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Best Ads of the Week: Apple’s giant shopping bags & Coca-Cola’s Santa Stories

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By Audrey Kemp, LA Reporter

December 20, 2023 | 11 min read

This week’s highlights include a charming animated film from Suchard and a heavy metal Christmas sweater from SiriusXM.

suchard ad

Suchard's Christmas spot boasts a Pixar-esque animation style / Credit: Mondelez

Every week, The Drum picks the top global campaigns from our Creative Works. You can submit your new work here.

This week, Ryan Reynolds played Jingle Bells on martini glasses, Busy Philipps channeled Mean Girls and a man got fit watching TikToks.

Aviation American Gin: Gingle Bells by Maximum Effort

Aviation American Gin, the brainchild of Ryan Reynolds, has taken the art of Christmas advertising to new heights – or should we say, new flights? Visitors of New York City’s bustling Times Square are greeted today with a billboard brain teaser, with three mysterious images: a bottle of gin, a seagull and a set of jingling bells. Get it? Gin. Gull. Bells. Alongside the three icons, the billboard displays a QR code that will drive onlookers to Aviation American Gin’s new holiday spot starring Reynolds himself: ‘Gingle Bells.’

In the ad, Reynolds, armed with a cocktail stirrer in hand, taps an array of various martinis to play the classic tune of ‘Jingle Bells.’ However, as the final note approaches, it becomes apparent that he is just a tad flat. Never one to miss an opportunity for a sip of his own creation, Reynolds takes a sip, and like magic, hits the perfect note.

Apple: Wonder Awaits

apple ooh

Apple is turning billboards around the globe into its instantly recognizable white shopping bags. In a festive touch, the gigantic carriers are finished off with a bow on the logo.

The out-of-home activations can be seen in Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Boston, Munich and Paris. Created by Apple’s in-house agency, the ‘Wonder Awaits’ campaign is situated in high-traffic areas in major global cities. The project will also run across social media and in-store for shoppers this holiday season.

Stir: Milf on the Shilf by RQ

Stir, Match Group’s dating app for single parents, is spicing up the holidays with ‘Milf on the Shilf,’ a hot spot starring Busy Philipps, known for her role in the cult classic, Mean Girls and real-life single mom hustle.

Taking a playful cue from the Elf on the Shelf tradition, the ad introduces viewers to the app as ‘Stir, where Milfs meet Dilfs,’ (short for “Dads I’d Like to Falalalala”) to reimagine dating for single parents. Philipp’s costume is also a clear nod to her iconic Winter Talent Show performance in the film. The campaign, created with the ad agency RQ, is informed by consumer insights the team gathered on single parenting, which found that 86% of single parents who used dating apps reported feeling “hopeless, flawed or less than.”

TikTok: It Starts on TikTok by Lucky Generals

TikTok knows that it’s all the different communities, niche or otherwise, that make the platform so intriguing to users. From baking to yoga, running and books, many people are now using TikTok to delve into their interests.

A new campaign from creative agency Lucky Generals for the social app showcases just that. In the debut spot, viewers see one man who is having trouble with his neck. On TikTok, he can find various stretches to help his predicament. This leads him down a rabbit hole of fitness and exercise influencers, spurring him to make some changes to his life.

Coca-Cola: The Santa Stories by WPP Open X, led by VML

For nearly a century, the Coca-Cola Company has employed brilliant marketing, wielding the magic of the rosy-cheeked Ol’ Saint Nick to weave Coke into the very fabric of Christmas. Building on that rich history, the beverage giant has once again channeled the holiday spirit with a campaign that reimagines the jolly man in fresh ways. The brand recently unveiled ‘The Santa Stories,’ a festive anthology comprising two enchanting short films, ‘The Note’ and ‘Ho Ho Heist,’ on Amazon’s Prime Video and Freevee.

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The films boast a star-studded cast and creative team, including Bryce Dallas Howard, who is known for directing The Mandalorian; Steven Caple Jr, who was director and screenwriter of Transformers: Rise of the Beasts; the Academy Award-winning actor Octavia Spencer; the Screen Actors Guild Award winner Scoot McNairy and Star Trek star Colm Meaney.

BBC: A Voice for Nature

Sir David Attenborough has been a voice for nature for decades. Now he wants to inspire others to use theirs. BBC Creative and Planet Earth III has unveiled a new social media initiative to get the British public talking about our planet and become ‘a voice for nature.’

The campaign draws inspiration from Sir David Attenborough’s lifetime of work to engage the public in caring for the natural world. The social videos feature both familiar and unexpected voices recreating Sir David Attenborough's iconic narration over memorable clips from the latest series of Planet Earth III. These include well-known voices like Dua Lipa, Gary Lineker, Ian Wright, Jennifer Saunders, DJ Target and more. This new project will help people understand the challenges facing the planet, boost public awareness, and start conversations about preserving nature for future generations.

Suchard: La Vida Es by Ogilvy Madrid

Suchard, Mondelez International’s nougat brand, has released a short festive spot that has resonated with millions worldwide. Titled ‘La Vida Es,’ which means ‘life is,’ the ad is a snapshot of one family over the years. From births to marriages and festive celebrations, the spot encompasses various milestones.

Created by Ogilvy Madrid, the campaign has had well over 50 million eyeballs across different social media channels like TikTok and Instagram. It adopts a Pixar-style aesthetic, somewhat similar to the 2009 movie Up.

SiriusXM: The Heavy Metal Holiday Sweater by Uncommon Creatibe Studio

Audio entertainment company SiriusXM is bringing the ‘Most Metal Sweater Ever’ to music lovers this holiday season. If you’re sick of hearing Christmas songs on the radio you’re not alone and nobody knows this feeling as much as metalheads. Among all the chirpy festive hits blaring in stores and on the TV, rockers around the world are holding their heads in their hands. Nobody spares a thought for how they feel.

Except for SiriusXM, that is. The broadcaster believes that nobody should have to give up the music they love for the holiday season because obsession knows no holidays. To mark this, ad agency Uncommon has created the most heavy metal festive sweater the world has ever seen to bring fans of the genre closer together.

KFC: Open at Night by Havas Costa Rica, Republica Havas

kfc ads

In a bid to entice late-night fried chicken eaters, KFC has launched a new campaign that showcases its hardworking employees doing something we can all relate to: catching some well-deserved Zs after a long day of clucking around.

The only difference? The new print ads and billboards depict the often overlooked heroes of the after-hours grind – night shift workers – meaning they sleep during the day. Cleverly staged images capture KFC employees, clad in their uniforms, snoozing away from a cozy couch, a dining table and a bed, all bathed in the gentle glow of daylight. The initiative was crafted in collaboration between two agencies: Havas Costa Rica and Republica Havas.

McDonald’s: Loved By All by DDB Group Aotearoa NZ

mcdonald's campaign

Authentic human insight can sometimes be challenging to come by, but for creative director Freddie Coltart and his team, it was genuinely right outside the window. From the DDB Group Aotearoa NZ offices, they began to notice that all kinds of cars were going through the local McDonald’s drive-thru – even top-of-the-range Ferraris. Everyone craves a Maccies now and again, apparently.

To capture this, the team photographed all the vehicles placing their orders and turned it into a fun print campaign, changing the iconic ‘I’m Lovin’ It’ line to ‘Loved By All.’ The campaign consists of three prints that have run in the press during the past month.

Seeking more creative campaigns? Check out our Ad of the Day section and sign up for our Ads of the Week newsletter so you don’t miss a story.

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