Friday, December 21, 2007

TV Commercials of the 2007 Christmas Season

by Chris Baskind @

Yule wreathFor children, it’s visions of sugarplums. But for the men and women who create the ads we see every day, Christmas represents a chance to trot out their best work during the year’s most important retail quarter.

It’s not as if Christmas is difficult to market. There’s plenty of opportunity to sell on emotion. The visual iconography of the holidays lends itself to warm, attractive advertising. And a little humor never hurts.

At snarfd, we’ve been taking a look at this year’s best commercial offerings. While a couple of us have fairly extensive backgrounds in broadcast and advertising, we’ll be honest: we’ve tossed aside the marketing rulebooks and chosen the ones which made us smile.

So … the envelope, please! Here are snarfd’s picks for The Five Best TV Commercials of the 2007 Christmas Season:

5. Apple Macintosh Computers. What sells this ad is the faithful reproduction of all those 1960s stop-motion TV specials. Santa (and the oddly conical pine trees in the background) seems to have been abducted from “Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer.” You expect to see the Abominable Snowman at any moment. As an aside, even though we’re an all-Mac shop here at snarfd, we still like the Windows guy best.

4. Tesco. The UK’s big box giant scored a marketing coup getting the Spice Girls to play hide-and-seek in their spot this year. Tesco has always carried a bit more cachet than, for instance, Wal-Mart. It’s no accident they’ve got Posh front-and-center. This ad is attached to a short news commentary on how Tesco pulled it all together.

3. Macy’s. This one had better make Macy’s registers ring, because it couldn’t have been cheap to produce. Emeril Lagasse, Donald Trump, Usher, Martha Stewart — and a surprisingly charming Jessica Simpson. Her sheepish “My bad!” closes Jessica’s Terrible Year™ on a high note. There’s some very strong copy writing to wrap it all up.

2. Oxfam. If you thought Jessica Simpson was cute in the Macy’s spot, wait until you see the star of Oxfam’s 2007 offering. We mentioned the group’s Christmas appeal last November: Oxfam’s attempt to link giving with specific low-cost, high-return investments they’re making in the developing world. Perhaps Oxfam Unwrapped might be a good last minute gift idea for someone on your Christmas list.

1. John Lewis. If you’re not in the UK, you may not be familiar with John Lewis Department Stores. But this was an easy choice for snarfd’s Best Christmas Commercial of 2007. It’s a fine piece of film making: unexpected, whimsical, and visually striking. Before you ask, the music is from Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet.” We’re betting Prokofiev CDs find their way into a lot of Christmas stockings this year.

Happy Holidays from all of us at snarfd.

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