The Best Early Holiday Ads

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We haven't even hit Thanksgiving--or Black Friday--yet, but we've already seen a spate of ads to ring in the Christmas holidays. Here, a look at some of the best.

What better way to light up the holidays than with your own face? Marmite, DDB London and Grand Visual set up this outdoor installation just outside of Selfridge's in London whereby shoppers could see their own expressions of delight-or disgust- on a big, bright digital banner. Consumers are invited to upload their Marmite "love it" or "hate it" expressions on the brand's Facebook page and are then sent an email with the time in which their faces would appear. Those who can't make it to Regent street can see their Santa faces via a live webcam and an online gallery.

This year, Barclaycard decided to address the holidays on multiple platforms with this fanciful campaign out of BBH London and Dare that sends papa into a bizarro toy story, where the stuffed and plastic ones take over and make the process of choosing a Christmas gift even more confusing. The spot, directed by Chris Palmer of Gorgeous, has multiple interactive components: by tagging it on Shazam, viewers can win various prizes, while an AR app "Toys Unleashed" will let them play with the characters from the campaign. There's also a charity element as well, and all the toys from the spot will be donated to childrens' organizations, while every time someone wins a prize via Shazam, Barclaycard will donate five pounds to Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity.

Nothing like some controversy to bring some jingle to our list of Xmas ads. The pair of U.K. spots below, for grocery stores Asda and Morrisons, respectively, elicited big complaints with consumers and England's advertising watchdog ASA for their stereotypical homemaker portrayal of motherhood. The first, we can understand, but it's hard to argue with the latter, created out of DLKW Lowe, since it makes mom a total superhero when it comes to tackling a turkey.

John Lewis' Christmas ad is starting to become an event we look forward to every year. The retailer kicked things off in 2011 with one of our all-time favorite spots, "The Long Wait," created out of Adam & Eve and directed by Blink's Dougal Wilson, which showed a young boy eagerly anticipating December 25--but not for the reason you'd expect. In 2012 they reunited for another moving love story, this time, between two snow folks who go through a difficult separation right before the holiday.

Our stockings are kind of overstuffed with stunt-based ads created to go viral, but this show that eBay put on in Germany way back in October, was a pretty delightful way to ring in consumers' favorite holiday. The film was created out of Tribal DDB and directed by Ed Sayers of Independent.

French jeweler Cartier has become quite the commercials maven. In March it debuted this opulent short film starring its famous panthers, and now, to herald a potentially profitable season, it debuts this warm and fuzzy film with the famous cats.

Europe, and the U.K., specifically, seem to have cornered the market on great Christmas ads, so far, but this charming spot for Macy's, out of JWT New York and directed by Hungry Man's Hank Perlman brings Hollywood tradition into the department store. With some clever effects work from Framestore, the real Kris Kringle from Miracle on 34th Street joins Macy's all-star family of Martha Stewart, Taylor Swift, Carlos Santana and others. Now if only he could recruit Justin Bieber to join his elf team in the North Pole.

Ogilvy New York also offers up another holiday ad from the U.S., which, happens to be directed by a Brit, Thomas Thomas Films' Kevin Thomas. Here, we don't quite know what's going on as a woman makes ever-so-slight adjustments to the furniture and decor in her home, until that big day finally comes around. If this one played in the same market as Morrisons or Asda, would it draw similar beefs?

And. . . this just in. Goodby, Silverstein & Partners brings a holiday-themed ad that could only happen in the U.S., for the NBA. The spot was directed by Park Pictures' Michael FitzMaurice.

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