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By David Ponce de Leon, executive creative director

November 25, 2019 | 4 min read

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.

The Christmas ad. The once a year brand extravaganza meant to break the bank and capture the imaginations of millions of people.

Possibly, the toughest brief in the world.

Picking your favourite Christmas ad of all time is no easy task either. Still, not as hard as making it.

Mine is ‘Justino’, created by Leo Burnett Madrid for Loterias y Apuestas del Estado.

The Christmas Lottery is a Spanish tradition dating back to 1812, followed in many Latin American countries.

‘Justino’ is the story of a night watchman at a mannequin factory and the dayshift workers he never meets but wants to connect with. In his quest to do this, he puts everyone else first and forgets about himself. However, his workmates didn’t.

Story is everything. A lot about ‘the power of storytelling’ has been spoken about in recent times as our industry grapples with automatization through MarTech and AI. And here’s a powerful reason for it: stories are what makes us human. Stories connect Homo Sapiens and are one of our key differentiators as a living species on this planet. Great stories stay with us, are universal, eternal and timeless. ‘Justino’ is one of these stories.

Local insights are best. The best Christmas ads are guided by local cultural insights that can translate universally and ‘Justino’ is no exception. It’s a very Spanish story, from the name and look of the protagonist to the soccer match he plays with his mannequin friends. However, we all have met a ‘Justino’ somewhere. The way the product comes to life, with lottery tickets being shared as individual ‘decimos’ and people coming together to buy a whole ‘billet’ is just spot on. Did you notice the religious icons on the winning ticket?

The craft of Christmas. Christmas is the craftiest season. Tinsel, lights, baubles and decorations come together to make the end of the year feel like no other time. With that in mind, the craft on a Christmas ad needs to be absolutely spectacular to not only match the season but to stand out from the rest. ‘Justino’s craft is absolutely impeccable in every way. From the beautiful Pixar style animation to the gorgeous music composed by Italian master Ludovico Einaudi, no detail was left to chance in this Christmas masterpiece.

Emotion, emotion, emotion. The best Christmas ads make you feel something no ordinary ad can. In fact, the best of the best will take you on a rollercoaster ride of different emotions from start to finish. ‘Justino’ is a journey through wonder, excitement, joy, tenderness, surprise, disappointment and sadness culminating in delight. It’s a magnificent, unique mix that doesn’t limit itself to the usual constructs. Many different heartstrings are pulled skilfully like a flamenco guitar made in heaven. I dare you not to cry.

‘Justino’ became the most awarded ad in the world in 2016 including a Cannes Lions Creative Effectiveness award.

Most importantly, it won the hearts of millions of people around the world.

David Ponce de Leon, executive creative director, Ogilvy 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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