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25 Days of Ausmas: Matt Stoddart, CD, TBWA\Australia on Ikea's Silence the Critics

Every day an advertising creative from Australia and New Zealand will offer their own favourite Christmas campaign from over the years as we celebrate the best work from the festive period the world over and hear their views on what is best in class.

When I was asked to write about my favourite Christmas commercial, it was hard not to immediately think of John Lewis with its incredibly emotive films, year after year. But the Christmas spot that I’m most jealous of right now, is one that I literally saw last week for Ikea.

Without knowing the brief, I imagine it could have been something along the lines of ‘we want a memorable piece of storytelling (John Lewis), that people will want to talk about (John Lewis) and share (John Lewis). But then again it is Ikea, so those crazy Swedes may have actually said something like, ‘give us something that people wouldn’t expect’. If that was the case they absolutely nailed it. Can you say ‘crazy Swedes’…?

I find when I watch something as unique as this, my brain gets distracted about 20 seconds in and I start to visualise what the presentation to the client must have been like. Was it explained as a scenario? Or did they write the full script and lyrics? I’m pretty sure it was the latter. I like to imagine the synopsis though, “so basically a family’s apartment is a bit of a mess, it needs an update to the styling, so we’ll have ornaments with faces, and a selection of toys, that are all lip-syncing a D Double E song (I had to look that up) to the family, criticising what they see. But luckily Ikea saves the day with everything they need to give it a fresh update, just in time for Christmas guests.”

No matter how they presented the idea, it’s at this point that I’d like to applaud the marketing team at Ikea, and the agency - Mother. The relationship, and more so the trust, they must have built to produce something as brave and unique as this spot is absolutely commendable. For me, it absolutely blows this year’s John Lewis spot out of the water. I feel like I can say that given all the props I gave them earlier. The dragon was very cute though.

From an Australian consumer point of view, I feel this spot might potentially be less well loved, only because I feel our culture would be more sensitive to the idea of a family’s home being so harshly critiqued. Grime is also a music genre that is less familiar in Australia so that in itself could immediately feel quite jarring for some people. Whereas in the UK, I don’t think people would be thinking twice about either of those aspects because it’s uniquely relevant to their culture.

As a creative, it’s quite masked for me because I’m drawn into the 2000’s throwback to the Grime genre (I say that like I know it, I also had to look that up), and also the incredible level of craft and detail that went into the animation.

I really hope to see more Christmas commercials with an executional tone as fresh as this in the coming weeks.

Matt Stoddart, creative director, TBWA\Australia

Check out the latest holiday ads from Australia and New Zealand here, and keep an eye on The Drum's ongoing Christmas coverage.

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