Wondering who sings Apple Christmas advert, and what on earth is Apple’s 2018 Christmas ad actually about? We have the answers! We also have all of the Apple Holiday ads from the past ten years for you to watch below.
Apple’s new Christmas advert for 2018 stars an animated girl and her dog with a music track called Come Out and Play by California-based singer Billie Eilish. Eilish and her brother Finneas were commissioned to write the track for the Apple Holiday ad. You can listen to the track on Apple Music (or buy it on iTunes) here.
It’s probably not immediately apparent what message the ad is trying to get across. In fact, the only clue that it’s an Apple ad is fact that the girl uses a MacBook.
At the beginning of the ad we see her print something out and hide it in a box. The first hint at her creativity - and her insecurity about it - comes when we see her sculpt a dog’s face in dough before balling it up at the bakery where she works. Later on she closes the lid of her MacBook to avoid someone seeing what she is working on.
Lots of things are printed out and locked away in the box until the dog opens the window and causes all the pages to fly out and into what looks like a Parisian street below.
Finally, people see what the girl has produced and, following their acceptance, she gains the confidence to share her gifts.
The message of the advert is: ‘Share your gifts’. With gifts here meaning your creative abilities, rather than the traditional gifts we’d expect to hear about at this time of year.
Watch Apple’s 2018 Christmas ad on YouTube.
Since we are feeling festive, here are all the Apple Christmas commercials for the past ten years. Enjoy reminiscing.
Apple's 2017 Christmas ad titled ‘Sway’ saw a woman choose the Sam Smith track Palace on her iPhone X, plug AirPods in her ears and dance her way into the arms of a man.
In 2016 Apple’s Christmas ad stared Frankenstein (Apple titled the ad 'Frankenstein', although, obviously it was referring to Frankenstein’s monster). The monster was seen venturing into town to celebrate Christmas, with the message at the heart of the ad being about acceptance.
For Apple’s 2015 Christmas commercial we saw Stevie Wonder use GarageBand on his MacBook to re-record his 1967 festive track Someday at Christmas with Andra Day.
In 2014 Apple’s Christmas ad, titled ‘The Song’ saw a girl create a duet of her accompanying her late grandfather for her grandmother to listen to.
And in 2013 we had ‘Misunderstood’ where a family gathered for Christmas. Everyone appears to be having fun while a teenage boy obsessively uses his iPhone. It turns out that he has been using the phone to make a movie of the celebrations.
In 2012, Apple’s Christmas commercial saw a FaceTime conversation between a girl and her grandfather.
And way back in 2011 Siri was helping Santa (who was using an iPhone 4S).
FaceTime was also the star of Apple’s Christmas ad in 2010.
For a trip even further down memory lane, in 2009 the Apple Christmas Commercial saw an iPhone 3GS being used, showcasing just how easily Christmas could be managed on the device, in an ad titled '12 Days of Christmas'.
Want to see even more Apple ads from the past? You might like to read The 14 best Apple ads of all time.
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How the internet is reinventing the Christmas commercial
By Jamie Robertson
BBC World News
The internet is reinventing the Christmas TV commercial, making it more creative, more ambitious - and arguably more self-regarding.
Advertising plays a central role at Christmas, and for over 100 years has extended its reach from posters to radio, TV and now online.
Successfully making that last leap has become the holy grail of Christmas advertising.
"The strategy among the retailers now is to get the ad into a prime time spot," says Neil Saunders, managing director of retail research agency Conlumino.
"From then on TV becomes less important as the message goes off into social media, where there is less cost and the reach can be phenomenal, far greater than TV."
So, let's look at how that works with one of the most famous, the John Lewis ManOnTheMoon commercial.
In early November it launched the ad, telling the story of a small child who sees a lonely old man through a telescope living on the moon, and sends him a Christmas present by balloon.
Conventional wisdom might assume that the campaign should spark interest in the retailer - John Lewis - but there's barely a mention of the name.
Instead the aim seems to be to spark interest in the ad itself.
To this end John Lewis actually advertised the advertisement with a 10 second teaser commercial a week before it went live, and fired up social media interest with the #ManOnTheMoon hashtag.
Three hours after the advert was aired, #ManOnTheMoon was trending with 40,000 tweets.
And it doesn't stop there. Of the £7m spent on the campaign, John Lewis spent only £1m on the ad itself, which is just the tip of a merchandising iceberg.
There's an app offering moon-related information. There's a tie-in with a game that can be played on mobiles, sending your presents to the moon by balloon, though at this point Christmas sentimentality is abandoned in favour of eluding surface to air missiles.
Then there's a link-in with ManOnTheMoon telescopes, pyjamas, bedding, mugs and so on.
"The key to the John Lewis ad is that people no longer watch real-time television," says Jacques de Cock of the London School of Marketing.
"They defer their watching to Netflix or YouTube, and to capitalise on this market advertisers have to make their ads into social phenomena."
The reality is that companies are having to make contact with a customer whose habits are dictated not by TV but by the internet.
For instance, view the new Harvey Nichols commercial and the last frame has a "Shop Now" button to take you straight to the store.
You can't do that on TV.
But the customer is doing a lot more than just clicking and buying Uncle Cedric's Christmas socks on Amazon.
He or she is researching, comparing prices and browsing online, before either clicking or physically marching into the store and demanding the socks over the counter.
According to Forrester Research, by 2020, 53% of retail sales across Europe will be influenced one way or another by the online world.
So it is not important to an advertiser by what mechanism the money is spent. What matters is where the customer makes up his or her mind - and that space is increasingly a digital one.
All of which shapes the way ads are made.
Sainsbury's advert "Mog's Christmas Calamity" written by the writer and illustrator Judith Kerr runs for a full three and a half minutes. The traditional TV ad break spot could never support that on a regular basis - but the internet can.
Lifting time restrictions allows for a great deal more creativity. For instance, the Mulberry Christmas commercial turns the gift of a red bag into a parody of the Nativity, attended by shepherds and Wise Men, which is witty both visually and verbally ("It is a thing of wonder" extols one of the Wise Men).
And there are other opportunities to add nuances to your brand.
Click on the end of the Sainsbury's commercial and up come links to Judith Kerr's book, the making of the commercial, Save the Children, competitions, recipes and of course Sainsbury's produce.
"We love working for retail," says James Murphy, chief executive of adam&eveDDB, which made the John Lewis ad.
"Retail is the new rock and roll in advertising. It is a great shop window for your creativity and for your effectiveness."
Some might argue the industry is taking itself a teensy weensy bit too seriously. The Burberry Christmas commercial, borrowing its theme from the play/movie Billy Elliot, rolls its own credits at the end.
Bizarrely, the prize for the most viewed ad this Christmas goes to the German supermarket chain Edeka which has been shared 2.39 million times online, leaving John Lewis (1.3 million) and Sainsbury (917,000) trailing in its wake.
It tells a tear-jerking tale, that some might find in questionable taste, of an old man abandoned by his family at Christmas, until, by faking his own death he manages to bring them round the table for Christmas dinner.
Edeka doesn't have an international retail operation. Yet the ad appears on YouTube with English subtitles, suggesting the commercial is as interested in its own brilliance as it is in trying to sell a product.
Supermarket chain Aldi tried to puncture this sort of self-indulgence by making a parody of John Lewis's ManOnTheMoon ad with the frail old gentleman debating whether he should buy a cheaper telescope at Aldi.
But it raises the question - does any of this actually increase sales?
Marks and Spencer tried to tap into this market in 2014, with its Magic and Sparkle TV commercial showing fairies carrying out gratuitous acts of generosity.
The fairies gathered 42,000 Twitter followers and the campaign was hailed as the most imaginative social media event of the year.
But it didn't work in terms of sales and Christmas turnover slumped.
"The campaign is only successful if you have the right product at the right price," says Neil Saunders.
"People may want to come to the shop, but if they can't find what they want they won't buy."
This year M&S has avoided story-telling and instead opted for what is little more than a glitzy montage of its wares.
However, Robert Jones head of new thinking at agency Wolff Olins argues the campaign was still effective.
"It may not have worked in terms of Christmas sales - but this is part of a long term strategy to create an image. You can't change the way people see you in a single year."
So is the John Lewis ad working?
On the big discount day, Black Friday, sales were up 4.8% on last year. But it is worth noting that whatever the long term effect, the only John Lewis item featured in the ad - a telescope - had sold out online five hours after the ad went live.
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"The Song" - Apple's Christmas Commercial 2014
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|Title||"The Song" - Apple's Christmas Commercial 2014.mp3|
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Sainsbury’s Christmas Commercial Has Blown John Lewis' Penguin Out Of The Water
Sainsbury's epic 2014 Christmas commercial (watch the full ad below), created by ad agency AMV BBDO, isn't a fictional tale of a cute CGI animal, or even a fictional family eating Sainsbury's turkey dinner and sharing Sainsbury's gifts.
The ad depicts the remarkable true story of real events that took place on Christmas Day in 1914, during World War I. On that day soldiers on both sides of the conflict downed their weapons, emerged from their trenches and exchanged seasonal songs and even gifts.
The two armies also played a friendly games of football to mark the festive occasion, a warming image also featured in the ad.
The only product that appears in the entire 3 minute 40 second-long full version of the commercial is a chocolate bar, which one soldier hands to the other as a gift. The supermarket has partnered with the Royal British Legion to sell the vintage-looking chocolate bar in stores for £1, with all profits going to the charity (a far cry from the £95 stuffed penguin John Lewis was retailing — which is now sold out.)
This year's ad from Sainsbury's is, in our opinion, the best Christmas effort from UK shores. It doesn't follow the same trite formula that — while still effective (we absolutely loved this year's John Lewis penguin spot) — many viewers have come to expect as soon as festive ads start appearing on screens in November; it's not a hugely commercialized affair; and the cinematography is stunning — it won't look out of place in the cinema.
Hats off to you Sainsbury's and AMV BBDO, you've produced an absolute stunner.
Watch the full ad here:
Commercial 2014 christmas
Kmart Unleashes Season's First Christmas Ad
Last year, Kmart received some grief for its decision to start airing Christmas commercials in early September. Mere days after Labor Day, in fact, when most families were still in the thick of back to school shopping and the winter holidays were note remotely on the radar.
After being subjected to the unseasonably early ads, consumers took to Kmart's Facebook page to air their grievances. "What happened to Halloween and thanksgiving?" one commenter posted. "Stop with the Christmas commercials ALREADY!!" Another raged, "Why don't you just start this on 1st each year! This is ridiculous and if I see on ad on tv I will never stop in your store!"
Fast-forward a year, and lo and behold, Kmart is again airing a Christmas commercial within a few days of Labor Day weekend. Yet it can't be said that Kmart, which has managed to put together some remarkably clever and funny viral commercials of late (remember Ship My Pants and Big Gas Savings?), is entirely tone deaf to last year's criticisms.
The new Christmas commercial, the ad's spokeswoman clarifies, is "not a Christmas commercial." She then goes on—coyly, with strategically raised eyebrows—to make the case that shoppers should start using Kmart's layaway right now if, "say you have an event in late December that you need a lot of gifts for," deadpanning, "Like maybe if your entire family is having a birthday on the same day." The ad ends wishing everyone a "Merry Birthday." Watch it yourself if you like:
Why is Kmart taking the risk of yet again turning customers off by unleashing a Christmas commercial more than 100 days before Christmas, thereby raining on everyone's late summer? (It's technically still summer for a couple more weeks, remember.) It seems like every shopping season seems to expand every year, so retailers are constantly trying to beat the competition to the punch in terms of snagging shopper dollars. If a shopper puts some toys and electronics on layaway at Kmart in September, after all, that shopper isn't going to later be buying those same items at Target, Walmart, Amazon, or wherever.
What's more, Kmart, which tends to attract low-income shoppers, has an especially longstanding layaway tradition. The big toy store chains and all-purpose retailers revamped layaway program a couple of years ago, slashing fees and adding perks to try to get customers on board. That trend came as something of a surprise considering that just a few years before that, many big-box stores had largely gotten rid of layaway as an option. During the years that the majority of retailers played down or did away with layaway entirely, however, Kmart kept its layaway tradition alive. And Kmart's latest commercial and layaway promotions—no money down, no fees for many layaway contracts—shows that the retailer still considers layaway to be very important for the company, especially during the Christmas season.
Oh yeah, forgot: It's not Christmas season yet!
The other reason Kmart executives decided to air the early commercial is that, presumably, they think it's funny, and they hope that viewers do too. Not everyone is on board, however. Here's a recent comment posted at Kmart's Facebook page:
Sainsbury's Christmas advert recreates first world war truce
Sainsbury’s has recreated one of the most famous moments of the first world war in its new Christmas advert, which is squarely pitched at toppling John Lewis as king of festive sentimentality.
The commercial, which premiered during ITV’s Coronation Street on Wednesday night, retells the story of Christmas Day in 1914, when opposing British and German soldiers emerged from their trenches to exchange gifts and play football.
The supermarket reconstructed the trench scenes with the help of a war historian and involvement from the Royal British Legion (RBL), which runs the annual poppy campaign.
While some have questioned the tastefulness of using war to sell food and drink, Sainbury’s has smartly agreed to donate all profits made from the sale of a (£1) chocolate bar that features in the advert to the RBL. The supermarket also has a long-running relationship with the RBL going back 20 years.
In the 3m 40sec film, a British soldier hears German troops singing ‘Silent Night’ and tentatively ventures into the barbed wire of ‘no-man’s land’, before soldiers from both sides join him and shake hands.
After a game of football, the British soldier secretly slips a gift into the pocket of a German soldier, who unwraps it to find a chocolate bar when he returns to his side of the battlefield.
The advert follows the public’s passionate response to the exhibition of thousands of ceramic poppies in the moat of the Tower of London to commemorate 100 years since the start of the first world war. The artwork has drawn millions of visitors in just a few months.
Charles Byrne, director of fundraising for the Royal British Legion, said: “We’re very proud of our 20-year partnership with Sainsbury’s and this campaign is particularly important.
“One hundred years on from the 1914 Christmas truce, the campaign remembers the fallen, while helping to raise vital funds to support the future of living.”
Mark Given, head of brand communications at Sainsbury’s, said: “This year, we wanted to reflect that theme of sharing in our Christmas campaign through the lens of one of the most extraordinary moments of sharing in modern history when, on Christmas Day 1914, British and German soldiers laid down their arms, and came together on neutral territory to share stories, mementoes and even a game of football.
“The Christmas truce is an emotive and cherished story in our history that is especially poignant in this first world war centenary year. That’s why we have worked together closely with the Legion to ensure we bring this moment to life with authenticity and respect.
“We know many of our customers feel as passionately about the incredible work of the Legion as we do. We hope our campaign will raise awareness and funds for the Legion and inspire our customers to share a memorable Christmas with family and friends.”
The film, produced by Sainbury’s ad agency AMV BBDO, follows last week’s premiere of John Lewis’s Christmas advert, ‘Monty’s Christmas’, featuring a penguin and a small boy. John Lewis is also selling merchandise from its Christmas advert, including Monty The Penguin pajamas, cufflinks and a Monty toy priced at £95.
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Sainsbury's Christmas advert 2014: Moving great tribute or cynical commercial?
The praise was instant and overwhelming.
“One of the most beautiful things I have ever seen,” said one impressed viewer. “The true spirit of Christmas” and the “best-ever” festive TV advert, said others on Twitter.
The 2014 Sainsbury’s Christmas commercial has moved many viewers to tears. When it was first shown the internet lit up with links and “likes”.
And in less than 24 hours the store chain’s official YouTube video had scored more than 1.8 million hits.
Inspired by the First World War’s 1914 Christmas truce, it shows enemies on the Western Front, divided by a snow-covered No Man’s land, singing Silent Night in two languages during a brief pause in the slaughter.
Then, with jumpers for goalposts, British and German soldiers slowly and nervously emerge from their trenches for handshakes and a game of football.
But as the distant shelling resumes, the two sides reluctantly retreat behind their barbed wire.
Back in his trench, one German discovers a bar of chocolate sneaked into his pocket by his British counterpart – the same bar which will be sold in Sainsbury’s stores with profits going to the Royal British Legion.
The ad was filmed over four days near Ipswich, Suffolk, using authentically re-constructed trenches.
The director, Ringan Ledwidge, admits he was intimidated by the sensitivity of the subject.
His own great-uncle, Lance Corporal Francis Ledwidge, died at the Battle of Passchendaele in July 1917, aged 29, and his paternal grandfather fought in both world wars.
Ringan says: “It was nerve-racking making sure the tone was right. I wanted to make the Royal British Legion proud and it meant a lot to me personally, which is a very rare thing in advertising. I wanted to do the story and those men justice and make something that transcends products and advertising.
“The message is wonderful. I think people forget Christmas is about sharing. What a powerful way to do that and pay respect to the guys who fought and make people think about them.”
Sainsbury’s say that although the events portrayed in the ad are fictional, they used real letters and diaries and consulted historians at the Imperial War Museum and the British Legion.
Do you think the Sainsbury's advert is moving or cynical?
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The advert has won industry praise too.
Don Parker, an expert at Bournemouth University, says: “Sainsbury’s have won the war of the ads. The timing of it is perfect with the centenary and with the Tower of London poppy event.
“They’ve made an emotional connectional with people. It was risky too. Remember, as soon as that touching scene was over the lads in the ad were shooting at each other again.”
Such was the attention to detail, a biscuit seen in a British soldier’s mess tin was made to a First World War recipe of water, flour and salt while the chocolate bar’s logo is the one used by Sainsbury’s in 1914.
Even the unknown actors were chosen from authentic locations – Bury actor Calum Austin plays a fictional Tommy from the Cheshire Regiment, while the main German is from Berlin.
“We chose actors who weren’t known so they didn’t detract from the story,” says director Ringan.
The RBL will receive 50p from every £1 bar sold of Belgian chocolate made in the town of Ypres, scene of one of the war’s bloodiest battles.
Legion’ fundraising director Charles Byrne said: “This campaign is particularly important – 100 years on from the 1914 Christmas truce, it remembers the fallen while helping to raise vital funds to support the future of living.”
While most feedback for the 3min 20sec ad is positive, others on Twitter claim it is “profoundly distasteful” and “terribly exploitative”.
The Advertising Standards Authority said there had been more than 130 complaints since it was first shown during Wednesday night’s Coronation Street.
Most said it was offensive to use First World War imagery to promote a business or that it was not clear from the outset that it was an advert.
Neil Kelley, an advertising expert at Leeds Beckett University, said it made him feel “unclean”.
He added: “It’s a lovely story from history but I find it upsetting they’ve used the First World War as a vehicle to promote a supermarket.
“The sentiment behind it, supporting the RBL, is sound, but there’s something that doesn’t sit right with the use of the war. It doesn’t bring home any of the horrors... I think there’s a possibility veterans may be aggrieved too.”
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An ASA spokeswoman said: “We will carefully assess the complaints to establish whether there are grounds for further action.”
Sainsbury’s said the advert was meant to “raise awareness and funds during this centenary year”.
A spokesman added: “We recognise the Christmas truce is an emotive and cherished story... which is why we have worked with the Legion and experts to ensure we tell it with authenticity and respect.”
The 1914 Christmas truce also inspiration two long-ago pop videos – Paul McCartney’s Pipes of Peace in 1983 and The Farm’s All Together Now in 1990.
Taff Gillingham, co-founder of Khaki Devil, the firm that operates the Suffolk trenches where filming took place, disagrees with the advert critics.
He said: “If we think somebody is making a programme that’s disrespectful we just won’t be part of it. We’ve turned down plenty of stuff in the past.
“The Christmas truce is something very close to my heart and there’s no way we would’ve done it if it was insulting to the old boys. And all the old boys I knew... I think they would have loved it.”
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