22 December 2020

The best of 2020: audibly merry holiday ads

Expert comment
The holidays might be a little different this year, but we can still rely on the most festive advertisements to bring a little merriment to our screens.

After all, ‘tis the season that brought us Santa Claus, polar bears, the northern lights – and that’s just Coca Cola.  As December arrives, we delve into some of the best festive ads of the season, and see how they’ve effectively matched voice and music to deliver a combination of nostalgia, relatability, and a much-needed wave goodbye to 2020.



Hershey’s – Heartwarming the World – Bells to Blossom

The sound of the chiming Hershey’s Kisses bells have heralded the arrival of the holiday season for over three decades – and for the first time ever, Hershey’s has added a new twist to its classic commercial. Introduced by their instantly recognisable audio logo, the audio then quickly shifts into a warm, jazz-infused version of ‘We Wish you a Merry Christmas’ – tapping into the nostalgic sweet spot while blending the traditional with the modern. With a nod to the fact more people are baking at home than ever before, it’s an ad that easily warms hearts, homes and appetites.


Miller Lite – Farewell, Work Holiday Parties – ‘Tis Miller Time

We’ve seen weird, and we’ve seen wonderful – but no-one has captured both as effectively as Miller Lite. In collaboration with artist and photographer Alex Prager, they’ve re-enacted clichéd work scenarios with 15 hyperrealist sculptural figures – resulting in the world’s most unnerving office shindig. With more than a hint of uncanny valley, the clip is scored by the dulcet voice of Andy Williams, with his slow, almost maudlin tone adding to the overall comedic effect. The concept is to poke fun at the awkwardness of office parties, but it also puts a positive spin on the idea of a more stripped-back celebration.


Mark & Spencer’s ‘This is M&S’ featuring Olivia Colman

Marks & Spencer’s now iconic advertisements have arguably done more to sensualise food than even the most provocative of chefs – and they’re reviving that much-parodied seductive voice-over to remind us to eat, drink, and be merry. Grey London has created nine ads narrated by some of Britain’s most beloved thespians – including Olivia Coleman, Dame Helen Mirren, and Tom Hardy. And while the food is mouth-watering, the vocals are really the star of the show here – proving once again the power of the well-known, and well-delivered voice.


The Body Shop

The Body Shop also debuted their first festive TV spot this year – taking an entirely different route by forging an exclusive partnership with Channel 4 to help raise awareness of youth female homelessness in the UK. Showcasing the talent of artist Rasheeda Page-Muir, the segment shines a spotlight on tough truths through the medium of spoken word poetry. This vocal performance delivers real impact on the viewer in the way it adds real weight and emotion to the words, and conveying a strong message in a memorable manner.



Tesco has singled themselves out from the supermarket pack with a playful advert that declares a ‘no naughty list’ amnesty.  Following research that showed 74% of people wanted light-hearted content this year, MediaCom produced a comedic TV spot that sees relatable folk across the UK own up to sins including bulk-buying and bad zoom manners. And it’s all set to “Oops!…I Did It Again,” by Britney Spears. While not traditionally festive, it’s an effective choice of song that underpins the concept perfectly – proving that a song doesn’t have to be a holiday classic to strike a chord at this time of year.


The Gifts of Eggs – Proposal

American Egg Board has also taken a comedic approach – skewering the extravagance of the festive season, and traditional holiday gifting advertising. Their new campaign ‘The Gift of Eggs,’ consists of 15-second films where extravagantly wrapped diamonds and sports cars are replaced with the simpler joy of a carton of eggs – and the traditional orchestral holiday music and ‘showbiz’ style of the voiceover only works to enhance the satirical angle.


Sodastream & Snoop Dogg – The Small Things

Snoop Dogg is the face – and voice – behind SodaStream’s global holiday season push – another example of the strength of celebrity endorsement, and the power of a familiar voice in shaping consumer action. But what’s particularly noticeable in this ad, is the effective juxtaposition of hip-hop music in a seasonal commercial.

Explaining that the reason behind his happiness is finding meaning in the little things, The Doggfather enjoys a festive family meal… bakes gingerbread cookies… and gives a PSA about single-use plastics alongside an endangered turtle in this surreal yet oddly wholesome festive fable.

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