Whether it's a heartwarming story of loved ones reunited or the unmistakable excitement of children on Christmas morning, holiday advertising has the uncanny ability of tugging at even the Grinch's hardened heartstrings.
This year is no different.
From John Lewis' eagerly-anticipated annual holiday spot and Leo Burnett's Spanish lottery short to BBDO Atlanta's ad for Toys "R" Us that shows us what a truly priceless gift looks like, these 6 heartfelt holiday ads all have one thing in common: They tell a compelling narrative that is highly shareable.
Grab a tissue.
1. German supermarket chain Edeka's controversial tearjerker
Views to date on YouTube: 40 million
Notable fact: The late arrival to the holiday ad race has unseated this year's John Lewis ad spot "Man on the Moon" (#3 on this list) for most shares. According to social analytics company Unruly, the German grocer's ad has been shared 2.39 million times, well over "Man on the Moon's" 1.3 million shares. Unruly calls it "a great example of sad-vertising," which the firm says has become a bit of a hot trend in advertising in recent years.
2. Mog the cat's total Christmas calamity
Views to date on YouTube: 22.7M
Notable fact: Although UK supermarket chain Sainsbury's festive ad boasts more views than fellow British ad "Man on the Moon," according to Unruly's data, it sits in third place in terms of shares at 917K.
The accident-prone storybook cat is a favorite in Britain and was revived for this holiday short, which was watched more than one million times within the first 24 hours of its debut in November. According to the Huffington Post, the familiar voice we hear narrating is that of actress Emma Thompson.
3. John Lewis' #ManOnTheMoon sheds light on loneliness
Views to date on YouTube: 21M
Notable fact: The British retailer's magical ad was again created by adam&eveDDB London, which Adweek credits for launching a Super Bowl-caliber ad frenzy in the UK during Christmas. As part of the campaign, the retailer launched a Man on the Moon app as well as plans to donate proceeds from certain Christmas-related sales to its partner on the project Age UK.
John Lewis Customer Director Craig Inglis told Adweek: "We hope it inspires people to find really special gifts for their loved ones and through our partnership with Age UK, raises awareness of the issue of loneliness among older people and encourages others to support in any way they can."
4. The Spanish Lottery reveals the greatest prize: sharing
Views to date on YouTube: 4.5M
Notable fact: In Spain, the Christmas lottery is a national tradition, and one rooted in sharing. For this year's annual holiday ad crafted by Leo Burnett Madrid, the Spanish Lottery produced a short animated film to rival Pixar and used social media to engage viewers after the ad ends. Fans can follow the film's protagonist, Justino, in his nightly guardsman duties via his Instagram account, which has 12.5K followers. Per Adweek, the ad has nearly one million shares.
5. Toys 'R' Us knows exactly what we're all wishing for
Views to date on YouTube: 81K
Notable fact: Just as soon as the toy maker's Christmas commercial opens, viewers are left wondering who is missing from the scene. The BBDO Atlanta-produced ad plays into the familiar theme of the difficulty of being away from loved ones, especially during the holidays, and how a simple gift can uncover true treasure. As Adweek points out, BBDO New York applied a similar storyline for Guinness' "Empty Chair" spot this summer to great applause.
6. Building a bridge for Santa (and Coca-Cola)
Views to date on YouTube: 41K
Notable fact: Coca-Cola has deployed its festive red trucks for its "Holidays Are Coming" campaigns for two decades. Though it won't be producing a special spot for the U.S. market this year, the beverage company did partner with J. Walter Thompson Brazil to help bring St. Nick – and its signature soda – to a little boy in a remote Brazilian village where a broken bridge has prevented the jolly gift-giver (and Coke's holiday trucks) from visiting.