On a snowy December morning outside of Terminal One of Gatwick Airport, Santa was seen clambering up and down an escalator without a reindeer close by.
It was, of course, for a shoot for an ad that was recently dreamed up by the VCCP creative team and quickly turned around into production. And while most Christmas campaigns are conceived a year in advance and shooting planned and completed during the summer months, EasyJet decided to take on the last minute concept.
In fact, its Christmas campaign was still in the works exactly two weeks before the festive day itself.
The spot sees Father Christmas ready himself to become 'Captain Santa' and board his vessel (an aeroplane). He makes it through security to his flight while the cabin crew cast are mistaken for EasyJet employees and questioned about the cancelled and delayed flights due to the snowy weather.
The campaign featured a real mix of actors and families, meaning only a few people knew what was happening. Santa was kept away from the children at first to ensure their reactions from the children when he emerges from the cockpit were genuine
Talking on location to The Drum, VCCP's creative director, John Cherry, explained: “There is a lot of genuine families and kids here from EasyJet staff and the staff as well. Obviously we had to give the big man a call, and he had to slim down to get in and out of the pilot seat because he is a big jolly fellow.”
Maxine Denton, a producer at VCCP Kin working on the EasyJet campaign described the reaction as “exactly the response we were going for".
One reaction the team didn’t expect was the floods of tears one little girl burst into when she thought that Santa didn’t want to give her a present. Thankfully, the bearded fellow did head over and give her the gift of an EasyJet plane and a cuddle, quickly calming her down and putting a smile back on her face.
Originally the script located Santa outside the airstrip to capture him boarding his plane. However with the heavy snow and delays on EasyJet flights, it was soon very clear that this wasn’t going to be possible.
As the filming outside fell through, it soon became apparent that there was going to be more than one problem. The filming in the EasyJet terminal had quickly become filled with long queues at the customer services gate due to the cancellations and the staff were looking uneasy about the cameras, meaning yet another shot had to be reimagined.
Cherry explained how the idea formed one afternoon and just grew: “We didn’t want to leave it until December – it just so happens getting things in the right order takes a bit of time.
"The idea began quite small but ... when we came to [EasyJet] they got as excited as we did. It’s a credit to the the guys who managed to get this sorted really quickly.
“Obviously there is a bit of urgency now. We are mid-December so this will be edited quickly – very quickly – and put out in a few days. It’s all good though.”
Watch The Drum's on-set video report on the campaign shoot for more behind the scenes insights on the EasyJet Christmas advert.