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Holiday Commercials That Just Won't Die

Holiday Commercials That Just Won't Die

Courtesy Pennsylvania Lottery via YouTube

Endless repetition is one surefire way to make your business memorable, if not loathed. (Maxwell, Geico’s shrill pig, and Flo, the upbeat Progressive Insurance girl, are really testing our nerves right now.) But some holiday-themed commercials have done the unthinkable: They’ve been on air so long that viewers have grown attached to them.

Eat ’N Park Star (1982)

Eat ’N Park, a Homestead (Pa.) restaurant company, has since 1982 been running the same commercial of a cartoon star trying to reach the top of a Christmas tree. Now, Eat ’N Park even offers star-themed merchandise, such as travel mugs and magnets, at its restaurants in support of children’s hospitals. Said a YouTube commenter, “Do people dislike this video? They have no souls.”

Folgers Christmas Homecoming (1985)

This coffee ad, which shows a son returning home for Christmas, first aired from 1985 to 1994 and then returned from 2005 to 2007. Folgers’s modernized remake, in which a backpacker son comes back from volunteering in West Africa, has been airing since 2009 (although some viewers say the siblings in the new ad seem uncomfortably—even creepily—close).

Hershey’s Kisses Bells (1989)

These red, green, and silver bells have been chiming We Wish You a Merry Christmas since 1989, making it Hershey’s longest-running commercial. One of the most beloved of all Christmas ads, it scores points for both simplicity and brevity.

Pennsylvania Lottery Snowfall (1992)

Gifting lotto tickets never goes out of style, as the Pennsylvania Lottery reminds viewers at this time of year. Its “Snowfall” ad, featuring carolers singing lyrics to the tune of The 12 Days of Christmas, first aired in 1992. This year the lottery released a shot-by-shot remake of the original that even uses the original audio track. But the “mustachioed newsstand man is no longer mustachioed” in the ad’s newer version, observed a blogger at the site Philebrity. “IS NOTHING SACRED?”

Campbell’s Soup Snowman (1993)

This kid never learns. Nearly every year since 1993, Campbell’s has run this classic commercial, in which a young boy has played outside for so long that he’s turned into a snowman. The lad manages to defrost, of course, thanks to a piping hot bowl of chicken noodle soup. “What an abusive and neglectful mother that boy must have,” wrote a YouTube commenter. “At least he got some soup.”

Wong is an associate editor for Bloomberg Businessweek. Follow her on Twitter @venessawwong.

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