Five Classic Christmas Commercials: Part 2

Christmas is nearly here, given we're almost halfway through December already.  Time just keeps getting faster and faster, doesn't it?  What better way to keep the momentum of the Christmas spirit going than by watching some old television commercials that remind us of our younger days when we were all full of Christmas wonder?  

I've written before about how I can, when I get a rare bit of spare time, spend hours watching "found footage" on YouTube.  Some great folks will find a batch of old VHS tapes at a garage sale or in their attic and digitize them for our online consumption.  The cleaned-up footage provides beautiful memories of great old commercials that I had long since forgotten about.  

Bless those people, really.

Like many of us these days, I often watch things "On Demand" or recorded to my DVR so I can fast forward through as many commercials as possible.  I'm just not a fan of any of the commercials today. It seems like an effort is always made to sanitize or "corporate-ize" these ads, making them safe from internet "cancellation" or legal backlash; they've lost the specialness they once had.  That, and they are mostly all drug commercials now, anyway.

You, too, probably aren't a fan of commercials now, but I guarantee that you can remember (and even sing) at least 3 jingles from ads when you were a kid.  I have written quite a few articles about commercials I fondly remember, which you can head over to the "Collections" page and check out.  Those ads were back when companies invested significant money in advertising and had things like jingles or gimmicks to catch your attention.   

One of the nice things about commercials from years ago is that they remind me of a different time or specific memory.  

The Christmas commercials back then kept the festive Christmas spirit going during a Christmas special or breaks in a holiday-themed sitcom.  Even the car commercials got into the act!  Remember the "Lexus Christmas Sales Event" commercials that played adnauseum the shiny new car found its way through snow-covered woods to arrive just in time for Christmas morning, complete with a giant bow on the car once its intended recipient woke up in the morning?  

This is also the point in the holiday season I always like to remind people of the year we were tortured with the so-annoyingly-awful-it's-great Hyundai commercials from 2010 and 2011 that featured the singing duo "Pomplamoose?"  

Don't remember?  Click here to be reminded!

Now that Pomplamoose is firmly stuck in your head, please click "Keep Reading" for "Part 2" of Five Classic Christmas Commercials!

1.  7UP Christmas Commercial featuring the 7Up Dots (1988)

This 7UP commercial is often considered one of the most beloved Christmas commercials of the 80s, so much so that it was used as part of 7UP's Christmas commercial rotation well into the mid-90s.  That continued use is how I remember seeing it, given I was only four in 1988.  

I was always a fan of the 7UP "Dots," much like Domino's "Noid" of the same era, and it's likely this commercial that made me a fan of these little round mascots.  There's just something great about watching these two little Dots climb up the fireplace, onto the roof, and careening off the side of the house in a toy firetruck.  

I've heard it described that this commercial could have been a short Christmas special, and I can't agree more.  Imagine stretching this commercial into a 15 or 30-minute Christmas special that we could all enjoy year after year?  Oh, the possibilities!

2.  Pepsi "Winter Cool Collection" Cans and Polar Bear Club (1990)

Coke may have the stranglehold on Christmas, what with creating the modern imagery of Santa Claus and the Coke polar bears and all that, but Pepsi came close to winning soda fans over in 1990.  The "Winter Cool Collection" repackaged Pepsi's products with 6 cheery winter labels with fun cartoon designs.  

The designs range from a Santa wearing Pepsi-themed sunglasses, a happy-looking penguin wearing a bowtie, to a cartoon Santa and his little reindeer.  

The commercial also introduced me to the "Polar Bear Club," a social "club" of people who like to swim in icy water in the middle of winter, often for charity or some fundraiser.  The town I grew up in had a group of people who'd jump in the Hudson River around the holidays.  It might have been Thanksgiving or New Year's Day, but nonetheless, it's insanity if you ask me.  Although, I'm sure when you jump into the sub-freezing water, the cold certainly reminds you that you're alive!

3.  Dunkin' Donuts for Christmas!  (1994)

When we were kids, Dunkin' Donuts made some pretty great Christmas donuts.  Then again, when we were kids, they were more famous for their donuts than coffee, as they are today. 

Now that I live in New England, I can't turn around without tripping over a Dunkin'.  Some of them are great buildings that remind me of the 90s, while others are quaint-looking New England-style buildings.  This commercial, however, features a classic 1980s/90s standalone Dunkin' structure, and I just love it. 

It also features Fred the Baker, which makes any Dunkin' commercial better.  Fred, played by actor Michael Vale, was famous for the "Time to make the donuts" catchphrase.  Vale was featured in over 1,300 commercials over 15 years for the Dunkin' chain.  He reprised the role years after retiring for a commercial for the short-lived Dunkin' Donuts Cereal.  

4.  Honey Nut Cheerios Scrooge Ad (1999)

This classic Honey Nut Cheerios ad is many people's all-time favorite Christmas commercial.  I'd be hard-pressed to call it my favorite, but it's definitely an important one from my childhood that signaled "Christmas is coming!" when it would start airing.  

This one from 1999 was an "updated" version of the original from the mid to late 80s.  The video was touched up, and the audio was redubbed, so it was clearer, but the voices were different, and the ad's content slightly changed.

Not only was the box art for the cereal updated to match the current style, but the bee talks less about "Christmas" and more about Honey Nut Cheerios as part of a balanced breakfast.  Someone on YouTube also pointed out that the background choir used to sing "it's a honey of an O," but in the updated version you see above, they sing "nobody can say no."  

5.  Duracell's New Copper Top Test featuring Rudolph and Santa (1990)

I was always amazed by these "testers" on the packaging.  Who knows if they were legit or not, but I thought it was so much fun to test batteries over and over again. When did they stop including those?  

In this commercial, I was always sucked in by several things.  First, the adorable imagery of "The North Pole," complete with upbeat festive music and sleighbells, starts the commercial and sets the mood.  Next is the cute stop-motion animation of Santa coming to ensure Rudolph's glowing red nose (powered by a Duracell "C" battery) has enough power to make it through the night.  Old Rudy's wagging tail always makes me smile.

To top it all off, the animation of Santa's sleigh flying through the full moon always got me excited as a kid, thinking just what might be in Santa's bag of toys just for me!  Nowadays, it reminds me slightly of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, but as a kid, that was great.  

To this day, I prefer Duracell batteries even though that pink Energizer Bunny was much more popular.  See, marketing to kids works!  A lifelong customer!


  1. Love the Honey Nut Cheerios commercial. One of my favorite cereals paired with one of my favorite Christmas characters make that one a win for me.


Post a Comment