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Friday, December 21, 2012

Commercials Of Christmas Past

*tap tap tap*

Hello?  Anybody out there?  You can come out now!  The world hasn’t ended today!  We’re all still safe and sound, floating through space out of harm’s way...or at least until the next crackpot comes out of hiding and tries to predict the apocalypse yet again.

Today is December 21, 2012, and the only thing that is spectacular about today is that it happens to fall on the twenty-first day of The Pop Culture Addict’s Advent Calendar!  Aren’t you lucky!

For today’s blog entry, I have decided to make today an entirely commercial venture.  Oh, but don’t worry.  I’m not going to try to sell you anything (believe me, I make a horrible salesperson as it is).  Instead, I thought that we’d use this blog entry as a space where we can discuss our favourite (and maybe not-so-favourite) holiday ads over the last few years.

You can usually tell when the holidays are fast approaching when you turn on the television and during ad breaks, you see lots of snow, Christmas lights, and Santa Claus imagery amongst the cheeseburgers, shampoo, and automobile insurance salesmen.

What I find not so much fun is the fact that the holiday ads seem to begin earlier and earlier every year.  This past year, I remember seeing my very first Christmas commercial on HALLOWEEN NIGHT!  To me, that’s just plain overkill.  I suppose that by the year 2020, we’re going to be seeing Christmas ads in August, with advertisers trying to scare you into shopping early for the holidays.  After all, Christmas is only 120 days away!!!

Though, I digress.  Some of those holiday ads are quite memorable. 

So, I’ve searched through the darkest depths of YouTube high and low to try and compile a list of some of the most fascinating holiday commercials ever made.  And, I think I’ve come up with a great list.  Why don’t we start off with a classic?

Ah yes, the Hershey Kisses commercial with the silver kiss conducting a choir of red and green kisses to make a concerto of absolute sweetness?  It seems hard to believe, but this commercial has been delighting audiences for twenty-five least.  I’m not sure exactly when the date was that it first premiered, but quite a few sources pinpoint the origin as being 1987.  It could be a year or two off, but considering that I remember it playing throughout my whole childhood, I would estimate that to be correct. 

Now, I believe that the commercial was either redone in high definition or completely redone, because the version that I am seeing for 2012 is much crisper and cleaner than the 1987 version...but it’s still the same commercial to me.  And, as far as I am concerned, it wouldn’t be the holidays without it.  It’s simplistic, but traditional...and it really makes me feel like the holidays have truly arrived.

While we’re on the subject of chocolate, let’s take a look at this commercial from the mid-1990s?

I make no secret that I have a love affair with M&M chocolate candies.  I have a beach towel, wristwatch, candy dish, and I even received an M&M candy dispenser as a Secret Santa gift through my workplace this year (which works fantastic, by the way).  This commercial is a rather cute one, as both Santa and Red come face to face with each other and realizing that the other one is real before collapsing on the floor.  It takes the whole idea of “is there really a Santa Claus” one step further, and it paid off.  It also sees a heavy rotation over the holidays, and has now for almost twenty years.

Okay, we’ve talked about chocolate long enough.  So, why don’t we transition from chocolate to mocha to coffee for our next classic ad?

Okay, so this commercial first aired sometime during the mid-1980s, and in it, we see a young man named Peter coming home for the holidays from what I would assume was college or something else.  He tries to get inside without waking anyone up, but nothing ever gets by his baby sister!  So, he decides that instead of using a transistor radio, an alarm clock, or a megaphone, he will wake up the rest of the family by brewing a pot of Folgers coffee.

(In my family though, it would have to be Tim Horton’s coffee...they hate Folgers.)

Nonetheless, the commercial was heartfelt and tugged at the heartstrings...and it aired until the late 2000s!  Yep, that same commercial aired for over twenty years.  I guess the executives at Folgers woke up and smelled the coffee when they realized that the little girl in the ad would likely be in her thirties with kids of her own by 2009!  So, in 2009, a new Folgers ad was created...though I don’t think it’s as good.  Take a look for yourselves.

What?  The caffeine buzz from the Folgers coffee wasn’t enough?  Okay, fine, let’s tune in to a couple of holiday ads from the world of Coca-Cola.

That first one always makes me smile regardless of where I am when I watch it.  I believe that I first started seeing this ad sometime around 1993, so we’re going back almost twenty years here.  I just think that even though the ad is sponsored by a soft drink company, this ad just works at showcasing the wonderful holiday magic that the season has to offer.  Who wouldn’t want a giant fleet of transport trucks driving through your town, making every single tree, house, and building glimmer and glow in gleaming multicoloured lights?  The whole commercial was just incredibly done, and I think it was one of the best examples of really showing what the holidays mean to a child. 

I also loved this Coca-Cola commercial below.

First things first, any commercial that features either a polar bear or a penguin gets my seal of approval.  The fact that this commercial contained both makes it doubly special.  I also love the background message behind it as well.  It wasn’t the baby polar bear’s fault that he accidentally crashed the penguin party below.  He just slipped and fell.  But the cutest little baby penguin that pops up and offers the bear a nice cold Coke as a refreshment showed all of us that the holidays are a time to be together and to share love, joy, compassion, and kindness towards your fellow man.  I think that some people could stand to listen to the little baby penguin. 

Yes, you have found out my secret.  I’m a sucker for cute holiday commercials.  Here’s another one for you.

Okay, so that little kid in the commercial is probably a full-grown man by now.  The commercial’s still sweet.  I can remember many moons ago being that kid who played in the snow during the holidays, building snow forts, making snow angels, throwing snowballs at the annoying neighbours, and just chilling out in a winter wonderland.  And whenever I grew tired of playing out in the cold, Mom would always have a treat for me to warm up with.  It wasn’t uncommon for me to have a little cup of soup and a hot chocolate after vigorous play in the fluffy white stuff.  It wasn’t necessarily Campbell’s soup, but it sure hit the spot.  So, I can sort of identify with the little boy in the commercial...

...well, aside from the turning into a snowman part.

Oh,’s another one of my favourites!

For some reason, even though this commercial originally aired when I was a really young boy, I remember it like it was yesterday.  I know that some people are terrified of clowns, and they weren’t huge fans of Ronald McDonald, but after watching him pick up the ice skating challenged kid and twirling him around the frozen pond, that’s the moment I decided I liked the Ronald.  Although I am not a huge fan of McDonald’s now, I used to eat the Happy Meals when I was a kid...and I think a part of that had to do with the Christmas ad that I posted above.  The commercial was like my idea of what a perfect Christmas was like.  It was pure magic.

Of course, not all holiday ads bring joy to my heart.  Some of them are just tacky.  I know that I praised Hershey’s chocolate for coming up with their brilliant Hershey’s Kisses ad, but this one made me kind of throw up in my mouth a bit.

Okay, so the carolers are a nice touch, and I like the idea of the whole world being made out of Hershey’s chocolate.  Oh, heck, who are we kidding here?  With an insatiable sweet tooth, a world made out of chocolate would be my idea of heaven.

But, since when is Modern English’s “I Melt With You” considered a Christmas song?  Especially when you consider that the song is about a couple who are making love as a series of NUCLEAR BOMBS DESTROY THE WORLD!!!  Oh yeah, that’s a lovely song to promote a peaceful time of year like Christmas, isn’t it?

Ah, well...I guess they can’t all be gems.

Now, I open the floor to you.

What are some of your favourite holiday commercials? 

Coming up on Day #22 of the advent calendar, what happens when we experience the year WITHOUT a Santa Claus?

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