While the dreaded virus has been the star of every show across every screen or channel in every country across the globe, it has pretty much not made it as the star of festive season advertising.
In fact, writes Kelly O’Hanlon in The Conversation, “The approaches to Christmas 2020 in the ads released to date have something in common – they do not say the ‘c’ word or address the pandemic too directly. Instead, they endeavour to raise our spirits with tactful humour while reassuring us that this Christmas can still be great, which is something, of course, the public is desperate to hear.”
Amazon has bucked the trend with its ‘The Show Must Go On’ ballerina ad, the story of a young dancer “whose spirit and tenacity triumphs through the challenges of 2020. All with a little help from her family and community”. Nevertheless, a key Christmas theme of kindness and support and care shines throughout. Bring on the tissues.
Inspired by curiosity
Hendricks Gin, however, in its first TV ad, throws out convention and exhorts us to escape the mundane and allow our curiosity free rein. After being locked down for much of the year, the Hendricks festive season ad breaks free of restrictions to rediscover surprise and wonder.
“Curiosity arises from the desire to venture into the unknown. While restrictions may have limited the degree to which consumers could physically explore, the desire has not diminished. Hendrick’s Gin prides itself in rewarding people with continual delight, surprise and wonder; we are the world’s most unusual gin after all. Our greatest joy has always been to create rich and wondrous experiences, and the new TVC achieves just that – it rewards viewers and consumers for their attention with a truly spectacular and highly detailed animated commercial,” says Hendrick’s Gin South Africa brand manager, Shaun Stemmett.
Creative Director at Tulips and Chimneys, Ree Treweek, says the TVC represents Hendrick’s Gin’s distinctive and delightfully unusual brand world, after escaping the ordinary of everyday life… ‘Curiosity’ tells the story of our lead character, a Hammerhead shark, tediously mopping the floor of an empty ballroom, under the sea. As he mops, the Hammerhead discovers something unusual a cocktail glass shaped hole in the wall….
In a very swift move, Jungle Oats was quick to respond to a typo by consumer journalist, Wendy Knowler. She tweeted “I just typed Jingle Oats by mistake and would that not be a great festive season campaign”. Overnight the brand and their agency, The Brave Group, compiled a catchy jingle and shared it with Knowler… and South Africa.
Upon hearing that someone was looking for a little extra Jungle cheer in their life, the brand team along with their lead agency, The Brave Group, came together to compile a catchy jingle overnight and shared it with Wendy.
The tear jerker
No festive season is complete without a tear-jerker, and Disney sure delivered the goods in 2020. The massive global campaign, ‘From Our Family to Yours’, crossed products, games and publishing.
The animated Christmas tale “tells the story of a grandmother and her granddaughter, and celebrates the festive family traditions and shared experiences that connect generations”. It is being flighted across TV and Digital plus Disney’s own channels in 26 countries in EMEA, as well as Australia, New Zealand, North America and parts of Asia.
It comes complete with its own soundtrack, the song Love is a Compass by Ivor Novello Rising Star nominee, 19-year-old Griff. The campaign is Disney Africa’s largest festive retail campaign to date.
“We are excited to be launching our festive retail campaign with this ad that encapsulates the magic of this time, combining the themes of family and love, with the magic of Disney storytelling,” said Luke Roberts, general manager of consumer products commercialisation for Disney Africa. “ We certainly hope families will be inspired through this universal message to create their own special holiday traditions.”
For sheer exuberance and style, Burberry in the UK tapped into the brand’s cultural and historic traditions, and turned them upside down. With a new version of ’50s classic, Singin’ in the Rain, the ad does personify a “fearless spirit”.
Creatives Megaforce said: “We found the idea for this film digging through Burberry’s history. The founder, Thomas Burberry, created innovative weatherproof clothing that was used by polar explorers, which gave us this idea of a story that saw its characters braving the elements with ease.”
And chief creative officer, Riccardo Tisci, said: “This campaign is about looking forwards, looking to the future – inspired by youth, it brings together a community of different talents and worlds as one. United by passion, commitment and love, this campaign is a celebration of their dreams, of exploring and of always going beyond.”
Coca-Cola has delivered the season’s epic story. The beverage brand secured the services of director Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit, Thor: Ragnarok, What We Do In The Shadows). The Letter is the sweeping story of a father working on an oil rig, determined to ensure his daughter’s letter to Santa gets there, through hell and high waters. Literally.
Walter Susini, SVP of marketing for Coca-Cola Europe, hopes the campaign will promote unity and uplift during such a unique a holiday season, as the world continues to navigate challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s no secret that 2020 has been a difficult year on so many levels,” said Walter Susini, senior VP of Coca-Cola in Europe. “Christmas is traditionally a time when people spend quality time with loved ones. However, given the year we’ve all had, spending dedicated time and being present in the moment with loved ones will be the priority above all else.”
But the best Coca-Cola news for South Africa is that the company has vowed to replenish 15 billion litres of water over the next decade. Its Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN) funds five major projects in South Africa to help restore priority catchment areas by removing thirsty, invasive alien plants, while creating valuable employment opportunities for women, youth and families by supporting water-related projects.
Family and food
Food24.com has launched a fabulous family initiative this festive season. South Africans, like the rest of the world, spent much time in the kitchen baking away the stress of the pandemic, and also supporting thousands of initiatives to help feed the hungry.
Food24 and McCain developed “bespoke technology” to develop a platform that “gives South Africans the opportunity to preserve and rekindle family favourite recipes. The tool enables cooks to upload their own recipes, view and choose from a selection of other recipes, and then have them all printed as a personalised cookbook – made with McCain and delivered to their door”.
“Friends and family gathered around a table or a braai is where we share news, discuss ideas, relate the details of our day. We celebrate over food, we mourn over food, we bond over food. South Africans are a culture that puts immense importance on family and tradition and, with all the restrictions that have been imposed on us, we may find ourselves feeling a little left out and distanced from our loved ones,” said Natalie Wilson, head of Food at New Media.
“This innovative project has been designed to bring technology and print together to create something that truly belongs to the creator and is a unique gift for those looking for something different for their family and loved ones this festive season.” Check it out here.
A shining wine campaign
Just to acknowledge the brave campaign and lifestyle portal launched by the Shine Club Wine. While it unashamedly promotes drinking sweet wine, The Shine Club is also about career, life, lifestyle, love, advice, food, wine, parenting and even has a service offering pre-loved workwear.
The promise? “We work hard to deliver you ah-mazing content that’s just like you: Beautiful, brave, relevant and real. From fun ideas to drink wine with your gyals, to sharing tips on how to live your best life. We are the brand that let’s our fans in on all the secrets. So, open some wine and join our club. Keep scrolling to get to know us.”
That’s some good advice…
The books to read
Time out? Time to read. Even if the books are industry-related.
Willing & Abel: Mike Abel
Legendary ad man, public commentator, and founder of M&C Saatchi Abel, Mike Abel, delivered his book – and a series of chats around the country discussing the state of advertising and the state of politics and business, and how it all goes together. “For me, it was always going to be better to have a small part of something extraordinary than a large part of something ordinary.” Abel’s book, ‘Willing & Abel: Lessons from a decade in crisis’ highlights how advertising and the role it plays in society should go beyond the creation of advertising. Abel’s pithy commentary and unashamed and outspoken criticism of the ‘lost’ Zuma years shows just why it is incumbent on business to speak up and be the change.
Softening the Edge: Mimi Nicklin
Marketing and creative strategist and online radio host of Empathy for Breakfast, Mimi Nicklin, delivers a book on why “empathetic influence” will be this decade’s most important skillset. “With the Covid pandemic ‘accelerating the future, the need for
authentic human connection, and meaningful relationships with colleagues, employees and clients, has never been greater. Empathy, Nicklin believes, is the key to making this happen, a trait of understanding and hope that has the power to not only change our business environments, but to change the shape of our world.” Read it to find out how to tap into this vital skill.
So, For the Record: Behind The Headlines in an Era of State Capture by Anton Harber
Like Abel, Anton Harber looks at the era of state capture, but this time from a journalism perspective. It’s a searing indictment of some of the journalism practices that took place during the Jacob Zuma years. Fake news and fake exposes, coupled with extraordinary investigative journalism by various media groups, working together and separately, Harber’s book is a vital read for anyone working in the media. “In a time when mis- and disinformation is so ubiquitous in the Wild West that is social media, Harber’s book also serves as a timely reminder of how ‘fake news’ planted in mainstream media can be weaponised to fight factional political battles and to get rid of people who stood in the way of the state capturers,” Raymond Joseph wrote in his review published by Moneyweb. “This is where Harber, one of South Africa’s foremost journalists and muckrakers – a label any good investigative journalist wears with pride – has focused his attention. It is a story of how malleable media, in pursuit of scoops, were played in order to lay the ground for the capture of key state institutions, like SARS and South Africa’s prosecuting authority and the police and the intelligence services. But it has come at great cost to the people who were the subject of their reporting, leaked wrecked lives and ruined careers in their wake.”
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