Charlie’s Bar in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, unveiled its festive ad on Friday, which shows an elderly man with a sad expression on his face, walking through town alone until he enters the bar and is joined by a couple who sit, drink and talk to him.
When asked about the viral reaction to the ad online, which has racked up more than eight million views on X, formerly Twitter, Una Burns, the manager of Charlie’s Bar, said: “I feel completely overwhelmed to be honest.
“We’re just a small, local pub and we just wanted to provide a Christmas advert that hopefully resonated with people and for us, it became apparent over the years that Christmas can be a really lonely, tough time for some people.
“We see that more than others as on Christmas morning – when we’re open – there are some people coming in with maybe nowhere else to be and need people to speak to.
“We were not expecting the reaction that it’s received – it’s just blown up, and it’s been so lovely to read the comments underneath the posts as well.”
As reported in the Guardian, the add was created using an iPhone and cost £700. Martin McManus (73), who is the star of the ad, is a member of an amateur theatre group.
Ms Burns said that Charlie’s Bar was “more than just a business, it’s part of our family”.
“My dad is the owner and my grandad was the previous owner,” she said.
Many people on social media commented that the bar’s ad was “better” than John Lewis’s festive offering, with others left emotional, including one user who said: “Brilliant … if this doesn’t bring a tear to your eye, you need a heart transplant!”
“People have been comparing it to the John Lewis advert, which we could have never expected – that’s brilliant,” Ms Burns said.
She said the ad was the first proper one the pub had made, but that it may need to become an annual occurrence.
“We were actually talking about 2024 and maybe releasing a Christmas advert then, but we have set the bar really high for that after the reaction this one’s got,” she said.
In a post on TikTok, retailer John Lewis, known for its Christmas ads, commented: “We’re not crying, you are Merry Christmas ❤️” – PA