Macy’s Gives Us A Gift Of An Ad


Hey, Santa


Macy’s is one of the most reliable names in American Christmas advertising. The department store chain has fully embraced the mixture of sentiment, storytelling and seasonal magic that defines a great Christmas ad, and we’re used to seeing it high on the lists of best Xmas commercials.

It looks like 2023 will be no exception. We’re only a couple of weeks into the Holiday advertising season, but right now it’s Macy’s ad that’s leading the Christmas countdown. The brand and agency BBDO New York have crafted a beautiful bit of festive storytelling, which uses the tale of one small boy’s search through a Macy’s store to showcase the brands’ impressive seasonal range.

At the end of the ad the boy visits Santa’s Grotto and we learn the point of his quest – he’s been looking for the perfect gift for Santa himself: the ad ends as his proud parents look on.

It’s a sweet ad with an old-timey vibe to it thanks to a doo-wop Christmas classic from The Moonglows. Macy’s and Santa go way back – the iconic 1947 Christmas movie Miracle On 34th Street was filmed in the brand’s real New York store, and established Macy’s Santa’s Grotto as the definitive article. When the brand dips back into that heritage for a Christmas ad, it’s no surprise it outperforms competitors.

But Macy’s isn’t the only brand looking back to festive traditions this year – we’re seeing a whole lot of St.Nick in 2023, from Coca-Cola’s world of Santas to CapitalOne reimagining John Travolta as Kris Kringle in their Saturday Night Fever pastiche. It’s shaping up to be a festive season where traditional iconography taps into audience emotions particularly well, and Macy’s is riding that wave.

In the end, though, the ad is on top of the tree right now because it’s so well executed, carried along by a superb central performance by our present buying hero. The scene where he raises his hand to his face so he can’t be distracted by the toy department is adorable and funny: it also underlines what the ad does so cleverly, showing off every section of Macy’s on the way to that rendezvous with Santa. A strong central character is one of the keys to attracting right-brained, broad-beam attention with your ad – Macy’s and BBDO understand that perfectly, and it’s why their commercial is a 5-Star holiday treat.

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