It’s a common saying that once the Christmas advertisements start appearing on TV, then the festive season is truly upon us. Over the last few years, inspired by the poignant, beautifully crafted adverts produced by the John Lewis Group, other retailers have quickly gotten in on the act and in the process, dominated the pop culture discussion and found themselves celebrated across social media. As we head ever closer to December and with 2019 Christmas adverts starting to appear on our television screens, we look at some of the most influential adverts created by retailers over the last few years – and what kind of impact it had.

Sainsbury’s, 2018 – ‘The Big Night’

It’s impossible to watch this advert and not smile. Most people will remember appearing in a primary school nativity, but Sainsbury’s heart-warming advert takes it a whole new level. Directed by Michael Gracey, who directed the film The Greatest Showman, little children singing about the joys of giving during the festive season touched the hearts of millions. Not to mention, the clip of a child dressed as a plug jumping into a socket quickly became a social media sensation and inspired multiple memes. It was so successful that it was even voted the best Christmas advert of 2018!

John Lewis, 2011 – ‘The Long Wait’

The John Lewis Christmas advert is now a seasonal mainstay and there’s talk throughout the year of what it will contain and what song will be acoustically covered in the background. Whilst everyone has their favourite, there’s no denying that 2011’s ‘The Long Wait’ was a revolutionary addition to the Christmas advertisement scene. The first of their adverts to follow an actual story, its sweet narrative involved a small child waiting for Christmas to come so he can give his parents his gifts. Sweet and emotional, The Independent ranked it as their top John Lewis advert of all time.

Marks and Spencer, 2017 – ‘Paddington & The Christmas Visitor’

Utilising the star power of everyone’s favourite Peruvian visitor, Paddington, the story tells of the bear helping a burglar he mistakes for Santa return presents to the street. The retailer paired up with StudioCanal – and the voice of Paddington, actor Ben Wishaw – for this charming advert, which was one of the first to appear that year on our screens. Audiences loved the famous face and the YouTube clip of the advert has racked up over 6m views so far.

These are just three examples of some of the best Christmas adverts from the last few years. Which retailer will take the top spot in 2019?