World’s best ads ever #99: Spanish Lottery’s ‘Justino’ joins the weepy Christmas greats
We asked our readers to vote for their favorite commercials of all time. Top creatives from the World Creative Rankings and The Drum’s Judges’ Club then ranked the ads. Now, we bring you the definitive 100 best TV and video ads of all time.
It takes a pretty special ad to break through at Christmas, especially in Britain where crying over a Christmas campaign has become something of a national pastime. It’s a season dominated by epic weepies from John Lewis (some are included in this top 100) and every year sees many big brands try in vain to get the same kind of headlines for their own festive tear-jerkers. Few succeed.
And then, in 2015, along came The Spanish Lottery.
The spot is for the Anuncio Loteria de Navidad, a hugely important Christmas lottery announcement that dates back to 1812. Campaigns for this annual event have been running for years, but ‘Justino’ was the first to really break through to an international audience.
The Daily Mail declared that “it might the best Christmas advert yet”, Cosmopolitan said it would “make you feel all the feels” and MTV challenged readers not to cry when watching.
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The success was in large part thanks to its animated style. Leo Burnett Madrid, the ad agency behind it, and production firm Passion Pictures, leaned on the popularity of films like Pixar’s Up to tell the story of the solo night guard of a mannequin factory who plays comedic pranks on his daytime colleagues.
And while it ticks every predictable box in the emotional Christmas ad journey – lonely protagonist, piano music, feel-good ending – the result feels less saccharine, more sincere, than many, many efforts from other brands to replicate that first collective weep over a festive ad.
It achieved more than 1m views within 24 hours of appearing on YouTube and continued to reach the masses through a clever social media campaign that saw it jump on trending topics. Remember the black-and-blue or white-and-gold dress saga? Well, the ad featured the dress on one of the mannequins. A mannequin also donned a Darth Vader costume in honor of the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
‘Justino’ was awarded the Grand Prix in the Cyber category at the Cannes Lions festival a year later. At the time, it was described by jury president Chloe Gottlieb, co-executive creative director of R/GA US, as finding success for being both “at the level of Pixar” and simply “not a TV spot put on YouTube”.