How to use the 10 best 2019 holiday commercials to expand your emotional vocabulary
Once upon a time there was only marketing in my life, and then my personal project, Comfort Zone Shake-Up, arrived. This could be a good title for the story of my passions.
My long-time passion for marketing, the one made up of university classes, a master’s degree, internships, experiences, and roles of responsibility in Italy and in the US is the one I had the opportunity and the good fortune of transforming into a profession. It is a passion that is centered around one thing: the persona(s).
My young passion for my personal project—Comfort Zone Shake-Up—is one that keeps me awake at night due to its disruptive energy. It is a passion that is also centered around one thing: the person.
Exploring the splendid complexity, the different characteristics, and the unlimited potential of human beings—the person—is the engine that drives me to discover, learn, and share.
The person is emotion
Emotions guide our behavior and determine our actions. To the emotions I decided to entrust the task of uniting my two worlds for once—professional and personal—and doing so in the most emotional month of the year.
December has always been the time of the year when brand stories are all about emotions. Brands do it in different ways with different voices, different products, and different categories. Sometimes they succeed very well, sometimes not so much. Although this article represents a kind of convergence between my two worlds, I decided to use some of the most beautiful commercials of this holiday season to continue expanding our emotional vocabulary and doing some shake-up reflection, rather than to doing a “technical” analysis of the spots.
If the challenge #ShakeUpYourEmotions has allowed us to talk about the so-called “core” emotions such as fear, disgust, anger, joy, and sadness, the invitation here is to use the best commercials of the 2019 holidays to help us expand our vocabulary of emotions.
Expand your emotional vocabulary with the 2019 holiday commercials
Make yourself comfortable and enjoy this selection of brand stories. I reviewed many of the commercials proposed for this 2019 holiday season, fished out a couple of the most beautiful from last year, and made my own selection. I associated an emotion and the basic definition to each spot. I designed the experience for the readers in this way:
- Watch the video. If you like it, look at it a second time while trying to think of the emotion to associate.
- Discover the emotion and its meaning. I have associated an emotion to each video. It is not a technical analysis of the commercials from a marketing perspective; it is more a self-reflection. There is no right or wrong approach; there are different feelings and opinions that each video can arouse in us.
- 3. Compare your emotion with the one I chose. It could happen to be in tune, or it could happen that you have other emotions to associate. You can share your point of view in the comments below.
Enjoy the selection and, above all, take your time to reflect!
A Holiday Reunion – Xfinity 2019 / Sky 2019
“Nostalgia is a sentimentality for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations. The word nostalgia is learned formation of a Greek compound, consisting of νόστος (nóstos), meaning ‘homecoming,’ a Homeric word, and ἄλγος (álgos), meaning ‘pain’ or ‘ache,’ and was coined by a 17th-century medical student to describe the anxieties displayed by Swiss mercenaries fighting away from home. Described as a medical condition—a form of melancholy—in the Early Modern period, it became an important trope in Romanticism. Nostalgia is associated with a yearning for the past, its personalities, and events, especially the ‘good old days’ or a ‘warm childhood.’ — Wikipedia
Microsoft Holiday Ad 2019 – Holiday Magic: Lucy & the Reindeer “Curiosity is a quality related to inquisitive thinking such as exploration, investigation, and learning, evident by observation in humans and other animals. Curiosity is heavily associated with all aspects of human development, in which derives the process of learning and desire to acquire knowledge and skill. The term curiosity can also be used to denote the behavior or emotion of being curious, in regard to the desire to gain knowledge or information. Curiosity as a behavior and emotion is attributed over millennia as the driving force behind not only human development, but developments in science, language, and industry.”— Wikipedia
Apple Holiday – The Surprise “Surprise is a brief mental and physiological state, a startle response experienced by animals and humans as the result of an unexpected event. Surprise can have any valence; that is, it can be neutral/moderate, pleasant, unpleasant, positive, or negative. Surprise can occur in varying levels of intensity ranging from very-surprised, which may induce the fight-or-flight response, or little-surprise that elicits a less intense response to the stimuli.” — Wikipedia
John Lewis Christmas advert 2019: Edgar the Dragon stars in a Christmas ad for John Lewis & Waitrose “Empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference, that is, the capacity to place oneself in another’s position. Definitions of empathy encompass a broad range of emotional states. Types of empathy include cognitive empathy, emotional empathy, and somatic empathy.”— Wikipedia
Disneyland Paris 2019 Christmas Holiday Commercial “Wonder is an emotion comparable to surprise that people feel when perceiving something very rare or unexpected (but not threatening). It has historically been seen as an important aspect of human nature, specifically being linked with curiosity and the drive behind intellectual exploration. Wonder is also often compared to the emotion of awe but awe implies fear or respect rather than joy. – Wikipedia
Very.co.uk Christmas Advert 2019 – Get More Out of Giving “To comfort someone is to give solace or to soothe. The verb comfort comes from the Latin word comfortare, which means “strengthen greatly.” To give comfort is to shore up the mood or physical state of someone else. As a noun, comfort is anything that provides satisfaction or a relaxed and easy feeling. You might think that the comfort of your new shoes cannot be surpassed.” – Vocabulary.com
Gift the Thought (:60s) – The Hoodie “Love encompasses a range of strong and positive emotional and mental states, from the most sublime virtue or good habit, the deepest interpersonal affection and to the simplest pleasure. An example of this range of meanings is that the love of a mother differs from the love of a spouse, which differs from the love of food. Most commonly, love refers to a feeling of strong attraction and emotional attachment. Love is considered to be a positive and negative: with its virtue representing human kindness, compassion, and affection, as ‘the unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another’; and its vice representing human moral flaw, akin to vanity, selfishness, amour-propre, and egotism, as it potentially leads people into a type of mania, obsessiveness or codependency. It may also describe compassionate and affectionate actions towards other humans, one’s self or animals. In its various forms, love acts as a major facilitator of interpersonal relationships and, owing to its central psychological importance, is one of the most common themes in the creative arts. Love has been postulated to be a function to keep human beings together against menaces and to facilitate the continuation of the species.” – Wikipedia
The Season’s Best Holiday Ad – Bouygues Christmas 2018 (still awesome in 2019) “Cheerfulness is what you feel when you’re happy and carefree. Cheerfulness is a quality of brightness and optimism, a state that other people can usually sense from your happy whistle or the smile on your face. You could also use words like “cheer” or “happiness” to describe this sunny quality. This noun comes from cheer, which stems from a root meaning “face” — the idea is that cheer (or cheerfulness) can be seen in a person’s facial expressions.” – Vocabulary.com
John Lewis & Partners Christmas Ad 2018 “Gratitude, thankfulness, or gratefulness, from the Latin word gratus ‘pleasing, thankful,’ is a feeling of appreciation felt by and/or similar positive response shown by the recipient of kindness, gifts, help, favors, or other types of generosity, towards the giver of such gifts.” — Wikipedia
The Time Shop – A Holiday Short Film – Proudly Served by Chick-fil-A® “Courage (also called bravery or valour) is the choice and willingness to confront agony, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation. Physical courage is bravery in the face of physical pain, hardship, death or threat of death, while moral courage is the ability to act rightly in the face of popular opposition, shame, scandal, discouragement, or personal loss.” — Wikipedia
By increasing our awareness of our emotional state, learning to recognize the emotions we feel, and expanding our emotional vocabulary by giving a name and a meaning to our emotions and those of the people around us, we can take ourselves back from the unconscious behavior that comes from being busy all the time.