A Forlorn Wooden Doll Finds Love at Her Local McDonald's in Brand's Holiday Ad Something you won't find in a Happy Meal

Ah, the holidays! A time for sharing, love and ... McDonald's? 

In "Juliette the Doll," a charming little ad by Leo Burnett London, a toyshop owner pulls a vintage doll, Juliette, out of a fading box. "Maybe this year," he whispers, setting her in the window. Days pass. People make purchases. Unsurprisingly, our heroine is never one of them. (Who plays with dolls anymore when there are VR Gears to give?) 

Juliette peers forlonly out the window, offering passersby her best demure poses. Her eyes drift, ever more often, to the cheerful McDonald's across the snowy street, where people seem to be having a grand old time. 

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November 22, 2016, 12:35 PM EST

Samsung Wishes You a Happy Virtual Holiday With Gear VR Ads and Experiences Passing on the 'feels'

Finally, here's a holiday ad where people aren't pretending to like the gifts they're given! There's just one catch: We really can't tell what's getting them all so wound up.

Samsung is hoping to create what it calls "a new holiday tradition" with a campaign called "The Gift of Galaxy," which celebrates experiences both delightful and immersive. If you've followed Samsung's many VR-related ads this year, you won't be all that surprised at what this gift entails. 

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November 22, 2016, 11:09 AM EST

Stay Comfy, Even When You're Not, With Cotton Inc.'s Holiday Line of Clothes Soft duds for those hard seasonal problems

The holidays are bound to lead to some awkward moments, like perhaps when Mom has a bit too much to drink. But if you're wearing comfortable clothing, they might just be a little more bearable.

A new campaign from trade group Cotton Incorporated and DDB New York offers suggestions on how to dress to get through your family time this Christmas season.

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November 22, 2016, 10:47 AM EST

How Bad Santa 2 Is Using Artists to Make, and Share, Its Comically Dirty Ad Campaign Welcome back, Willie

When Bad Santa 2 hits theaters this week, it will join a long list of releases this year that are sequels to movies made before Steve Jobs introduced the iPod. Or before Steve Jobs even returned to Apple in 1997.

So far in 2016, we've seen Independence Day, Bridget Jones' Diary, Zoolander and others all received much-delayed new installments, though audience response to them varied greatly.

2003's Bad Santa introduced us to Willie, a foul-mouthed drunk conman, played by Billy Bob Thornton, who dresses up as Santa Claus to get inside department stores when they're flush with cash during the holiday season. There are complications and problems, many of which he causes himself, and whatever the opposite of "heartwarming, inspirational holiday story" is, that was it.

Now, 13 years later, Willie and his compatriot Marcus (Tony Cox) are back for more Christmas thievery, this time including Willie's mother, played by Kathy Bates. Instead of a department store (possibly a reflection of how the retail landscape is no longer the golden goose it was over a decade ago), the crooks have their eye set on a charity in Chicago, though all the characters are still as loathsome as they were when we first met them.

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November 22, 2016, 7:09 AM EST

A Bit Too Much Family at the Holidays? HotelTonight Has a Wicked Solution for That 'Visit, don't stay,' say funny new ads

Not to be uncaring or anything, but family time should have its limits. Contrary to popular belief—and lots of heart-tugging holiday advertising flooding the market lately—there really is such a thing as too much togetherness.

Mobile app HotelTonight is clear-eyed about this, but doesn't suggest skipping the trek home altogether. That would be harsh (and potentially hazardous to your relationships). The brand does, though, give you an escape from your nattering cousin, your magic-loving uncle and that godforsaken doll-filled guest room at Grandma's house.

Its new campaign, "Visit, Don't Stay," aims to remind us all that Norman Rockwell-style gatherings exist only in paintings, and that saving our sanity is equally important as showing up for Thanksgiving dinner.

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November 22, 2016, 6:51 AM EST

Apple Enlists Frankenstein in This Strange, Sweet Appeal for Acceptance This Holiday Not just about friends and family

A lot of Christmas ads suggest that spending time with friends and family should be the ultimate goal of the holidays. But what about those people who don't have much of either? 

Apple just released its 2016 holiday commercial, and it's devoted to reminding people that friends and family aren't the only people who might need comforting at this time of year—and in this particular year, too. 

Directed by Park Pictures' Lance Acord (who also directed Apple's Emmy-winning 2013 holiday ad, "Misunderstood"), it's a remarkable piece of work and a study in contrasts—dark and light, sad and happy, lonely and full of love. 

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November 21, 2016, 11:29 AM EST

James Corden Sings for Sainsbury's in the Chain's Sweet Stop-Motion Christmas Ad Another plea to spend time with family

Last week, in the ongoing Super Bowl of U.K. Christmas ads, Sainsbury's released "The Greatest Gift." This sweet stop-motion animation story is about Dave, a working cog who just wants to be home for the holidays. 

Created by AMV BBDO, the West End-style musical film is set to "The Greatest Gift for Christmas Is Me," sung by James Corden and composed by Flight of the Conchords' Bret McKenzie. Conchords fans won't be disappointed by the lyrics, which, while being slyly funny, convey truths that resonate with most adults, especially this time of year. 

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November 21, 2016, 9:55 AM EST

3 Ways That Spin-Offs of Movie Franchises Have Been Marketed to the Audience From Jason Bourne to Dory

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is an expansion of the Harry Potter world, one that acts as a prequel to the book and film franchise we already know and mostly love, though we should talk about Chamber of Secrets at some point. More pragmatically, it's an opportunity for Warner Bros. to keep selling us movies based on J.K. Rowling's work now that the Potter books that served as the source material are done.

One of the key persistent components of the Fantastic Beasts marketing campaign has been its frequent intonation of this being "From J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World," an attempt to draw the connection between this movie and those that have come before it. Without any characters carrying over from the previous stories, there needed to be some brand continuity, and the "Wizarding World" phrasing not only brings connotations of the earlier movies but also ties in nicely with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction at Universal Studios.

Franchise extensions like these and others are great ways for writers and directors to tell additional stories in universes they've already created. They're also a great way for studios to print some (presumably) easy money, even if the original stars are no longer available or interested in returning.

There are three key ways that modern movie spin-offs have been presented to the audience, with each one tackling the question of brand continuity and audience recognition a bit differently.

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November 21, 2016, 8:29 AM EST

This Year's Most Anti-Consumerist Christmas Ad Is Also One of Its Loveliest Edeka finds lighter side after 2015's notoriously dark spot

It's time for German supermarket chain Edeka's annual Christmas ad. And rather than being super macabre, it's super heartwarming.

Edeka, of course, had the most notoriously dark Christmas ad of 2015, a spot that went viral around the world. But 2016's edition manages to remain relatively straightforward, while still delivering a delightful twist ending.

It opens with—and remains dedicated, for the most part, to—familiar scenes of holiday season bustle and stress. Parents dash around trying to buy gifts, and cook, and clean, and shovel the walk, put on their winter tires, and tend to other tedious business.

All the while, their children wait around, bored out of their minds, wishing someone would play with them, and getting no satisfaction.

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November 21, 2016, 6:27 AM EST

Liberals Build a City-Size Bubble to Hide From Trump's America in Great Fake SNL Ad Wanna get away?

Donald Trump was quick to complain about Saturday's episode of SNL. "It is a totally one-sided, biased show—nothing funny at all," he wrote early Sunday on Twitter.

And sure, it had plenty of Trump bashing, as Alec Baldwin returned as the president-elect and, among other things, Googled "What is ISIS?" But the fake commercial below might have at least put a small smirk on Trump's face, as it mocked progressives by imagining a city-size bubble they could live in—to close themselves off along with all of their "open-minded" friends.

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November 20, 2016, 9:39 AM EST


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