The past decade’s surge of emotional holiday advertising in Britain has led to some notable lower-budget efforts that have gotten lots of attention—such as this 2019 effort from a hardware store in Wales.
Now, it looks like we have the 2023 edition—a touching spot for Charlie’s Bar in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. The ad, made by filmmaker Aoife Teague for less than $1,000, tells the story of an elderly man who visits a cemetery before making his way into town and finding solace at the pub.
The ad has gone viral on multiple social platforms—X, Instagram and Twitter.
The bar included this note with its video: “Christmas can be such a joyful time for some and painfully hard for others. One thing’s for sure—you’ll always receive a warm welcome when you walk through our doors. We will be open on Christmas Day, so if you are alone this festive season, drop in for a chat.”
Notably, the TikTok video drew a response from none other than John Lewis, perhaps the U.K.’s most hallowed holiday advertiser, which wrote in the comments: “We’re not crying, you are.”
The two-minute video stars a Fermanagh local named Martin McManus. The younger couple are also played by locals—Meagan Daley and her partner Alex Middlemass. Missy, the Irish terrier in the spot, is their pet.
“We wanted people to feel something when they watch this video,” bar owner Una Burns told the BBC. “The idea came really from what we have seen over the years in the bar. ... Unfortunately, Christmas isn’t as positive and joyful for some as it is for others, and we probably see that more than others at this time of year.”
Of the response to the ad, she said: “It has completely blown me away. There were so many headlines yesterday saying we’d blown John Lewis out of the water. For us to be even in the same headline as John Lewis is completely overwhelming.”