The quintessential Christmas advertisement has become as much a part of the festive ritual as a tree decorated in lights or a wreath hanging on the front door.
Each year without fail, the British public wait with baited breath for the John Lewis commercial to make its debut and more recently, football and other sporting clubs have hopped on the bandwagon, producing their own festive featurettes.
Insider Sport is looking back at past Christmas campaigns produced by football clubs to market the their merchandise stores in the run up to the big day.
‘Seeing is believing’ by Brighton and Hove Albion was one of the first of its kind. The club dipped its toe into the water of festive marketing in 2015, setting the bar for rival clubs to follow suit.
To the tune of ‘You’ve Got a Friend in Me’, a young Seagulls supporter, Billy, appears to imagine his collection of cardboard cutouts of Brighton players have come to life. One morning, he comes downstairs to be greeted by Gordon Greer, sitting on his kitchen sideboard eating a bowl of cereal. His parents on the other hand, refuse to believe in his fantasies and instead see their son talking to inanimate objects.
— Brighton & Hove Albion (@OfficialBHAFC) December 7, 2015
In the car ride on the way to school, he is chatting away to Bobby Zamora in the backseat. However, his mother peers into the rearview mirror and sees him talking to a figurine of the striker strapped in with a seatbelt, dismissing his apparent hallucinations.
Billy is reprimanded for talking to David Stockdale in the classroom, who is helping him with his schoolwork whilst his teacher is speaking, but he simply points to a small cardboard figure of the goalkeeper standing up on the desk next to him, passing the blame.
Later, whilst his parents are decorating the Christmas tree inside the house, Billy is having a kickabout with Kazenga LuaLua in the frost-covered backyard. But when his parents look out of the window, they see a cardboard figurine of the winger in between the goalposts.
He awakes on Christmas morning, clambers out of his Brighton bedsheets and excitedly races downstairs to find the aforementioned players in his lounge, in the flesh this time. Billy’s parents enter the room and their jaws drop in disbelief at the sight before them.
The 2015/16 football season was a memorable one for Seagulls fans. Brighton defied expectations by finishing in third place in the EFL Championship, taking many supporters by surprise, and there appears to be a hidden message intertwined within the video campaign: dreams do come true.
And although the South Coast side narrowly missed out on promotion, suffering heartbreak in the play-offs, they did manage to make it to the promised land of the Premier League the following year!