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Christmas creatives can be some of the trickiest advertisements to get right, and the last couple of years has only increased the difficulty for marketers.

Last year we looked at the Creative Answers to the Impossible 2020 Holiday Brief as advertisers struggled to understand what sentiment they should be expressing during the holiday season. Some went with lighthearted creatives, looking to change things up from a year of crisis communications, and many went the heartfelt direction, focusing on how we could stay connected and look to the future.

This year was another year of uncertainty, and as creatives must be made many months in advance, no one could say what the world would look like come December.

It is clear that the main theme of the year for many of the largest advertisers was to focus on heartfelt sentiments.

A champion of storytelling, Disney has made a great Christmas advert, choosing for the second year in a row to focus on family. This year they made a subtle sequel to their last year’s creative, showing the young girl from 2020’s ad all grown up with her own family. They chose to go the heartfelt route, mixing their newer movies in with their branding to tell a story rather than try to sell the audience something specific.



Amazon did not focus on family but on another popular and heavy topic of the last few years: mental health. They insert their branding in a way that solves an issue or makes life better in the story, choosing to push the idea of kindness for their advert instead of their offerings or successes in ecommerce.



Lastly, McDonald’s advertisement focused on finding your inner child. While the entire creative was serious and heartfelt, it didn’t feel too heavy or complex. They went for the concept of nostalgia to target adults and kept things light with an imaginary friend to target younger children.



The large advertisers went for a tug on the heart strings with their creatives. This was a year of storytelling and showing the subtle ways in which their brand could make your life easier, happier, or bring people together.

The decision to go for something sentimental was a safer option this year with so many uncertainties, all of these ads focus on a cautious optimism that encompasses the feelings of 2021.

Now, will this stay forever? No. Don’t worry, we won’t be watching ads that make us cry forever. Even now, marketers are preparing more optimistic and fun ads for the 2022 Super Bowl.

We can expect that advertisements will start moving back to more varied sentiments over the next year, but marketers will be forever changed in the way creatives are planned. Even as we return to a sort-of normal, advertisers will always need a contingency plan and be prepared for any situation as we move forward.