Going to grandma and grandpa’s house for the holidays is a tradition that many Americans have become accustomed to, with their old VCR tapes and lack of internet invoking a sense of nostalgia that many adults have likely come to appreciate in today's technology-obsessed world. But for today's constantly-connected teens, the thought of even going a mere few hours without access to Snapchat or Netflix can seem like a living nightmare.
Comcast’s Xfinity is tapping into that insight in its latest spot, which according to Comcast’s vice president of brand marketing Todd Arata, is the brand’s first large-scale holiday campaign. Created by 72andSunny New York and set to the song “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, the two-minute spot tells the story of a teenager named Paige who takes to Twitter to complain about the fact that she’ll have to spend Christmas at her grandparents’ house, where there’s no wi-fi or streaming.
“Off to Grandmas. Off the grid. #Prayforme,” she tweets. After her grandparents stumble upon her Twitter feed and see her not-so-complimentary tweets, they decide to call Xfinity to install wi-fi and Xfinity’s X1 TV platform (which recently added Netflix) before their granddaughter’s arrival.
Paige’s spirits are quickly lifted when she walks into her grandma’s house and sees her grandpa playing with Xfinity’s voice remote. After spending the day watching movies on-demand and teaching her grandma how to use Snapchat filters, Paige posts an old photo of her grandma on Instagram and tweets that she’s had the “#BestHolidayEver.”
According to Bryan Rowles, partner and executive creative director at 72andSunny New York, the inspiration for the film came from tweets that were “written by grandkids lamenting the technological black hole that is grandma’s house during the holidays.”
“Instead of leading with the ‘everything’s perfect during the holidays’ sentiment, we tried to be honest and [show the] real tension we all have felt during the holidays. And let that guide the story,” he said.
Instead of touting the functional aspects of Xfinity’s products, Rowles said that the agency sought to highlight the emotional benefits that the brand’s technology can bring to the home.
“For many people the holidays are an enjoyable yet stressful time full of unique personalities, family quirks and generation gaps,” he said. “Having modern entertainment and internet options gives everyone in the family something to bond over and can make spending time together even more awesome than we imagine.”
Arata said that Xfinity is hoping the campaign will resonate with families by showing them how the brand's entertainment technology can actually help bridge gaps between generations instead of further dividing them.
“This time is special and it’s probably the one time of the year where multi-generations come together,” he said. “In today’s world, it’s hard to break through. I hope that our brand is able to strike a chord during this period of time.”
Arata said that the spot will air during times when "consumers as a whole will be gathering," like the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade later this month and the live musical "Hairspray" on NBC in December.