The Magnificent 7 – the best Christmas ads of all time

To be honest, this year’s Christmas ads have all been a bit so-so, although a couple have stood out above the rest. But then opinions differ widely on what makes a good Christmas ad and what makes a bad one. Afterall, some people think this year’s Lidl’s advert is the pinnacle of greatness, while we think it’s a bit conceited to imagine your brand will still be around that far into the future!

But after much discussion (and arguments), the MBC team have come up with what we think are the best seven Christmas ads of all time. And to stop any further arguments, the following are listed in no particular order.

Excitable Edgar – John Lewis


This ad from 2019 ticks all the John Lewis Christmas ad boxes. A classic song most of us know, an outsider and no products to speak of.

But unlike this year’s ad which comes across as formulaic and, to be honest, a bit boring, this ad has something else – humour and a cute dragon. Normally, we don’t like it when brands insist on anthropomorphising animals, but given dragons are a mythological creature, we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

And it is a nice, heart-warming ad, although we can’t help feeling that is a very small Christmas pudding for rather a lot of people!

English for beginners – Allegro


In case you were wondering Allegro is a Polish auction website, and just like the John Lewis ads in the UK, their Christmas ads are anticipated in Poland with bated breath.

First released in 2016 and getting seven million YouTube views in the first 10 days,  this wonderful ad shows an elderly man on a mission to learn a new language. With lots of funny moments along the way (although we feel a bit sorry for the rubber duck who gets it both barrels), the final reveal of why he is learning English will bring a tear to the most cynical of eyes.

#ReindeerReady – McDonald’s



Okay, we don’t normally like ads where animals are basically being starved, but there is a certain amount of charm about the McDonald’s 2018 Christmas ad. Yes, it is questionable why so many people aren’t leaving out any reindeer food (people can be so thoughtless!), and we do wonder why Father Christmas doesn’t come prepared with some snacks, but he makes up for it in the end. And it’s actually nice not to see any burgers being thrust down our throats.

Phenomenal Christmas – Irn Bru


We just love it when a brand takes on a Christmas classic and turns it completely on its head. This 2006 ad from Irn Bru is a masterclass in how to get it right.

1914 – Sainsbury’s


Made in partnership with the Royal British Legion and inspired by real events from 1914, this thought-provoking ad from Sainsbury’s actually received hundreds of complaints when it first aired 100 years after the ‘actual’ event in 2014. Some said it was distasteful that Sainsbury’s was using war imagery for commercial gain, while others said it should have been clear from the start it was an advert.

Whatever you think, there’s no doubt that this is a work of art, beautifully highlighting the importance of friends, family and sharing at Christmas.

Fast Forward – Waitrose & Partners


Who hasn’t at some point wanted to fast forward bits of Christmas just to get to the food?

And we just love the fact that it basically dismisses the John Lewis ad staring Elton John. Savage but fun.

There is no naughty list – Tesco


This year’s Tesco ad might have angered quite a few people  but did you know that the 2020 ad did as well? Parents were a bit cross that thanks to the ad saying Santa has no naughty list, it encouraged their children to misbehave.  You seriously couldn’t make it up.

But what makes this ad great is that it doesn’t shy away from how difficult 2020 was for us all and cleverly interweaves key defining moments into its narrative. The best bit – Santa’s holiday!!

So that’s our list of best Christmas ads of all time. Hopefully, you agree with at least some of them!

We  wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.