As we head, sprinkled in elf dust and draped in tinsel, into the countdown to Christmas we find we are carried along by a wave of festive emotions sparked by well known brands and media, but what is it that we really love about these brands as Christmas?
CocaCola quietly introduced their Christmas Truck advert in the US way back in 1995, then known as the ‘Christmas Caravan’, a very modern take on the 3 Kings on their Camels delivering gifts across the desert. By 1998 it was being transmitted in over 100 countries to millions of viewers and quickly became the first annual TV ad to herald the run up to Christmas and though the ad is little changed, still holds this spot today. What started as 3 set trucks is now a worldwide fleet of real-life, full size, chrome laden, good old American rigs loaded full of Christmas cheer, bringing a whole heap of joy to kids (of every age) across the world… few brands could even dream of ‘owning’ Christmas the way CocaCola do. The rumour however that CocaCola had something to do with ‘turning’ Santa’s coat red is an embellishment. The famous red and white colours are widely thought to come from the original St Nicholas robes, a Bishop in the 4th Century, some years before CocaCola’s invention. A happy coincidence perhaps…
In recent years John Lewis has been the greatly anticipated TV ad to warm our festive hearts in the UK. Launching their first significant advert in 2007, they really made their mark in 2011 with ‘The Long Wait’. A simple story of a boy waiting restlessly for Christmas, willing the clocks move faster and wolfing down his peas on Christmas Eve so he can go to sleep as soon as possible. The big, heart-wrenching twist is he’s not impatient for his own gifts, he just can’t wait to give his parents their presents. John Lewis set their own bar very high, a target many have tried to hit and missed, including John Lewis themselves on subsequent occasions.
But brands come in so many guises now, with films such as ‘Elf’, ‘Love Actually’ and ‘Bridget Jones’ all being brand names in their own right. Major channels all clamber to hit us with festive films as soon as they ‘dare’, getting us all riled up with the classic household argument of ‘is it too soon to watch…?’ And who can forget the classics; ‘A Wonderful Life’ or my personal favourite ‘White Christmas’ to really hit you with the full monty of Christmas love.
Whilst there will be many classic songs rolled out on the radio, with the sad passing of George Michael last year, ‘Last Christmas’ is sure to be a big hit again this year. We find new artists such as Sia are continuing to hit us with new festive tracks, but they will be hard pushed to even make a dint in the biggest seller of all time, Bing Crosby at over 50 million copies for his original rendition of ‘White Christmas’, a track that is sure to soften the the biggest humbugs.
In this modern world could we survive a Christmas without the festive trappings that music, films and media bring us, probably yes we could…. would it honestly be as much fun, in my opinion no. In their own collective way they bring a warm feeling and a little magic into our lives, an escape into wintery wonderland or a parody of what we can expect on family filled Christmas days. Ultimately what they do tend to prove to us is that in many ways in the words of Hugh Grant, ‘at Christmas, love is actually all around us.’
What starts your Christmas off and give you that little festive tingle deep inside?
By Clive Allen