There is an unspoken list of requirements for blockbuster holiday ads: Adorable children, a tender piano score, a moment of crystallizing melancholy and maybe a cute dog.
It all builds to a heart-bursting crescendo of emotions that leaves you sobbing like a baby no matter how many times you’ve told yourself to stop crying at TV commercials.
The marquee ads for 2016 are no different. And at a time when the world seems so divided, some of the biggest brands have gone with the most traditional of holiday messages: Togetherness.
Go somewhere safe and dark where no one will judge you, watch and let the tears roll.
Apple shelved their slick minimalist aesthetics and celebrity cameos for a cinematic spot starring, of all people, Frankenstein’s monster. The ending card sends the message home: “Open your heart to everyone.”
Some say Amazon’s getting a little political with their latest offering, which features a priest and imam laughing over their shared struggles. Regardless of any controversy (more on that here), weepy viewers have been praising the ad on social media. “It is the America I want to live in,” one person wrote.
Year after year, this UK-based department store produces some of the most iconic and hyped-up holiday ads. After last year’s sob-fest, they went a little lighter for 2016. Don’t worry. You’ll still cry, but you’ll feel a little weirder about it because it’s sweet, animated foxes making you do it.
Marks & Spencer
Don’t be so dazzled by Marks & Spencer’s glamorous, bad-ass Mrs. Claus that you miss the message of this one: A perpetually warring brother and sister who get real and set enmity aside for kindness and understanding.
In this piece of weaponized wistfulness, Macy’s wields their most iconic holiday institution to go straight for the jugular. The Santa balloon at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade breaks loose to be reunited with an old friend. Mercy!
There are always sleeper brands who surprise us with some truly touching ads. Take this one from the UK’s Heathrow Airport, which features a twist ending. The ad closes with this universal sentiment: “Coming home: The best gift of all.”
This Polish ad for an auction site comes out of nowhere and socks you right in the heart. A grandfather hilariously goes about the brave task of learning English, and it’s all for one important moment.
This isn’t technically a holiday commercial, but it is tied to the “Star Wars: Rogue One” release, which is positioned to be a huge holiday blockbuster. Also the ad, put out by a telecommunication company in the Philippines, is amazing. Don’t worry about the film crossover and product placement. Just watch until the end.