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© Álvaro Ibáñez
© Álvaro Ibáñez
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Get The Tissues Out For Spain's 2016 El Gordo Advert

Picture of Tara Jessop
Updated: 16 November 2016
Yes, it’s that time of the year again! As people across the globe prepare for the countdown to Christmas, in Spain nothing marks the launch of the holiday season like the release of the Christmas lottery TV advert. Last year’s animated story captured the hearts of many, but it seems that this year’s ad is about to go viral.

With an estimated three out of every four Spanish adults entering the Christmas lottery each year, and a first prize of some €720 million, it’s easy to see why El Gordo – The Fat One – gets so much attention. Drawn each year on December 22nd, The Sorteo Extraordinario de Navidad, as it is officially called, is believed to be the largest lottery in the world.

Having become something of a Christmas institution in its own right, the launch of the lottery’s TV advert marks the beginning of the Christmas season in Spain. Throughout the years, the adverts aired have been some real hits, but also some incredible flops. In 2013, opera singer Montserrat Caballé featured alongside pop star Raphael in what become one of the most derided El Gordo ads of all times. On the other hand, few in Spain can forget 1998’s ‘Bald Man’ spreading good luck all around him.

Directed by Spanish filmmaker Santiago Zannou, this year’s protagonist is a heart-warming grandmother from Asturias, who mistakenly believes she’s won the lottery. When she starts telling friends and neighbors her good news, they all decide to go along with the story rather than break the truth to her. Celebrations ensue, as everyone from her hairdresser to the local fishermen, and even the police, go along with the story, culminating in a celebratory feast at the local lighthouse. Suffice to say you’ll want to have a box of tissues nearby if you’re of a sensitive disposition.

The advert was released just two days ago, on November 14th, but it’s already going viral, having gathered over three million views on YouTube in 24 hours. This year an additional 16.5 million tickets have been placed on sale, with an expected first prize of €660 million to be distributed between up to ten people.

If tear-jerkers are your thing, then be sure to check out our piece on 11 Christmas adverts that will definitely tug on your heartstrings.