Dr Mumbo

Lonely old men and cute dogs will mess you up every time

Marketers, forget your B-list reality stars, ditch the glitter cannon, and don’t bother with the expensive optical ray tracing software for whatever animated character you’re hoping will smash into the zeitgeist – all your Christmas campaign really needs to cut through to the masses is a lonely old man and a cute dog.

A homemade commercial for a Northern Irish pub has gone viral on TikTok after successfully pulling at the collective heartstrings of the world by highlighting the following universal truths:

a) The inherent kindness of humans.

b) The inherent cruelty of humans.

c) The inherent cuteness of dogs.

d) The ever-increasing odds of experiencing crushing loneliness and societal rejection as you reach your autumn years and slowly, suddenly, shockingly find the leaves of your family tree wilting away.

e) The vital role of pubs as a binding agent for communities and equaliser for people of different classes and age brackets who may not normally converse.

f) The Irishman’s stubborn insistence on drinking pints of Guinness, a black tarry drink with the consistency of pet-grade offal and the aftertaste of warm vomit mixed with pet-grade offal, despite all evidence suggesting they must be aware of all the other alcoholic beverages available to purchase at a similarly commensurate price point – drinks that won’t spray your tastebuds with pure hate.

g) The flat cap is a good and timeless option for the ageing gentleman.

The ad has quickly gone viral, with over a million views (and counting!). Even department store giant and king of the Christmas commercial John Lewis (or whatever intern runs their socials) admits in the video’s comments that this is the Christmas ad of the year (not an exact quote, but you can read between the lines).

While Dr Mumbo’s suspicion bells are currently jingle-jangling like crazy, and there is every chance this isn’t actually a local advert so poorly considered and cheaply shot it was filmed vertically, but instead a sneaky Guinness campaign (this NY Times paid post uses the same W.B. Yeats quote) — I am choosing to ignore all cynicism and instead celebrate this Christmas miracle with a solemn tear, a tickle in the throat, and a pint of warm Guinness slop.

In the end, regardless of its actual origin, this is an amazingly successful campaign that pulls all the right levers.

If the old lonely man, the cute dog, and the warm fireside vibe of this chance encounter between strangers isn’t enough to move your stony heart even a little, than you need a Christmas miracle of your own.

After all, if you cannot spot the Grinch in the room, then it’s probably you.


‘There are no strangers here, only friends you haven’t yet met’ (W. B. Yeats) 💫 Filming & Editing: @aoifeteague1 #christmasad #christmasadvert #christmasadvert2023 #christmasadvert23 #christmasadvertisement #christmas2023 #northernireland #northernirelandtiktok #northernirelandfyp #irishbar #irishpub #christmaspub

♬ People Help the People – Birdy


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.