25 days of Ausmas: Annie Price, CD, Wunderman Thompson Melbourne on TAC Christmas Accident

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.

I love a heart-warming John Lewis-esque Christmas commercial as much as the next person. But when this challenge was thrown at me, I couldn’t shake the memory of one particular Christmas ad of an entirely different nature. It may be 12 years old, but it’s still burnt into my memory as strongly today as when it was made, which is the sign of something pretty powerful.

It’s the 2007 TAC Christmas spot.

I can’t watch this without chills literally running up and down my spine and my throat choking up. It’s so raw, so upsetting and so impactful.

The incongruous sound of that little girl singing a capella so sweetly against the hard-hitting, life-changing footage just gets me every time.

There’s no advertising trickery, no special effects, just the oh so real depiction of the ramifications of drink driving at the one time of the year where it’s most prevalent.

The moment where the doctor utters the words “the passenger from the other vehicle has died” and the shot of the guy mopping up blood off the floor… they are the two moments that turn me to jelly. It also compels me to think of the emergency workers, the paramedics and hospital staff… (everyone with ‘real jobs’ not in ad land) and what Christmas must be like for them. It works on so many levels.

I had the fortune of working on the TAC account for eight years. I didn’t make this ad (I wish I had!) but there’s been much discussion around the graphic nature of this long-running campaign and whether people had/would become desensitised to it. I guess everything runs its course and it’s a credit to everyone who worked on this work that it sustained so many years. But I would argue that although the format (4 x 3) shows its age and the footage now lacks quality, the message is as relevant today as it was in 2007 and it definitely hasn’t aged. You could run this ad now and it would be as impactful as ever. Now that is truly skilful.

Stay safe this Christmas everyone.

Annie Price, creative director, Wunderman Thompson Melbourne

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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