What's Your ONE? : Holiday Edition
By Alixandra Rutnik and Brett McKenzie Posted on Dec 15, 2022
A festive assortment of The One Club's favorite Christmas spots over the years
For its fiftieth anniversary, The One Show has been asking, “what's your ONE?” What is that one ad that made you cry, made you want to get into the business, or made you so jealous because you wish you could take credit for coming up with that idea?
With the holiday season in full swing, we decided to add a Yuletide spin to the theme, asking our staff and board of directors which Christmas campaigns and spots made their hearts (or funny bones) grow three sizes over the years.
The Long Wait
adam&eve / London
John Lewis Partnership
2012 Advertising: Cinema Advertising / Long Form - :90 and Over - Single
For everybody in the advertising world, there’s a bond between the holiday season and the department store John Lewis & Partners. Every year, a heartstring-tugging commercial, accompanied by a melancholy cover of a pop tune, grabs the attention of the UK general public — and the broader advertising community.
“The Long Wait,” the 2011 edition of adam&eveDDB’s long-running tradition, seems to be about a young boy who is very excited and impatient for Christmas Day, hoping to open all his presents from Santa. In reality, he just can’t wait to give his parents the gift he got for them from John Lewis.
“The Long Wait” was the first of the John Lewis Christmas spots to win at The One Show; a mere Merit in 2012, but with many shinier prizes on the horizon.
The Man on the Moon
adam&eveDDB / London + Somesuch / London + Manning Gotlieb OMD (Media Agency) / London + Trim / London
2016 Film: Consumer - Television / Over 60 Second - Single
Another gem from the John Lewis/adam&eveDDB collection, “The Man on the Moon” features a young girl who uses her telescope to discover a lonely old gentleman living on the surface of the moon. On the days leading up to Christmas, she desperately attempts to communicate with the man. She is finally able to magically deliver him a telescope of his own, allowing them to see each other for the very first time, making a much-appreciated human connection for the Man on the Moon.
“The Man on the Moon” won one Gold Pencil, three Bronzes, and one Merit in 2016.
The Boy & The Piano
John Lewis & Partners / London + adam&eveDDB / London + Academy Films / London + MPC / London
John Lewis & Partners
2019 Film: Online Films & Video / Long Form - Single
Rounding out our John Lewis & Partners love is 2018’s “The Boy and the Piano.” Of course, it’s not just any “boy,” but a reflective Elton John, sitting at an old upright piano one Christmas evening, looking back at his incredible career. Moving backward in time, all set to “Your Song,” the pop legend’s first-ever hit, we eventually arrive at where it all began: a young Elton receiving a piano as a gift on Christmas morning.
“The Boy and the Piano” won four Gold Pencils, a Silver, and a Bronze at The One Show 2019. It also helped adam&eveDDB win the rare Penta Pencil for its legacy of creative excellence with John Lewis & Partners.
TBWA\Media Arts Lab / Los Angeles
2014 Advertising: Consumer Television / Over 60 second - Single
Teenagers, amirite? TBWA\Media Arts Lab’s “Misunderstood” for Apple captures what has undoubtedly become a familiar scene around the holidays: a seemingly sullen teenager disengaged from family activities, absorbed in their smartphone. Little does the family realize that the teen has been capturing every moment on his iPhone, crafting them into a beautiful video to share with everyone.
“Misunderstood” went on to win a Silver Pencil and a Merit at The One Show 2014.
The Toycracker: A Mini-Musical Spectacular
72andSunny / Los Angeles + Biscuit / Los Angeles + Method Studios / Los Angeles + Cut & Run / Los Angeles
2017 Branded Entertainment: Broadcast / Long Form - Single
Performances of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” is a holiday tradition that stretches back over a century. Still, in 2016, 72andSunny decided to give the ballet a modern revision in the form of “The Toycracker: A Mini-Musical Spectacular,” an eight-minute musical extravaganza for Target. Starring power couple Chrissy Teigen and John Legend, alongside a slew of popular toys, the whimsical spot shares the message of love and the gift of being together during the holiday season.
“The Toycracker” went on to win a Merit at The One Show 2017.
The Gift That Doesn't Give Back
Aviation Gin / New York + Maximum Effort / Los Angeles + Escape Velocity Productons / Los Angeles
2020 Social Media: Social Post / Single
When Peloton released a Christmas ad for its exercise bike in 2019, it was… not very well received. Leave it to media-savvy Ryan Reynolds to turn lemons into a lemon twist in a martini by taking the actress from the Peloton holiday spot and quickly casting her in one for Reynolds’ Aviation Gin brand.
For its rapid response and turnaround, “The Gift That Doesn't Give Back” earned Aviation Gin a Silver Pencil and a Merit in 2020.
Toy & Evolution Bureau
“Viral” long before the word became an overused industry catchphrase, “Elf Yourself” began its life in 2006 as one of several microsites and e-card ideas created for Office Max by boutique agency Toy and Evolution Bureau. But oh, how that one microsite took off! Apparently, attaching one’s face to a dancing elf body was a white-hot trend back then — and one that still exists today, minus Office Max, Toy, and Evolution Bureau.
“Elf Yourself” earned itself a Merit at The One Show in 2008 — clearly ahead of its time for those judges, at least a year before the phrase “going viral,” well, went viral.
Ogilvy & Mather
When you’ve landed on an immortal idea, why mess around with it? Back in 1989, Ogilvy & Mather took advantage of the shape of Hershey’s famous Kisses chocolates, repurposing them as bells in a festive stop-motion commercial. More than three decades later, little tweaks have been made along the way — hello, CGI! — but the idea of carols being played by kisses lives on.
BUY THE WORLD A COKE/CHRISTMAS
Leave it to Don Draper to create a banger with legs. If the famous fictitious Mad Man is to be believed, he helped McCann-Erickson create the iconic “Buy The World a Coke,” an epic 1971 commercial featuring a diverse crowd atop a hill, singing in musical and racial harmony. Six years later, the song was carried into the holiday season, using candles to form a Christmas tree.
Leo Burnett / Madrid + Passion Pictures / London + Blur Films / Madrid
Loterias y Apuestas del Estado
2016 Film: Craft - Animation / Animation
When it comes to highly anticipated holiday ads, the United Kingdom has John Lewis & Partners, while Spain has Loterias y Apuestas del Estado, the country’s national lottery. Every year, its Christmas drawing is a major event, one accompanied by a wonderful ad. In 2015, Leo Burnett Madrid told the story of Justino, a night security guard at a mannequin factory who never sees his daytime co-workers yet mysteriously works to put smiles on their faces. When his colleagues win the lottery, they return the favor.
“Justino” won a Gold Pencil and a Bronze Pencil at The One Show 2016.
Cliff Freeman & Partners
We’re closing out this list with a slice of holiday humor, courtesy of the late, great One Club Hall of Famer Cliff Freeman. Comedy was certainly Cliff’s wheelhouse throughout his storied career, and it’s evident in this memorable retail spot for Staples, demonstrating how difficult it can be to surprise some people with their presents.
The One Show 2023 is open for entries.