The holidays and storytelling go hand in hand.
Last year, we featured the first in what’s become a series of “The Christmas Gift of Longer Video Content” blog posts. These tiny feature films, with their incredible production quality, universal story lines, and minimal sell-sell-sell push, make them fantastic little distractions (and brand builders).
They fly in the face of the pervasive 6-second cut down and all of the stats about diminishing attention spans; the elegance of the storytelling draws untold earned attention and an intently willing (and extensive) audience.
The Brits have been leading the way for years, with John Lewis setting the bar high since 2007. Beyond grocery & retail brands, luxury brands like Burberry and travel brands like Heathrow, have been producing fabulous stories year-over-year.
This year, we’ve asked more of the partners we regularly work with to give us their favourite examples of this seasonal genre. Grab a coffee or egg nog, sit back, and enjoy a sample of the best creative the season has to offer.
Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot
Our colleague at Arrivals & Departures (with whom we partner on clients such as ALC, the Trailer Park Boys, & Stewart McKelvey), President & Chief Strategist, Martin Delaney, provided a lovely BBC One spot for our blog last year – and doubled down this year with Aldi’s Kevin the Carrot.
“When you create a unique, crowd-pleasing and effective idea, it’s best to stick with it. Kevin the Carrot is a cute and charming approach, and it demonstrates why strategy and creative are best when they work together. Aldi UK continues to build on the platform since its successful launch in 2016 - an approach that has helped drive a 15% increase in seasonal sales and attracting a million new customers. “
Executive Creative Director at NATIONAL Public Relations (with whom we partner on clients like DivertNS), Iain Deans, is a thoughtful pragmatist. His choice, hailing from Spain, makes the viewer stop and think about what’s important to them.
“Leo Burnett Madrid made this video. I’d never heard of Ruavieja until I saw it (apparently, it’s a herbal liqueur). To be honest, I kind of hate the gooey sentimental ads we associate with the holidays. But I like this one. It feels authentic and taps into an insight that I think we all struggle with in this age of endless distraction and screens. Even a Grinch like me thinks that maybe #WeHaveToSeeMoreOfEachOther."
iFolor’s Sentimental Statement
Jeff Gaudet, Owner & Managing Director of Hawk Marketing (with whom we partner on clients like Royale) provided a timeless story (which, from my practical side, also needs little/no translation) for iFolor.
“A colleague had passed along this spot from iFolor, a European brand which focuses primarily on documenting the pace of life through printed photos and photo books. For me, it’s a beautiful story about life, love and the power of creativity to deliver a genuine brand story during a period when people cherish it most, throughout the holiday season.”
John Lewis’ Perennial Classic
“Christmas always provides a slew of new creative inspiration from all over the advertising world and choosing one spot from so many is not easy. I chose this 2013 spot from John Lewis, The Bear and the Hare, because of how brilliantly it delivers upon the message that togetherness is really what makes the holiday season so special. We take that time to be with each other regardless of shape, size, colour, and in this case, sleep schedule. The magic of a Christmas commercial is in how it makes you feel.
The spot delivers on execution, too. A beautiful song by Keane "Somewhere Only We Know” (something I've previously tried to license for one of our clients), carefully covered by the talented Lily Allen forms the backbone of a familiar but unique landscape which combines traditional 2D animated characters with stop motion and 3D animation. All together this creates a heartwarming piece suitable for a wide demographic. “
In My Opinion...
My favourite ads this year come from Swiss retailer, Migros. Truly, the teddy from last year is my most-loved, previously-unseen piece of creative. The art director is charming (with the intentionally rudimentary stop motion of the bear) and the concept of staying in love and staying true to yourself is presented so tenderly.
This year, they’ve sent “Finn” (the wee character that produces the ‘beep’ that comes from a cash register check-out) into the great big world to find his parents at a different Migros store.
The Migros ads seamlessly tie the brand promise within the story. Unlike some spots that become a bit cringe-worthy with the forced end-slate product shot, tied to an overly-intentioned sappiness (like Glade’s 2016 ad), Migros’ ads’ easy brand connection is much less abrupt. The ads bring imagination to the shopping experience and provide some hints about what you can expect of the service and tone of a Migros store.
And in conclusion...
We must never forget that strategically sound and beautifully produced creative is essential to results. This Christmas season shows how brave clients working with talented agencies can encourage people to voluntarily seek out advertising (rather than urgently waiting for 6-seconds to elapse so that they can skip the message).
Hope you enjoyed this year’s selection. May 2019 bring more exquisite storytelling all year long. Happy Christmas to all.