Christmas Ads 2016: The One That Shouldn’t Be Forgotten

According to a recent article on Marketing Week, the Sainsbury’s The Greatest Gift ad, which features vocals from James Corden, has proven to be this year’s most popular Christmas advert on YouTube.

YouTube’s 10 most viewed UK Christmas ads as listed on the article are as follows:

  1. Sainsbury’s – The Greatest Gift
  2. John Lewis – #BustertheBoxer
  3. M&S – Christmas with love from Mrs. Claus
  4. Waitrose – #HomeforChristmas
  5. Burberry – The tale of Thomas Burberry
  6. – Get more out of giving
  7. Asda – Big dilemma
  8. Argos – The Christmas Yetis
  9. Aldi – Kevin the carrot
  10. Boots – The gift of giving

Now, as much as I love #BustertheBoxer, the above list does not actually feature my favourite advert of the Christmas season. I understand that this is because my favourite advert will not have received nearly half as many YouTube views as those above, it isn’t advertising a ‘big brand’, and probably isn’t on TV half as much either – but it’s one that struck a chord with me personally…

I am of course talking about Alzheimer’s Research UK’s ‘Santa Forgot’ Christmas advert.

I first came across the advert in November, when a friend of mine who works for the Alzheimer’s Research charity was encouraging people to share the video on Facebook.

Whilst many of the big brands this year have seemed to move away from the more ‘emotional’ adverts of the years before; the Alzheimer’s charity decided to release a poignant and eye-opening campaign to raise awareness, help people to understand dementia, and encourage donations to aid their research.

The advert, narrated by Stephen Fry, introduces us to a girl named Freya who asks her dad about the story of the forgotten Father Christmas. Freya’s father tells her of the Santa Claus who stopped coming on Christmas Eve because he’s suffering from dementia, and has become ‘sad, distant and afraid’. With the help of ‘Santa’s elves’, the young girl tries to look for a way to help him; ‘If a broken mechanism could be mended, then so could Santa’...

As someone who has experience of the effects that Alzheimer’s can have, I was initially nervous to watch the advert as I anticipated it would make me feel sad – a feeling I will generally try to avoid. Once I’d psyched myself up to watch the video, I discovered that whilst the advert is designed to pull on your heart strings, it strikes just the right balance between emotion and hope. Even though the advert tells a sad story, it finishes with a glimmer of hope, which is that with research things could improve for future generations.

A recent PRWeek poll asked readers to vote for their favourite PR and communications campaigns from November, and it was ‘Santa Forgot’ that came out as the favourite with 51% of the votes.

For me, whilst all the other Christmas adverts this year have their own appeal, and are to be appreciated for their efforts; it is the Alzheimer’s Research UK campaign that stuck out the most to me and has an important message, not to be forgotten.


Visit the Alzheimer’s Research UK website here:


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