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The Best and Worst of Holiday Advertising

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The holidays bring many things along with them, from trips to the winter market, spiced apple cider, time spent with family, visiting Santa, and much more. And of course, we can’t forget… the slew of holiday advertisements that bombard us on social media, YouTube, Hallmark movie commercials, and those plastered on every billboard.

As marketers, we love this time of year because we get to create fun, festive ads for our clients to promote their holiday events and specials. But more than that, we love getting to examine the best (and even more fun) the worst holiday ads. In this blog, we are diving into the best and worst holiday advertisements. Viewer discretion advised.

Ads that bring us cheer

Coca-Cola: Real Magic at Christmas-2021

Coca-Cola is always on our list for the best, heartfelt holiday advertisements. Coca-Cola frequently utilizes the theme of bringing people together in their advertisements, and this ad is no exception. The commercial features a young boy bringing his community together by creating a chimney for Santa to deliver presents. After a year of isolation and separation, this advertisement really pulls at the heartstrings and celebrates the beauty of the holiday season. Coca-Cola has done it once again.

Omino Bianco: Laundry before Christmas- 2007

While this ad is a little outdated it is too clever to not make the cut. This ad, from an Italian detergent brand, made this incredible ad in 2007. The ad features a disgruntled Santa Claus in a faded pink suit. The beauty of this ad is its simplicity, without using many words we can tell what has happened to Santa’s traditional red suit. The ad features the tagline “try to be good, at least with colours”. The best part about this ad is you don’t have to know what Omino Bianco is to understand what they are advertising.

Sandscripts: Find the Perfect Holiday Gift- 2021

Of course, I had to plug Robert Sharp & Associates when talking about the best holiday ads. Our graphic designers are especially busy this time of year creating memorable holiday advertisements for a wide variety of clients. Whether it’s to promote their holiday events, special Christmas sales, or just to bring awareness to their business, our team can do it all. This ad for Sand Scripts stood out to us in particular. Sand Scripts is a company in Rapid City that offers personalized gifts and custom engravings, so it is the perfect opportunity to advertise holiday gifts for friends and family. Utilizing festive fonts, colors, and imagery this ad provides a clear call-to-action and showcases potential gift ideas for anyone on your list!

Ads that bring us fear

Of course, we can’t talk about the best ads without discussing the worst. From cheesy to downright strange, these ads have made the naughty list.

Bloomingdale’s: Spiked Eggnog- 2015

In 2015, Bloomingdale’s department store released an ad in their Christmas catalog that made headlines for all the wrong reasons. The ad features a man and woman with the text “Spike your Best Friend’s eggnog when they’re not looking”. The ad received tons of criticism online from people saying the department store was appearing to encourage date rape. We aren’t exactly sure what Bloomingdale’s was going for with this ad, but whatever it was, they definitely missed the mark. The ad received so much negative press the store actually issued a formal apology stating, “In reflection of your feedback, the copy we used in our recent catalog was inappropriate and in poor taste.”

Plenty UK:  XMess-2020

We have mixed feelings about this next ad. While we get what Plenty was going for by showcasing the mess the holiday season can bring this ad was just a little too cringe for our tastes. We get the joke and while the ad does make you chuckle it is just kind of… gross. We’re all for a humorous Christmas ad, but this one felt a little off-putting. From baby vomit to cat poop, to grandpa stuffing his dirty hands up the turkey, this ad made us feel a bit uncomfortable. However, if that was Plenty’s goal then they nailed it.

Lucky Strike Cigarettes: 1936

We had to throw in this vintage ad from 1936 to show how far the advertising world (and our knowledge of healthy practices) has come. Granted, we understand that smoking was much more accepted in the 1930s before we knew the dangers of nicotine. But Santa Claus promoting cigarettes? Really?  We love this ad for its vintage charm, but if someone made this ad today, they would definitely be getting coal in their stocking.

It’s not too late to capitalize on the magic of the holiday season by creating a memorable ad to promote your business. Give the experts at Robert Sharp and Associates a call at (605)341-5226. Our team can help you with every aspect from ideas, to execution, and making sure your ad is seen by the right people. When we design you an ad, we check it twice to make sure you won’t end up on the naughty list.  Happy holidays from your friends at RSA!

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