Holiday Cheers vs. Jeers as Pennsylvania Lottery Remakes 20-Year-Old Christmas Ad

Beloved spot reshot frame for frame

Nothing says happy holidays like killing off a much-loved old commercial and replacing it with something almost identical yet totally different. The Pennsylvania Lottery has updated its "12 Days of Christmas" commercial from 1992, retaining the story line and most of the original audio track, but shooting in high definition with a new cast to give the ad—a local yuletide staple since its debut—a modern look and feel. It's either an unexpected gift or a lump of coal, depending on your point of view. Both versions are equally schlocky (see below), following an ol' codger named Joe one snowy night as he hands out lottery tickets while carolers perform the aforementioned holiday song with modified lyrics extolling the virtues of gambling. How festive. Most fans/detractors point to the coffee-shop guy's overacting on the line "What a great gift!" as the defining moment of both iterations. I heartily agree. (Dude, lay off the eggnog!) In the update, a copy of Newsweek is clearly visible at the newsstand. They might want to edit that out next year. Client marketing director Connie Bloss, who worked at former lottery shop Tierney Communications when the original ad was created, tells the AP: "We meticulously examined each frame to match the outfits, props, location and other small details. We really wanted to get it right." I guess it was easier than starting from scratch.

Old version:

New version:

@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.