It’s that time of year again, when we find our cynical selves, usually alert to the danger of commercial manipulation, wiping away an unexpected tear while watching a … television advert. In previous years it was usually John Lewis, but this year’s effort was so absurd the company had to issue a warning not to put your pets on a trampoline and the unlooked-for blubbing came from a viral online advert for a Polish version of eBay.
1. John Lewis 2011: The Long Wait
Nominated by Natasha Devon: “The one where the little boy is all excited because he can’t wait to give his gift to his mum.” Says it all, really.
2. John Lewis 2012: The Journey
Snowman goes on epic quest to provide snowwoman with unnecessary consumer goods. Sexist rubbish, really.
3. Toys R US 1989: Magical Place
Olivia Wonka was disappointed the first time she went to Toys R Us “because none of the staff were giraffes”.
4. Irn Bru and Snowman 2006
Brilliant copy of Raymond Briggs’s animated classic, featuring the boy who refuses to share his Irn Bru and a fine surprise ending. Thanks to Chris Jones and Peter A Russell.
5. Polish man learning English 2016
Nominated by 48 and Beyond and Lesley Smith: this year’s unexpected hit, advertising Allegro, an auction website most British people can’t use because it’s all in Polish.
6. Marks and Spencer 2006: Not just Christmas food, this is M&S Christmas food
The ultimate humiliation – being seduced by a turkey. Nominated by Phil P: “Sultry voiceover, Santana soundtrack, food as porn. Not just a Christmas ad; it was an M&S Christmas ad.”
7. Sainsbury’s 2014: Christmas is for sharing
Nominated by Will Harris: “The First World War one – there’s something in my eye, every time.”
8. Yellow Pages 1992: Mistletoe
Nominated by Anthony Abdool: “Nothing clever, just cute.”
9. Woolworths 1978
Astonishing collection of long-forgotten celebs try to sell vast inventory of what was, even then, dated tat.
10. Harvey Nichols 2011: Walk of shame
Amusing and not in the slightest bit controversial. Nominated by Hannah Fearn.
A Christmas special in our weekly series of Top 10s that runs on The Independent website every Saturday and in the Daily Edition on Sundays.
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