25th November 2021

All I want for Christmas is YouTube

By Carrie Rotenberg

More than ever this year, we are seeing the “Disneyfication” of Christmas adverts. From Aldi’s A Christmas Carol to John Lewis’s Unexpected Guest, these emotional, mini-films have captured our hearts. But why all of a sudden at Christmas do we not only watch, but crave, long-form heart-wrenching brand content?  


The shallow answer: Brands already, in many ways, are the essence of the Christmas spirit. After all, what would Christmas be without presents under the tree.

The deeper answer: We expect brands to have a heart, especially at Christmas. These beautiful poetic videos confirm there are real people behind our favourite corporations, with hearts that beat twice as big during Christmas, just like ours do. Who also are watching Christmas movies, eating Christmas dinner and, hopefully, taking some time to give back and exude the Christmas spirit.

Aldi 1

This annual phenomenon may not be perplexing in its root, but is contrary to the everyday sentiment around brand content – nobody cares. YouTube ads, which typically are seen as background noise, suddenly become a feature highlight of a season. A phenomenon we see replicated in sports, with the Super Bowl being as much about the game as it is the ads.

These rare moments where brands’ voices don’t hit get the mute button treatment, but instead a megaphone, create a fierce competition to be the loudest. So, what does it take to win Christmas YouTube ad supremacy?

John Lewis

Is it a twist, a unifying truth, an underdog story or a unique combination of all three?

In the end, the answer is like presents under the Christmas tree, slowly being opened, view by view.

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