28 December 2020
By Elaine Murphy
Nothing signals the modern Christmas season like the selection box of festive ads that begin in early December and last until New Year’s eve. Despite the Internet, broadcast advertisements are still powerful; and can call forth precious memories from our childhoods.
With a decline in the popularity of linear television the shared experiences and water-cooler moments of yesteryear are less and less, but let us remember what we do remember, in the form of classic ads which aired on the Irish airwaves.
Barry’s Tea Christmas Train Set 1994
The Christmas Train Set. This is the longest-running radio ad in Irish advertising history. It first aired in 1994 and tells the story of a father who remembers the joy of Christmas when he was a child. The ad was created by some of advertising’s greatest including the Voice Over Actor; Peter Caffrey. The ad has a layered soundscape which pulls you in. At a time when radio ads were typically 30 or 60 seconds in duration, this ad was 90 seconds long which a brave move by the Cork-based tea brand. The ad captures the magic of radio, and its capabilities to bring people on a journey of imagination.
Penneys (or Primark to our non-Ireland readers) is known for it’s low priced polyester rich clothing.
Budweiser Christmas 1987
First shown in 1988, it’s a hummable tune that became synonymous with “the holiday season” (as they say in the States), however, it’s not in HD so hasn’t been our screens in recent years. The Budweiser Clydesdales are a group of Clydesdale horses used for promotions and commercials by the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company. There are actually several teams of horses, that travel around the United States. Eight horses driven at any one time. Assorted Clydesdales are also used as animal actors in television commercials for Budweiser beer, particularly in Super Bowl ads.
Coca Cola Christmas Truck
In 2020 the Christmas Coca-Cola truck tour of Ireland was been cancelled for the first time in 10 years due to COVID. The big red truck has been popular with families who bring their children to see it as it visits around towns and cities around Ireland. Coca Cola Ireland posted on Twitter: “Due to current restrictions around the country, our Coca-Cola Christmas Truck Tour won’t go ahead this year. We know it’s disappointing, but we’ll continue to share special Christmas moments throughout the festive season. We look forward to seeing you next year.” Coca Cola didn’t invent Santa Claus but did popularise the image we know today.
ESB Going Home
Prior to COVID it was possible to drive long distances! The ESB advert first arrived on Irish screens over a quarter of a century ago and has resonated with audiences ever since. The advert depicts a son travelling home to his ‘Irish mammy’ for Christmas, and was especially apt in the 80’s when mass unemployment forced so many young people to move abroad. We see the son driving along, presumably with his father, back home his mother is getting the house ready for the visit by using many electric devices. She even has the immersion on. Does she have shares in the ESB?!