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MediaRadar’s 12 Ads of Christmas: 12 Engines Humming


‘Tis the season for advertisers to capitalize on family fun and gift-giving!

Christmas is right around the corner… And for most, that means family, gifts, and great food.

MediaRadar, on the other hand, will be carolling our way through Christmas, singing the praise of the holiday season’s latest and greatest ads!

Perhaps you’ve seen some of our previous ad roundups. This Christmas, however, we’re going above and beyond. We’ll be highlighting the best holiday ads across multiple industries, in the styling of the classic, “12 Days of Christmas.

We’ve all heard it…

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me,
 Twelve Drummers Drumming,
 Eleven Pipers Piping,
 Ten Lords a-Leaping,
 Nine Ladies Dancing,
 Eight Maids a-milking,
 Seven Swans a-swimming,
 Six Geese a-Laying,
 Five Gold Rings,
 Four Calling Birds,
 Three French Hens,
 Two Turtle Doves,
 And a Partridge in a Pear Tree!

Starting today, and continuing everyday until Christmas, we’ll be singing the tune of many brands and advertisers – from funny, to heart-warming, to downright absurd.

We love Christmas and we love great ads, so join us in a journey of innovation and creativity.

We’ll be unwrapping each post in subsequent order, starting from the top, where the original song speaks of 12 drummers drumming.

On the twelfth day of this content Christmas, however, your true love (MediaRadar) will start off by sending (little drummer boy drumroll please)… Twelve Engines Humming!

And with that, our journey ensues. Here are MediaRadar’s 12 favorite Christmas-themed automotive ads from a year not-entirely-gone by:


Lexus – “Let out your inner-child”

“Is this for me?” Oh yes. Yes it is.

What a way to start off our list…

Starring the single-digit aged dancing extraordinaire that appeared on other programs like America’s Got Talent, this ad is a simple take on how great it can feel to get a new car.

Even as an adult, being gifted a Lexus might have you moonwalking down the driveway in a fit of childlike excitement.


Toyota – “R+S”

We brought funny, now we’re bringing heart, right off the bat.

In this ad, Toyota does less to broadcast their own cars, and more to play with our emotions.

An older couple’s attachment to mother nature takes an unfortunate turn, but their daughter and her husband turn the unfortunate event into the greatest Christmas gift they could ever ask for.

As you’ll see, their attachment to mother nature lies in their own memories. From a tree to a table, it turns out that memories can be tangible.


Lincoln – “Olivia’s Wishlist”

No, no. There’s no McConaughey in this one.

This Lincoln ad plays on every child’s dream – to hold the entire world in their hands.

Olivia sits in the backseat of the car, shaking her snowglobe, watching the effects on the people around her, turning a crowded street into a harmonious holiday orchestral affair.

This year, Olivia is not the only one making holiday wishes, however. Lincoln’s “Wishlist” is a campaign, not just a standalone ad. MediaRadar has spotted “Wishlist” ads across multiple platforms, including other video ads like this, and digital display ads.


Subaru – “Share the Love”

As you’ll see throughout our holiday ad recaps, there’s a lot about sharing, caring, love, and generally having heart, and ironically, not always a lot about actual cars.

Subaru follows suit here, with their “Share the Love” campaign.

Over the course of many “Share the Love” ads, Subaru introduced us to different people sharing heartfelt experiences they’ve had with organizations like Make-A-Wish, Meals on Wheels, and the National Park Foundation.

This ad is a compilation of all of those people united in song, in a single ad, presenting an overall charitable theme, backed by Subaru.


Mercedes Benz – “Pit Stop”

The man of the hour finally makes an appearance!

Santa Claus, aka Kriss Kringle, aka Saint Nick, aka The Man in the Chimney, aka Father Christmas, is here at last.

Whichever moniker you prefer, it’s clear to all that Santa’s traditional sleigh ride has gotten a bit of an upgrade.

Dashing through the snow in a fleet of Mercedes showcases the work of the elves at Daimler. These cars run smooth no matter the weather or terrain.

It’s not till the very end that you understand why the ad is called “Pit Stop” – and it is a very cute reason indeed. Santa makes a stop, as his little helper needs to get out for quick a bathroom break.


Kia – “Light up the holidays”

This Kia ad is called, “Light up the holidays,” and with good reason, as they do just that.

In another Tran-Siberian Orchestra-backed, headlight filled ad, Kia illuminates the not-so-silent night, with a holiday themed light show.

It starts tame with a few headlights going on and off in time with the music, but quickly reaches a Christmas crescendo.


Audi – “Parking Lot”

It’s a race of the Audi’s in this Christmas shopping-themed ad!

The ad starts with a strangely solemn Santa ringing a bell in front of a mall and staring at a man driving an Audi. As Santa’s smile dissipates, the driver becomes puzzled, only soon to find out that Santa was foreshadowing the events to come.

The ad shows two men, both in Audi’s, on a wild chase in a parking lot, looking for the last remaining open spot. It’s quite the adventure, ending with both drivers making quite the leap of faith to get parking spots.

We’re left to assume that both drivers parked safely. However, the ad concludes with one last race – the race to the last stuffed animal.

Audi uses this as as a humorous commentary on holiday shopping for parents. In this ad, these Audi drivers turned out to be fathers.


Buick – “Shopping Tips”

For the 2017 holiday season, Buick has been running ads sporting their very own “shopping tips.”

Each one of these ads shows a man sitting in a chair, in front of the fireplace, in a bit of a new-school yule log style.

Buick has run many different versions of these ads, with many different shopping tips. They’ve appeared as TV commercials, and even as video display ads. In this particular example, the Buick-loving, tip-providing man offers his insights on the “frightful” weather.

In this case, however, it’s not the fire he sits next to, but the Four-Wheel Drive Buick, sitting in his living room, that is so very delightful.


Honda – “Happy Honda Days”

Honda’s “Happy Honda Days” ads can be seen in many forms – on TV, on YouTube, and as display ads.

Often seen with backing tracks that cover Lindsey Buckingham’s “Holiday Road,” Honda took to the internet to create a more immersive, in-depth ad for their Happy Honda Days campaign.

The example here is a 360-degree trip down “Candy Cane Lane.”

The ad delivery medium here is not just YouTube, not just video, but a sleigh and a full display of lights and decorations.


Ford – “Meet the Parents”

The holidays can be a stressful time, between choosing and buying the right gifts and closing out the fiscal year successfully, the season of giving can be straining on the nerves.

The anxiety mounts when the holiday season coincides with major relationship milestones, say for instance, meeting the parents…

First impressions are crucial in these instances, and Ford has you covered. Their park assist feature ensures you don’t botch the dreaded parallel park, so you’re sure to nail every first impression.

The last thing you need is a fender bender to put a dent in your chances with the potential in-laws.


Acura – “Season of Performance”

It’s gift-giving season, and the elves are working hard in their workshop, making an infinite number of toys for Santa to distribute to the masses of children.

For Acura, however, it’s the “Season of Performance.” They may not take Christmas as lightly as many of the other brands on this list, but they still aim their focus at capitalizing on the holiday season.

In this commercial, Acura presents their factory as their elf workshop, where they’re making big, beautiful toys for the masses of driving adults. A cleaner, cooler approach to holiday advertising.


Volvo – “Sweden’s Greetings”

At the end of the day, the holidays are about spending time with family, and Volvo drives this point home in their “Sweden’s greetings” creative.

The thirty second ad tugs at the heart strings while simultaneously discussing Volvo’s vision, that by 2020, no one being killed or seriously injured in one of their cars.

In discussing the value of family, they simultaneously cover the value of automobile safety. The snow covered roads and picturesque landscapes in the ad only serve to show exactly how reliable Volvos are.

We here at MediaRadar hope you and your loved ones have a safe and merry holiday season. Check back tomorrow for more fun holiday ads, and to find out what “eleven pipers piping” equates to in the advertising world!