Growth Driven Blog

12 Days of Bad Christmas Ads

We don't like commercials. They're loud, obnoxious, and interruptive to say the least. There are some that go the extra mile to insult the viewers intelligence and bastardize everything that's good in this world. However, Christmas time seems to be when the most egregious and insulting ads litter our TV's and smartphones. 

Are marketing execs simply lazy, or do they really have such low regard for their audience's intelligence. We don't know. Either way, this year we decided to spend what little time we had this Christmas season picking out the twelve worst "holiday" ads (in our opinion).


1. Mercedes-Benz (2017) "One Wish"

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What kid expects to see a $60,000 car in the driveway, and is entitled enough to be disappointed when it's not there? Then, as a grown up, he is apparently rich enough for his wife to buy said $60,000 car without his notice, but not own one already? In what bizzaro universe do these people live?

2. Target (2012) "Let's Go Together"


Many people thought this ad was funny, and we don’t necessarily disagree. However, it’s disturbing that Target believes a significant segment of their customers are airheaded, superficial teenage girls with a limitless shopping budget. Might be more disturbing if they’re right...

3. Cornerstone MWC (2017) "A Cornerstone Christmas"

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No one goes over the top in their creative more than mega-churches. The greatest example of this is the famous Evangel Cathedral Flash Website (which only lives on in a YouTube video - google it). Anyway, this ad is not quite on that level, but definitely have your dramamine ready.

A lesson for small businesses here. If you want to influence people, you need to be relatable. There is nothing relatable when actors display absurd levels of euphoria over the most common experiences. Your product, service, or Lollapalooza Christmas concert is not THAT good. So don't pretend, just be real.

4. Lexus (2017) "Whispers"

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The girl at the beginning is so cute you might be tricked into thinking Lexus has finally created a charming ad. It’s a trap! Prepare to enter a universe of unsettling coat models and $80,000 Christmas presents.

Also, what little girl ignores a puppy!?

5. Macy's Perfect Gift (2017) "Holiday Lights"


More proof that advertising executives are in fact lizard people. First, they have clearly never put Christmas lights up themselves, on their own house, on their own time, with their own money. As someone who spent hours moving a 50lb ladder acoss my house to hang a straight line of icicle lights, I find this insulting.

But, the real problem with this ad is its message. A husband misses the entire Christmas season with his family in order to present a cheap department store ring to his wife, and she's happy about it? I'm telling you - lizard people!

6. K-Mart (2013) "Giffing Out on the Sidewalk"

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You know, I was just thinking, Christmas time is not noisy enough! Thanks, Kmart.

7. C&A (1999) Unknown


This one needs little explanation. We can maybe chalk up some of this to the cultural barrier and the 90's were an awkward time for everyone. But the take away is pretty horrible, "Don't write your letter to Santa kids cause he might use it to wipe his butt." I can't. Thanks for ruining Santa.

8. East Hills Mall (2014?) Also, Unknown

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There aren't words to say how horrible this ad is... none. It makes me never want to buy anything mentioned in this ad. Also the meme potential in this was a missed opportunity I think. 

 9. Aldi (2017) "White Wine"


The stigma that moms have to drink away their stress because they have more kids than they can handle is tired and still insulting. The takeaway here: “Stressed? Don’t parent - drink cheap wine. Merry Christmas from Aldi!” 

10. Folgers (2009) "Brother & Sister"

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You've cringed at it before, but here it is again. The creepiest brother and sister you've ever seen.

11. McDonalds (1986) Unknown

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12. M&M's (1996) "Faint"


Finally, the best for last. After all of the terrible holiday commercials, here is a truly good Christmas ad.  Merry Christmas!


Topics: Holiday Advertisements