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25 days of Ausmas: Julian Schreiber, Special Group on Apple's Misunderstood

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 someone asks you to declare what your favourite Christmas ad is ever, it is no small ask. The ad historian in me wants to go straight to John Lewis with all those sweet sentiments, but I’ve got to be in the zone to get absorbed in a John Lewis. Practically eating plum pudding and unwrapping presents for a John Lewis to make my cold dead advertising heart pump even once.

I think they’re beautiful and highly creative, but my Xmas favourite? I want to go there but… Nup. Then there are all the animated films, with the reindeers and the friendless porcupines and even forestless Orangutans. There’s something amazing there too, but for me they don’t do the trick either. No, after the snow settled, and I really, really thought about the Xmas ad that has stayed with me over the years…

I just kept landing on an Apple Xmas ad from 2013. Go to YouTube, look it up. What you’ll see is a kid apparently ignoring all the merriment happening around him because his nose is firmly stuck in his iPhone. Watch in disapproval as he misses snowmen, snow fights and family hugs all because that damn technology is sucking him away from being a part of life…or so we think.

Then it’s slowly revealed that the whole time he was, in fact, using his iPhone to film every little Christmas moment and has been (I would say very sneakily) cutting a poignant film of all the best moments of spending the holidays with his family as a gift to them. Now that is some goddamn advertising ninjutsu right there. One minute I’m happily riding on the ‘Yeah phones are evil little pocket monsters’ train only to be completely derailed without any warning with this shot-on-iPhone film that makes the Christmas this family was having look even better, even more, endearing than it originally appeared. More fun. More heart-warming. You muther@@^%!

I have spent years building a beautifully constructed wall of advertising ice around my heart to prevent me from liking this kind of stuff, but you tricked me into being lulled into a false sense of anti-iPhone righteousness, only to use it to lure me into feeling all the goodness an iPhone can bring to such an intimate Xmas.

But all jokes aside, how clever it is to take the very thing that iPhones are accused of every day – that they isolate us and remove us from human connection and flip it on its head to create more connection and more intimacy, particularly at Xmas. I must bow to you Apple Ninjas.

Julian Schreiber, executive creative director, Special Group

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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