Top 12 Christmas Commercials
December 13, 2016
(The shortened opening)
(The NC is wearing a Santa hat and his "I Donut Donuts" shirt and sitting on a black couch. Also, on the back wall are various stockings labeled "A, B, B, D, G, H, J, M, M, R, T...")
NC: Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to. Well, I'm back in my commercial garb. That must mean we're talking about commercials! (holds up index finger) But not just any commercials, CHRISTMAS COMMERCIALS!!
(Cut to a montage of Christmas commercials)
NC (vo): Oh, you thought mass marketing was insane? Try mass marketing around Christmastime! Many of these commercials are so popular, they repeat them every year. How crazy is that? An ad campaign you don't even have to change because people love the nostalgia so much. Well, I love nostalgia, too, and that's why we're gonna count down the Top 12 best Christmas commercials ever.
NC: Why Top 12? Well, I'll tell you. (pause) In song. (clears throat, then starts singing to "The Twelve Days of Christmas") The first reason that–
(Suddenly, he is interrupted by the title for "Top 12 Christmas Commercials": a TV screen filled with static, similar to his other commercials videos, while "Jingle Bells" plays. This will be the interlude footage throughout the video)
NC (vo): Assholes.
(The number 12 appears onscreen)
NC (vo): Number 12...
(Footage of an IRN-BRU commercial, based on The Snowman (where a boy and a snowman fly through the air), is shown; "We're Walking In the Air" from that short plays here)
NC (vo): Most of us are familiar with the classic animated short, The Snowman. (a shot of the original short is briefly displayed) It was surreal, whimsical, and beautifully animated. Well, a UK drink called IRN-BRU did their own take on the classic short, and in this one, it isn't just magic that brings him to life, but the opening of the refreshing drink. It goes just like the original, even down to the singing boy's voice.
Singer: I'm sipping on an IRN-BRU...
NC (vo): That is, until the snowman wants a drink of his brew.
Singer: I tell him once again, the IRN-BRU is mine...
NC (vo): The snowman gets more and more pissed off, until he decides he's just done with the little snot.
Singer: Now I'm falling through the air... I wonder where I'm going to land...
NC (vo): Not only is the commercial funny, but the way it replicates the original short, from the animation to the music, it's definitely a loving parody, one that brings laughs as well as the nostalgic feelings of why we love the original.
(Cut to footage of a Cingular Wireless commercial, based on A Christmas Story)
NC (vo): Unlike some other Christmas parody commercials...
Ralphie Parker: (to Santa; clinging to the slide) I want a Motorola C139 with texting, games and graphics.
Santa: You'll run the bill up, kid.
NC: (laughing) Yeah, that sucks.
(Cut to the end of the Snowman-themed IRN-BRU commercial, where the Snowman drinks the boy's IRN-BRU, while a message, "Have a Phenomenal Christmas", is displayed on a building)
Singer: He nicked my IRN-BRU and lets go of my hand...
NC (vo): Number 11...
NC (vo): Not every commercial on this list has to be good. It just has to stand out as something we relate to the holidays. Well, this enjoyably awkward commercial definitely stands out, and people are making a tradition of watching it every year now. It's just a guy returning home, and his loved one making him some coffee after being away in West Africa.
Man: It's a long way from West Africa. I brought you something from far away.
NC (vo): She waited up all night for him, he playfully pretends he got the wrong house, and she lovingly puts the bow on him, and says...
Woman: You're my present this year.
NC: They're brother and sister.
(An exaggerated scream is heard)
NC (vo): Yep, this is incest in the "what the figgy pudding" degree. Now, don't get me wrong, they don't surprise you with it at the end, in fact, they make it painfully clear in the opening. I dare even say comfortably clear.
Man: I must have the wrong house.
Woman: Brother? (She starts happily laughing)
NC: (confused) Who just says that? Who announces their connection to someone when they open the door?
NC: (pointing at himself) Confused!
NC (vo): But, even knowing that going in, and, yes, you can take that a different way; their body language, the way they talked, and just their overall mood, indicates that they're a couple. It's beyond me creepy. Don't believe me? Just watch it with this music.
Man: What are you doing?
Woman: You're my present this year.
(They smile at each other as porno music plays)
NC: This commercial has become so infamously "ewwie", that parodies are popping up all over the place.
NC (vo): People like to mock how incestuously bizarre it is.
Dad (parody vo): Brothers and sisters don't look at each other like that.
Man (parody vo): Okay, we're *bleeping*
(The mother cries)
NC (vo): Whether you find it charming, or uck, it's sure to get a reaction every Christmas.
(Shows the real commercial where the parents just enter and welcome their son home)
Singer: The best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup!
(The exaggerated scream is heard again)
#10: Honey Nut CheeriosEdit
NC (vo): Number 10...
(Ebenezer Scrooge is shown at his desk, writing. The Honey and Nut Cheerios Bee enters the house, holding a box of Honey and Nut Cheerios)
Scrooge: Who's there?
Bee: The taste of nuts and honey, Mr. Scrooge.
NC (vo): Ebenezer, of course, hates Christmas and says "humbug" to the choir outside. But it's the great taste of honey and nuts that snaps him instantly back into the Christmas mood.
Scrooge: I say. Did you say honey and nuts?
(The Bee pushes a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios towards Scrooge, who takes a spoonful, and smiles)
Bee: (tips his top hat) Merry Christmas, Mr. Scrooge!
(The Bee flies to the screen as a caption saying "It's a Honey of O" and a picture of the box appears below, and a choir sings)
Choir: Honey Nut Cheerios!
NC: (chuckles) Wow! Bet all those ghosts are really kicking themselves that they wasted an entire night on this guy!
NC (vo): We didn't need any (a picture of ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future are shown) visions or tombstones, we just needed the commanding military of General Mills. Who knew it was that easy?
Scrooge: (pushes the Bee aside) The customary gruel will suffice, thank you.
NC (vo): I love that the Bee brings up Honey Nut Cheerios and Christmas together, like it's some sort of tradition everybody knows about.
Bee: But, Mr. Scrooge. Honey Nut Cheerios, it's Christmas.
NC: (scoffs) I mean, come on! Honey Nut Cheerios and Christmas. They go hand in hand like KFC and Christmas in Japan!
NC (vo): Besides, we all know the real cereal to bring out Christmas in you is (picture of...) Christmas Crunch. It's yuletide crack, I tells ya!
NC: (smiling) It'll make the roof of your mouth bleed for a week, and we love it!
NC (vo): It's still a great ad, though. With a great atmosphere and cold colors, it'll charm the Dickens into you.
(The ending scene of Scrooge eating the cereal is shown again)
NC (vo): Number 9...
(Cut to footage of a vintage Nestles commercial, featuring various relatives of Farfel, the dog puppet monstrosity of vintage Nestles fame, gathered at Christmas and wearing various Christmas sweaters)
Farfel #1: (singing while playing the piano) N-E-S-T-L-E-S...
NC (vo): Oh, yeah, can't forget these scary sons of bitches! I don't know how many people remember this ad...
(Cut to a shot of various Nestles candies in the commercial: Butterfingers, Baby Ruth, Crunch and Raisinets)
NC (vo): ...but while most kids were dreaming visions of sugar plums...
(Cut back to the Farfels dancing and singing)
NC (vo): ...we had these little hell-spawns dancing around in our heads.
Farfel #1: (singing at piano, while Farfels dance and sing) N-E-S-T-L-E-S, Nestle makes the very best...
Farfel #2: (holding up a Butterfinger, also singing) And Butterfingers. (drops it accidentally)
NC (vo): Not only were these things butt-freaky as sin, but their jingle was so catchy that many people reported ear-bleedings with the blood spelling out the name "Nestle".
NC: So even our bodily fluids knew how to spell it, it was that catchy!
Farfel #1: (singing) N-E-S-T-L-E-S, Nestle makes the very best...
NC (vo): Why do these things only have teeth on their bottom jaws? They look like marshmallows that can somehow bite into your soul! And don't look directly into those eyes! Mike Myers' mask has more humanity to it! And just when you think it couldn't get any scarier, they fill the whole screen with 'em.
(Cut to a wide shot of all the demon puppet dogs)
Farfels: (all singing as one) Nestle makes the very best!
NC: (freaking out and jumping back in fright) Leave my dimension alone!
NC (vo): It's disturbing, nightmare-inducing... and all-around unforgettable. Sleep well tonight, dreaming of your Christmas slippers coming to life and trying to eat you.
Farfels: (singing) N-E-S-T-L-E-S...
Farfel #1: New holiday wrapping from Nestle...
Farfels: (singing) Nestle makes the very best!
Farfel #1: Chyooooocolaaaaaate!
(All their jaws suddenly shut in unison, making a wooden clacking sound as they do; NC cowers in fear at this sight)
#8: Fruity PebblesEdit
NC (vo): Number 8...
(Footage of a Christmas-themed Fruity Pebbles commercial is shown: a group of carolers, which includes Dino, apparently, are singing outside Fred Flintstone's house)
Carolers: (singing to "Deck the Halls") Seasons greetings in our souls...
NC (vo): I talked about this one before, but by God, it deserves to be talked about again. It's crazy how much they showed this commercial. It was everywhere around Christmastime. It's just Barney once again trying to get Fred's Fruity Pebbles, but Santa beats him to it.
NC: (somewhat confused) As... (shrugs) it happens.
NC (vo): But Santa says it's good to share, and thus Fred finally gives him a bowl.
Santa: 'Tis the season to be sharing, Fred.
Fred: (giving Barney a bowl of Fruity Pebbles) Happy holidays, pal.
Barney: Aw, Fred.
NC (vo): This, of course, raises so many questions: how can they celebrate Christmas if Jesus isn't born yet? What's the origins of caveman Santa Claus? How the hell is Dino a singer?
NC: (holding up index finger) But my biggest question I never noticed before is, why is Fred giving Santa an apple!?
(In the commercial, an arrow points out a very conspicuous apple on the table, which Fred apparently intended to give Santa)
NC (vo): That in no way makes sense! First off, it's cookies and milk, but okay, let's say he switched it out and made it Fruity Pebbles. What the hell is an apple gonna add to anything?! You're giving him that with ground-in Froot Loops! Is the idea that they're so little actual fruit in it that giving him an apple will somehow make up for it? I don't know, but what I do know is, the commercial is played so many times, it has our childhoods by the balls. Or bowls. He is saying "bowls", right?
Fred: (singing) Yummy Fruity Pebbles in our bowls.
NC: (looking up in thought) Because how could Fruity Pebbles be in our b– (abruptly waves dismissively) You know what, don't answer that, Internet. (beat; then points to screen) I said stop!
Barney: My Pebbles!
Fred: (angrily) Your Pebbles?
NC (vo): Regardless, it's still a lot of fun.
Santa: (as Fred and Barney watch him take off in his sleigh) Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles Cereals, part of this nutritious breakfast. Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho...!
NC (vo): Number 7...
(The commercials NC talks about are shown)
NC (vo): McDonald's has had a lot of great Christmas ads, one with the girl talking about running away to McDonaldland, another with a star that needs to be put back in the sky, even a Santa Claus: The Movie tie-in.
NC: That must have paid off!
NC (vo): But the one people seem to enjoy the most is the skating one. A bunch of kids go to the nicest ice rink set they've ever seen, where they see a creepy-ass clown skating. He takes them for a spin, but one kid is having trouble keeping up. The kid is left out, Ronald seems to take off, the deer makes fun of him... But then Ronald comes back, picks him up, and gives him a magic moment because the music indicates it's a magical moment.
(Ronald picks up the kid and spins around with him while the uplifting orchestral music plays)
NC (vo): I think it has the biggest impact because there's no talking in it. It's nothing but music, visuals, that bored-looking deer...seriously, what's his story? Because of that, it makes it a bit more universal. Anyone can watch it and immediately know what's going on, and feel the warm special feeling when a stranger in clown makeup picks you up and never lets you go.
NC: (after a beat) The commercial makes it sound a lot nicer than I do.
NC (vo): It's a good ad that continues to bring a smile to a lot of people's faces.
Singers: Happy Holidays!
(Ronald puts the kid down and skates away as the children wave goodbye to him. The McDonald's logo and the caption "Happy Holidays" appear below)
#6: Campbell's SoupEdit
NC (vo): Number 6...
(A snowman is shown shivering from cold, entering the house and eating the Campbell's Soup, melting afterwards and turning into a kid)
NC (vo): Another ad I've talked about before, but certainly deserves a spot on the list. In many respects, it's not even really a Christmas ad, Christmas is never mentioned. But the idea of a snowman coming in from the cold and getting warmed up by soup, how can this not lead to a lot of warm fuzzies that connect you with the holidays? I think what makes it work is the contrast. It's not just cold, it's sideways snow cold. And the inside isn't just warm, it's "someone throwing a Norman Rockwell painting on the fireplace" warm. The two extremes brought together equal the perfect mix that leaves an impression on your nostalgia. Plus, that damn impressive puppet. I mean it, they did a really good job on that thing.
NC: The only question I ever had was: how did he actually eat the soup?
NC (vo): It always cuts away before we could see it. Do the rocks open up? Do they form an open mouth? Where does the soup go when he needs to take a pi--
NC: (holding two index fingers) Again, Internet, don't answer that!
NC (vo):. A great ad to make you feel nice and cozy every time.
Singer: Let it snow, let it snow...
#5: Apple iPhoneEdit
NC (vo): Number 5...
(Cut to footage of an Apple iPhone commercial, set in a mountainside village in snow)
NC (vo): This one just came out this year, and already people can't stop talking about it. It's one of the oddest Christmas commercials to ever come out, and that's saying something. We see a man in the mountains recording something on his iPhone. He seems happy hanging pictures of in-jokes on his wall, when he suddenly gets up and goes to the village. In a bizarre twist, it's the Frankenstein monster!
NC: (looks confused) Um... (shrugs) Got us?
NC (vo): But that's not where it stops. He goes in front of the town tree and puts two Christmas lights in his bolts.
NC: (still confused) Um... (shrugs again) Clever?
NC (vo): But it doesn't stop there: he starts singing "There's No Place Like Home For the Holidays".
(In the commercial, the monster pushes record on the music box app on his phone, and music starts to play)
Monster: (singing) Oh, there's no... place like home...
NC: (more confused than ever) Um... (shrugs once again) Um?
NC (vo): But then one of his lights goes out, and everyone looks pissed.
NC: (sighs) Stupid Frankenstein monster! (crosses arms) I am so not impressed by anything!
NC (vo): But then a girl goes up, fixes his light, she starts singing... and then... everyone starts singing.
Everyone: (singing) For the holidays, you can't beat home sweet home...!
(The monster smiles, while the Apple tagline "Open your heart to everyone" appears, followed by the Apple logo; cut briefly to a clip of Spaceballs)
Barf: What the hell was that?
(Cut back to footage of the Apple commercial)
NC (vo): This was... so strange, so random, so... bizarrely mixing whatever emotions we can't describe into a pot of... I don't know! It's so out there that, in a strange way... you have to admire it! It is so strange, but it clearly has a good heart, too. And I think that kind of emotion does shine through.
NC: And everyone else seems to think so, too.
(Cut to a shot of the YouTube page for this commercial, which has 7,000,980 views as of its release on November 22, 2016)
NC (vo): It already has millions of hits on YouTube just one day after it premiered! And it's still going strong!
(Cut back to footage of the commercial)
NC (vo): It can't be explained, it just has to be seen. So, the next time Raymond's brother tries to steal the spotlight and people find it uncomfortable, just send a little kid in to sing with him, and suddenly, everyone will find it cool.
NC: Christmas: we're trying so hard to make it kinda like Halloween.
(Posters of Krampus, Jack Frost, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and the Apple iPhone commercial with Frankenstein's monster are shown, before cutting back one more time to the Apple commercial)
Everyone: (singing) For the holidays, you can't beat home sweet home...!
(Cut to the Apple tagline, "Open your heart to everyone", followed by the Apple logo)
NC (vo): Number 4...
(A Christmas-themed Coca-Cola commercial plays, featuring a convoy of Coke trucks all covered in lights as it travels down a neighborhood street; houses and Christmas trees light up as the trucks pass by)
NC (vo): Coca-Cola's been a trademark of Christmas, even down to Santa's red and white outfit.
(Cut to footage of a second Coke commercial, this one featuring the eponymous polar bears featured every Christmas)
NC (vo): So it's no wonder that two continuing commercials would tie the spot here.
(Cut to footage of the earlier commercial)
NC (vo): One is the Santa Packs. It's just a dark, cold night when suddenly the Santa Packs jingle is heard.
Singers: (as the Coke trucks come by) Holidays are coming, holidays are coming, holidays are coming...
NC (vo): People who put all their love of the holidays in sugar liquid syrup rejoice as the Santa trucks light up the night.
Singers: 'Tis the season, it's always the real thing!
NC (vo): But one boy is sad, because...
NC (vo): But a Coke is beamed into his hands by creepy animated Santa, and all is right with the world.
Singers: 'Tis the season... Watch out, look around. Something's coming...
(Cut to the second Coke commercial, featuring polar bears)
NC (vo): The other one is the Coca-Cola polar bears. It's funny, because the first ad doesn't even make a whole lot of sense. It's just a bunch of bears who watch the Northern Lights, drink a Coke, and that's it.
Polar bear: (having drunk a Coke; smiles) Mmmm!
NC: (looks around confused, then becomes excited) Inspired!
NC (vo): But the imagery is just so relaxing and so, for a lack of a better word, cool, they had to keep bringing them back every year. Each has a story that usually went nowhere, but just looked so damn awesome going nowhere. They were visual spectacles then, and they're still visual spectacles now.
(Cut to alternating snippets of footage of the two Coca-Cola ads)
NC (vo): So that's why today both Santa and the polar bears are seen on the Coca-Cola bottles. Both have nice winter colors that make you feel the cold, but also appreciate it at the same time. Seeing how these ads are still going today, Coke definitely means it when they say, (the Coke slogan "Always" appears) "Always".
Singers: Holidays are coming... Always Coca-Cola...
#3: Hershey's KissesEdit
NC (vo): Number 3...
(A group of Hershey Kisses starts moving as "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" plays)
NC (vo): It's not out of nostalgic obligation, it's perhaps out of sheer pure stubbornness that this one makes the list. The Hershey Kisses ringing "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" is Hershey's longest-running ad, debuting in 1989 and still going strong today. To make the story behind it even more interesting, the brand manager, John Dunne, was tasked with making several whimsical Hershey commercials, but was told not to do a Christmas one. But he liked this idea so much and knew it would be a hit, that he did it anyway. And we're still thankful. In hindsight, it's not much. It's disgustingly simple. But maybe that's why it lasts. It is simple, anyone can see it, giggle, and feel good afterwards. It's not trying to be too big, or too sentimental, it's just a little happy moment. Not unlike a little Hershey Kiss chocolate. It makes perfect sense. To say any more would ruin its simplicity, which, honestly, speaks for itself. So, we'll just leave it as it is.
NC (vo): Number 2...
(The two M&M's are shown walking into the living room quietly, with Red holding a candle and Yellow carrying a bowl of small M&M's)
NC (vo): Another one that makes the rounds every Christmas, and another one seems disgustingly simple. The M&M's are setting up red and green M&M's for Santa...
NC: Which seems cannibalistic the more I think about it...
NC (vo): ...when Santa appears and they both pass out.
(Santa and Red scream when they see each other)
Red: He does exist!
Santa: They do exist...
(Both Red and Santa pass out at the same time. The montage of various M&M's commercials throughout the years is shown)
NC (vo): The M&M's were always popular commercials, but they hit it big when they were given individual personalities. Suddenly, the M&M's were as popular as Disney or Warner Brothers cartoons. We knew who they were and loved them. Thus, we look forward to seeing them interact with Santa every year. It's just a reminder of how far out thinking comes turning shade shelled chocolates into classic cartoon characters. We never get tired of watching them, and we look forward to seeing this one for a several Christmases more. What can I say but "you don't mess with a classic."
(Red and Santa are shown fainting again)
Yellow: (confused) Uh, Santa?
NC: (raising index finger) Now, before we get to number one, here are a few runners-up...
(Cut to a clip of a Budweiser commercial featuring a team of horses pulling a sleigh filled with Budweiser)
NC (vo): The Budweiser horses; some connect this to Christmas, so... why not?
(Cut to a clip of a Christmas-themed Edeka commercial)
NC (vo): Edeka: a grandpa tries dying just to get the family together. That's pretty ballsy.
(Cut to a clip of a Kmart commercial featuring those men in suits but no pants as they wear... er, jingly boxer shorts)
NC (vo): But not as ballsy as Kmart's jingle bells, just for the shock that they got away with this at all!
(Cut to a clip of a Norelco razor commercial, featuring Santa riding on this razor)
NC (vo): Santa on a Norelco razor, an oldie but a goodie.
(Cut to a clip of an Amazon Prime commercial)
NC (vo): Amazon Prime's commercial, where a real priest and imam meet for tea, showing unity in religions.
(Cut to a clip of a Staples commercial featuring a robotic snowman)
NC (vo): And Staples creating an insane snowman robot. Pretty hard not to get a laugh here.
NC: But, all right, let's get to number one!
NC (vo): And the number one Christmas commercial is...
(Cut to footage of a Sainsbury's commercial, set during World War I, at Christmas of 1914)
NC (vo): Ohhh, yeah, you better believe I'm doing this to ya! Sainsbury has done a lot of emotional commercials in the past. The majority of them get millions of hits on YouTube. But the one that has to be the most powerful has to be their 2014 ad, because it's based on an unbelievable true story. In 1914, on Christmas during World War I, the battling sides decided to put aside their differences, stop killing each other, and go out in a sign of peace for one day. They suddenly went from trying to kill one another to treating each other like brothers. They shared stories, treats, presents, anything they had. To make the ad even more powerful, it was released exactly 100 years after the event took place. They actually tried so hard to get this right that they teamed up the Royal British Legion to get the details down. There's even a "making of" the commercial on YouTube to show how hard they tried to get it. The chocolate bar, as well, was sold in stores, and the profits all went to the Royal British Legion, to benefit the armed forces and their families. This ad so easily could have come across as manipulative or even corny, but they did everything in their power to make sure the proud message of that night wasn't lost. It's a powerful commercial that represents a powerful point in history. Well, their effort doesn't go unrecognized, and when you watch it, all you can think is: yeah, that's what Christmas is all about.
(The commercial ends with British and German soldiers singing "Silent Night" together in their respective languages; their singing soon fades away as one soldier watches a bird, perched on the barbed wire, fly away; cut back to the NC)
NC: I'm the Nostalgia Critic, and let's remember together. (gets up from the couch and leaves)