UK alone, it’s surprising to think that only a select few brands get it right. So, what really makes a great Christmas ad, and who nailed it for 2016?

We popped our Christmas hats on and debated the true meaning of a brilliant festive ad, one that makes you remember the true spirit of Christmas. And although we may never all agree on the best (so many discussions over ‘strong seasonal feels’, ‘intriguing storylines’, ‘a dash of humour’ or ‘lumps in throats’); we finally decided that these next few ads were pretty hard to beat.

English for beginners.

Featuring a grandfather who orders a ‘English for beginners’ set from Allegro, this ad succeeds in touching consumers’ hearts. With almost one million Polish people sharing a similar experience in leaving the country in search of a job, this ad has the perfect heart-warming and relatable storyline.

Santa forgot.

Both disruptive and beautiful, this ad highlights the varied symptoms and social isolation of dementia. Narrated by Stephen Fry, the ad reminds us that Santa too could be affected by dementia, like anyone, and through the depiction of Freya and Santa’s elves, we’re taught to believe in the power of research.

Get more out of giving.

Sweet, light-hearted and full of festive cheer, this Pixar-style animation from Very highlights the importance of spreading joy as far and as wide as you can. To add to this ‘joy of giving’ messaging, the London Eye was also light up in pink for the occasion, and 100 passers-by were handed gifts from the retail giant. Cute.

Christmas moments.

This beautiful, heart-warming ad by Lidl Ireland reminds us all that Christmas is about the people, not the presents, and that ‘giving’ comes in more than one form. Christmas for some people may be not be such a happy time, but friends and family can change that.

Christmas with love from Mrs Claus.

We’re all too familiar with the story of Santa Claus, but until now did we know about the true mastermind behind the magic of Christmas, or at least one M&S have painted for us. The strength and uniqueness of this ad lies in its focus on a strong female narrative, with Mrs Claus – an independent, confident and certainly fabulous leading lady.

Vicar and Imam meet for a cup of tea.

Pushing a message of inter-faith friendship at a unsettled time in the UK and US could have been risky for Amazon, but they’ve captured the moment beautifully. The ad simply reminds us of friendship, selflessness, and thinking of others – the perfect message to get people into the Christmas spirit.

The Snowman and Snowdog.

Okay, we might be a little bias here – but we absolutely love this Christmas ad nonetheless. After teaming up with animation studio Lupus Films and Penguin Books, we crafted this nostalgic film for Barbour. It tells a story of gifting in an original way, where Billy receives a gift he’ll always remember.

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