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It's the most wonderful time of the year again, but this year is set to be a little different. After a testing time for many around the world, a heavenly host of brands are seeking to add a little festive cheer to their 2020 offerings.
But it wouldn't be Christmas without a few tears, and the emotional Christmas ad is a mainstay of the genre. With offerings from the likes of Disney, Zalando, John Lewis, McDonald's and more, scroll down to see a selection of this year's Christmas ads that are more than likely to tug on your heartstrings.
For project information, creative credits and more, click on the project to expand to full screen and then click on the stars to vote for your favourite.
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Disney: ‘From Our Family To Yours’
Disney’s charming Christmas ad is inspired by the themes of traditions and family togetherness in a year that has upended both. Exploring the relationship between a gran and her granddaughter, the animation is certain to tug at the heartstrings.
Running across 26 markets in Europe, as well as Australia, New Zealand, North America and parts of Asia, ‘From Our Family To Yours’ holds the same production values as any Pixar movie would.
Based on insight from consumers that traditions, family and nostalgia were the most important things to them in the run up to this Christmas, the short sees the introduction of two characters – a grandmother, Lola, and her granddaughter.
The Drum spoke to the entertainment giant’s brand and creative marketing director for EMEA to find out more about its year-long creative and production process.
Notonthehighstreet.com: ‘The Magic of Small Things’
Notonthehighstreet.com's festive spot serves as a reminder that this Christmas it's all about the little things, and taps into the national, pandemic-accelerated shift towards supporting small, local businesses.
The spot encourages us to cherish the simple moments of connection that we have all been missing this year, by celebrating the small but mighty moments in life, like little surprises and thoughtful gifts from independent businesses.
Amazon: ‘The Show Must Go On’
This year Amazon's festive spot tells the inspiring story of a determined young ballerina who inadvertently brings her community together amid the challenges of 2020.
Set to an arrangement of Queen’s ‘The Show Must Go On‘, the film features 17-year-old French ballet dancer Taïs Vinolo as her character is forced to train from home due to the pandemic.
While her dreams of dancing a lead role are cancelled due to Covid-19, she doesn't let this hold her back and she continues to practice her routine – dancing wherever and whenever she can. Inspired by her resolution and resolve, her sister and the community around her pull together to give her a stage and an audience in an emotional finale.
Etsy: ‘Gift Like You Mean It’
Etsy's 2020 holiday ad campaign features three emotional stories that highlight the power of a meaningful gift.
In the first spot, titled Nana, Etsy shows how a gift can connect family members who are unable to gather in-person for the holidays. In another, titled New Guy, we see how a gift becomes a symbol of acceptance for a same-sex couple. And in the third, titled Shiori, a gift becomes an object of pride for someone struggling with self-identity.
Each spot highlights a story of connection, inclusivity, and acceptance that everyone can relate to while spotlighting the personalized, one-of-a-kind, gifts you can only find on Etsy.
Zalando: ‘We Will Hug Again’
Against the backdrop of a challenging year of uncertainty and separation, Zalando is celebrating the hug as the ultimate expression of human connection and solidarity. Created by Anomaly Berlin, 'We Will Hug Again' is devised to convey a feeling of optimism and hope across Europe.
This message of hope will be depicted across numerous formats. Firstly, it will be brought to life through a series of Hug Portraits which will appear as large unbranded murals in visible urban locations across Europe. It will also include a heartwarming film, '100 Years of Hugs,' directed by Vincent Haycock, and set to the track ‘Godspeed’ by Frank Ocean.
John Lewis: ‘Give A Little Love’
Despite years spent perfecting the right ratio of emotion, joy and nostalgia, the John Lewis Partnership had a colossal task on its hands this year to lift the mood of a deflated nation.
Focusing on kindness rather than gift-giving, the ad is just one element of a much wider charity initiative that the partnership will push into 2021. It features a variety of animation styles, and is set to a custom track by up and coming singer Celeste
Together with Waitrose & Partners, John Lewis is hoping to raise £4m for its chosen charities - FareShare, which helps those facing food poverty, and Home-Start, which works with parents who need support. It also intends to raise an additional £1m for local charities. The charities will use these donations to provide food, comfort, emotional support and advice to families who need support this Christmas.
McDonald's: ‘Inner Child’
McDonald’s UK has wrenched hearts (again) with an emotional Christmas spot.
The latest Christmas ad shares DNA with Pixar-favourite Inside Out and tells the simple story of a single mum trying to get her son into the Christmas spirit. But there is resistance. The mopey teen grump tries to stay true to character but eventually cracks when his inner child wins out.
McDonald’s has favoured an animated spot for the last two years, and reindeer and carrot snacks for four years. The campaign #ReindeerReady series aims to remind parents of McDonald's healthy carrot sticks (reindeer snacks).
Inner Child marks the start of McDonald's wider campaign, which includes a collaboration with FareShare that hopes to provide one million meals to families in need this Christmas.
Coca Cola: ‘Christmas 2020’
This year, Coca Cola took a break from its iconic 'Holidays Are Coming' spot to give us an emotional ad for an emotional year.
Directed by Oscar-winner Taika Waititi, the ad follows a father who works on an oil rig, who will stop at nothing to deliver a letter from his daughter to Santa.
The spot reminds us that after a troubling year, making time for the ones we love is what makes Christmas truly the most special time of year, no matter how we do it.
O2: ‘Unwrap the Magic of Christmas’
O2 launched its first-ever Christmas brand advertising campaign this year.
The ad features ten-year-old Darcy Murdoch tentatively taking to the ice rink alone, in an epic winter landscape. Darcy, a young professional ice skater from Dundee, is just one of millions of young people unable to participate in the sport they love this year due to lockdown.
Great Ormond Street Hospital: ‘Home For Christmas’
Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity (GOSH Charity) launched a special animated film to bring to life the journey patients make from hospital to home at Christmas.
Teams at GOSH work round the clock to ensure seriously ill children have the best chance of getting home to their families for Christmas. For those children who need to stay in for treatment over the festive season, staff go above and beyond to make the hospital feel like a ‘home from home’.
To see more Christmas crackers from the world's biggest brands, click here.