Vintage Holiday Advertising


All the talk of contemporary Christmas commercials inspired me to take a peek back in history to what holiday adverts in the US looked like over the years.

Advertisers aim to connect with an audience through shared values and relatable narrative. At Christmas time this narrative comes in the form of quality time with loved ones, evergreens covered in snow and a jolly old elf flying around the world on a sled delivering gifts.  Despite any cynicism over consumerist pressures to spend over the holidays, something is consistent in advertising this time of year and that is the coming together of loved ones.

I pulled together a list of commercials dating back to the 1940s, and have shared them here for your enjoyment… tell us what you think!

In 1949 the rule-of-thumb 30 second TV commercials hadn’t quite taken hold However, appliances still were at the forefront of holiday gift-giving! In honor of our recent contest for iRobot I bring you a Westinghouse commercial clocking in at 2 minutes and 38 seconds.

Once upon a time it was totally cool to advertise cigarettes on TV. For Christmas in the 1950’s Lucky Strike sold 200 packs – sold by a pretty lady, of course

“When I grow up, I want to be a Mommy” – Need I say more about this commercial for Betsy Wetsy from the 1960s?

The magic of the holiday season is something advertisers have always drawn on for creative inspiration. And Coca Cola seems to do it better than anyone… Do yourself a favor and watch these two fantastic Coke commercials from 1977 and 1992

The 80s were a different time but just like today, marketers were happy to come up with any means possible to sell their product over the holidays.

And last but not least, MUST WATCH for all the other 90s kids out there… Awesome commercial for Nintendo 64.


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