‘Tis The Season…To Cry At Commercials

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Maybe I’m a big sap. Maybe I get overly emotional because, as it turns out, I’m just like my mom who used to cry at everything. Or maybe, just maybe, I’m like every other person who, when faced with one of the cleverly designed and executed ad campaigns of the holiday season, doesn’t stand a chance.

Whether you are a crier or not, there is one thing we can all agree on: TV commercials have become just as much a part of pop culture as movies, music and TV shows themselves. And since I haven’t been able to take in any of the new flicks out this holiday season, or even watch one of the classic holiday films airing for the millionth time on TV, I thought I’d spend some time sharing my thoughts on the one thing I have managed to watch:  the ad campaigns that have been specifically crafted for the holidays. Of course, I am certainly not a fan of the overdone, in-your-face campaigns pushing harder to sell product than a door-to-door salesman from the 1950s, but I do appreciate the creative, heart warming variety that manages to rise above the flashy rest and grab my undivided attention.

Let’s start with the leader of the pack, in my opinion. How many of you can honestly say that you didn’t get choked up the first time you saw Apple’s new campaign for the iPad mini? It features a young granddaughter singing “I’ll be Home for Christmas” over FaceTime to her grandfather, while effortlessly accompanying herself on a ukulele. I’ll bet one of my colleagues who never used to cry at anything, but having recently had a baby now cries at everything, was most certainly a mess. (At least, she better have been!) From the first note to the last, I was mesmerized and inspired by the whole scene, while creating a backstory in my mind about why the young girl is apart from her loving grandpa and wondering whether or not she will actually get to see him at Christmas. I hardly even noticed that the ad was for the highly buzzed about new mini, but I’m guessing that was the whole point. You see, campaigns that spend less time overtly pushing the product being hocked and more time focusing on entertaining/inspiring me ultimately win – I end up having more respect for the brand (to put it in marketing speak: positive brand association) and in the long run, will most likely end up consuming more of their product (thereby fulfilling every marketer’s ultimate goal of conversion). Way to go, Apple – you’ve done it again. While I already have almost every other product you’ve created in the last 5 years, at some point I will probably decide that I can’t do without the mini and it will likely have everything to do with how this campaign made me feel. Bravo.

Moving on to a couple of my other favorites, there’s the magic of the Lowe’s “Lights Across America” campaign. Simply put, it’s a sweet – albeit unrealistic – concept about people lighting up the country with holiday reds and greens in a sort of “Hands Across America” kind of way. It features a massive ball of lights being pushed along and unraveled, a young couple becoming intertwined with the lights and in turn, with each other, and several other key scenes that warm the heart, not the least of which is the view from space of the planet with our country lit up from coast to coast. It’s uplifting and inspiring, artfully depicting the power of collaboration and the impact we can all make when we come together. And as with all commercials, the music plays a large part in delivering the message. It features a tune called “Shine for Me” by Camera Can’t Lie and boy does it bring it on home. While I may not be running out to buy Christmas lights every time I see it, I do think I might subconsciously choose Lowe’s over Home Depot the next time I have a home improvement project on my hands.

Lastly, there’s the “Tell Me…” campaign by Hallmark. Leaders in the world of carefully crafted messages, Hallmark brilliantly delivers a handful of heartwarming sentiments that collectively share one main, powerful thought – that is essentially, no matter what your message, the most important thing is to tell it. I find it to be genius in its simplicity as well as its relatability and it gets me every time. And once again, Hallmark proves that even in this world of technology and digital messaging, there’s nothing quite like the impact of a heartfelt greeting card. I for one couldn’t agree more.

There you have it- that’s my list of top tear-jerking commercials this holiday season. Feel free to share your picks in the comments below and then tell us which of the three commercials is your favorite.

Apple: I’ll Be Home For Christmas
Hallmark: Tell Me…
Lowe’s: Lights Across America

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