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Behind the windows of this very special Drum adVENT Calendar you’ll find a different member of the creative industry venting their feelings on a Christmas ad, or ads, they love or loathe. Today we're sharing our remaining adVENT's from Yona Hummels and Stef Jongenlen art director and senior copywriter respectively at DDB & Tribal Amsterdam, Fold7's head of planning David Howard, and Beri Cheetham executive creative director at Arc UK.
The 2008 "Get a Mac" campaign for Apple is simple but strong and the Christmas season ads are a definite highlight.
The campaign by TBWA\Media Arts Lab, ran for four years and a total of 66 little Mac and PC dialogue films were made. Especially for the Holiday Season, well-known campaign characters were turned into animated figures of their human representatives.
Their dialogues were still funny and witty but now that they "got to be animated", they also "could do anything".
And they surely enjoyed it.
This campaign proves that anything is possible if you hold on to a great idea and follow the rules of a clear and recognizable message. Apple tackles Christmas spirited advertising in a no-nonsense way, and by no means is it cheesy.
You can watch these ten times and they are still entertaining.
Yona Hummels is an art director at DDB & Tribal Amsterdam. Yona has worked with the agency for the past three years, before joining DDB & Tribal Amsterdam he worked for the likes of JongeHonden | Dutch Young Creatives, FHV BBDO and BBDO NY. Stef Jongenelen is a senior copywriter for DDB & Tribal Amsterdam. Stef joined the agency earlier this year and previously worked as a copywriter at both DDB Amsterdam and fhv BBDO. The agency has worked with the likes of Heineken, McDonalds and Audi.
All I want for Christmas is a decent, no-nonsense ad that celebrates santa, sleigh bells and pressies. That’s why I hanker for the star-splattered ads of Christmas past, when they used to cram dozens of celebs into every ad break.
Tesco brought the Spice Girls back from the dead one year, and then had Des O’Connor crooning away by a roaring fire the next. M&S used Twiggy, Take That and Antonio Banderas. And Morrisons hit the big time by assembling a galaxy of minor stars, pitting TV mini-celebs such as Nick Hancock alongside the likes of Alan Hansen. Christ, they even had Lulu, the discount retailer’s answer to Twiggy.
But this year, Christmas ads have gone all surreal. Out go the celebs, in come the nightmares.
The 2012 Morrisons ad is a bizarre and disturbing fantasy about the hard work facing mums at Christmas time. An exhausted-looking woman fights with an animated headless turkey in an empty wrestling auditorium. “It’s enough to make you an emotional wreck” she whinges. She sits astride a mountain of brussels sprouts. “Who’s idea was it to put a cross in these?” she wonders. A helper opens a kitchen cupboard to reveal a smaller cupboard door, then another, then another to infinity.
This series of scenes looks like something Salvador Dali dredged up from the darkest corners of his sub-conscious rather than an invitation to buy groceries at the local superstore. At the end of the ad, sanity is restored as the woman says: "It's hard work... but it's Christmas and I wouldn't have it any other way."
The Morrisons ad is supposed to show mums all over the country that the retailer understands what they are going through and what a nightmare Christmas can be for those who have to do all the work (women). Just like the Asda ad, it focuses on Christmas as female servitude. Call me old fashioned - call me sexist - but I want chestnuts roasting on an open fire, I want crosses on my sprouts. I’m even willing to do some of the work.
But this is not about me. It is about whether Morrisons can get its mojo back, increase market share and sell more food. We’ll have to wait for the New Year sales update to find out if the Magritte-on-steroids approach has boosted Morrisons’ fortunes. I’m doubtful. But in this weird and unpredictable world, the surrealists might just have the last laugh. Salvador Dali must be going ho-ho-ho in his grave.
David Howard is head of planning at Fold7 where he over sees both planning and the agency's positioning working with clients including Carlsberg and Nike. David joined Fold7 from Johnny Fearless and prior to that held the role of international planning director at Saatchi & Saatchi.
Mum. Empathise with her, and you’ve cracked your Christmas campaign. Insights about wrestling the turkey, painstakingly putting crosses in the sprouts, the slight tinge of disappointment as little Jonny misses out on being a Shepherd – but nonetheless an inconsolable emotional wreck as he judders to the primary school stage dressed as a cardboard giraffe… Christmas. Nailed.
I don’t want to (to be fair I don’t need to) get into a fat suit and dress up as Father Christmas and bind myself to a landmark site in London, but I’m getting a little bored with this. Not the crosses in the sprouts or the fisting of turkeys. No. The assumption this is the duty of mum. I’ve not seen one festive ad that really celebrates the unsung mum of Christmas – dad.
Ok, there’s not many a dad that weeps at the sight of their child playing a cameo role in the school nativity, but I have seen as many dads as I have mums play a lead role in making Christmas feel Christmassy – sprouts ‘n’ all.
Take my brother Alex. Brings home the bacon and cooks it too. Even more so at Christmas. In fact, being a traditional soul, he shuns anything ready made – preferring to lovingly hand peel every root vegetable, cross every sprout and wrestle with the enormous bird. And that’s no mean feat. His wife’s Irish and a nightmare on the Baileys.
I want to see a campaign dedicated to the many Alexs’ out there. The dads who ponder and prepare the Christmas menu for months. The dads who do the double-trolley-shop, feed the family, the extended family and friends of the family- then even do the washing up. The dads who make sure that Christmas Day is just right.
Like how mum would do it.
Beri Cheetham is the executive creative director at Arc UK. Before joining Arc UK in October of this year Beri was creative partner at Billington Cartmell and prior to that held the role of group creative director at Brave. Beri says it became his calling in life to make it to the top as a creative after watching his father working as a planner at FCB and being captivated by a visit to its creative department.
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