It’s that time of year again when brands across the nation spend the majority of their annual budget on a Christmas ad that rivals the cinematography, casting (and budget!) of a feature length film.

In the past few years, big name brands have focused their aim at feverishly competing with the annual John Lewis advert. This year, Sainsbury’s festive campaign The Greatest Gift beat John Lewis to the top of the chart, but only in the UK – internationally, Buster The Boxer took first prize.

With giants such as these dominating the top TV ad space and your friends’ social feeds, lesser known Christmas competitors can be easily overlooked.

We’ve compiled a short list of great Christmas ads that might have slipped under your radar (although at the time of writing, Allegro’s ad had hit viral status on Facebook!).

Speaking of which…

Number 1.
Allegro – English For Beginners (Czego szukasz w Święta?)

This touching ad from Poland features a grandpa teaching himself English, and is a beautiful example of how service providers will sell their product through emotional advertising. The story is both entertaining and humble with a predictable yet heart-warming ending.

Number 2.
Alzheimers Research – Santa Forgot

Have the tissues ready for this one – it’s a tear jerker! Narrated by Steven Fry, this animated ad asks the viewer to imagine a world where Santa is living with the effects of dementia and no longer visits children on Christmas Eve. The question raised is through the assumption that we’d of course want to help him! So what can we do about it?

Number 3.
Burberry – The Tale Of Thomas Burberry

Ok, so this Christmas ad might not have slipped under your radar for the mere fact it had a £10million budget (it even played like a film trailer before the feature length film at cinemas), but it’s not been regularly featured in everyone’s Top 10 lists. Perhaps because it comes over as a little exclusive, and (we’ll be the first to admit) you don’t actually realise you’re watching a Christmas ad.
See for yourself:

Number 4.
Heathrow – Coming Home For Christmas

We seldom see Christmas ads from airlines, let alone ads for airports, but this year’s attempt from Heathrow uses teddy bears to charmingly epitomise the feel of the British airport experience (though leaves out the family arguments, security pat-downs, and realising you’ve exceeded the baggage limit and now have to fork out £80 on top of the £4.99 coffee you’ve already spilt down yourself).

Heathrow’s ad is all about reconnecting at this special time of year, and once you look past the unrealistically smooth journey our teddy bears take from Plane to Arrivals, it’s actually quite touching.

Which one is your favourite? Or are you still adamantly Team Buster The Boxer?

Let us know!

Jo Dec 8th, 2016

About Jo Haywood

Jo is the Managing Director at Skylark Media. Before starting Skylark in 2005, Jo ran the BBC Lifestyle website and prior to that directed science documentaries for the BBC and Channel 4. To switch off she can be found on the tennis court, at yoga, or planting trees in the forest garden.