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Behind the Scenes of ANZ’s Best Christmas Work


LBB’s Delmar Terblanche reflects on the work that made 2022’s Christmas, well, Christmas, and asks its leaders how they put their pieces together.

Behind the Scenes of ANZ’s Best Christmas Work

As always, Christmas has brought a host of seasonal, celebratory work with it, and LBB is here to sift through the lot, and showcase the best.

It’s been a crowded field, with works from The Monkeys, M&C Saatchi, Thinkerbell, and Clemenger BBDO, among others, filling up the stockings of adland.

We spoke to the minds behind four of our favourite works, but before we get there, let’s shortlist the runners up, and celebrate the creativity that “the most wonderful time of the year” brings forth.


The Monkeys

Two contenders from The Monkeys this year - one funny, and one touching. The former features Santa reluctantly letting an entire sedan sit on his lap, while the latter celebrates the role Australia Post plays in making the season feel real to all Aussies, separated as they may be by the continent’s vast distances. It encourages us, simply, to “spread the Merry”.


CHEP’s work for Michael Hill Jeweller continued the brand’s emphasis on storytelling in its campaigns, and built on the story of first love between ‘Archie’ and ‘Alice’, who featured in the brand’s 2021 Christmas campaign - independently nominated by Cubery as one of the most effective Christmas campaigns of the year.


This piece by Host/Havas for Stockland was intended to help “alleviate the various pressures households can feel in the lead up to the festive season.” It used a humorous take on the poem “The Night Before Christmas” to highlight just what those pressures were, and how Stockland could help out.


This piece from BMF, on the other hand, celebrates a shop where there’s always more than enough - and on a budget too! Their ad for AlDI is a reminder that a great festive season doesn’t need an equally huge price tag.

Our Favourites

We loved all the great work delivered this season, but these ads wormed their way into our minds (and our hearts) just that little bit more. 


First up, this charming celebration of Christmas’s “unsung heroes” from Howatson+Company. Richard Shaw, executive creative director explained just how they brought this touching work to life for TK Maxx

LBB> Where did the first idea for the piece come from?

Richard> Seems obvious to say, but from the creative team behind the work, Katy & Elly. They took the brief and dropped this idea. It felt instantly funny and fresh — a family so obsessed with an uncle’s Christmas gifts he’s replaced Santa in their hearts. What’s even better, there’s nothing frivolous about the insight, it’s bang on what the brand enables — being able to buy better gifts, because they sell big brands at small prices. The idea was the perfect Christmas gift, delivered in August.   

LBB> How do you make sure a Christmas piece stands out in a crowded field?

Richard> Being English, I love the heritage of Christmas ads. It’s the British advertising version of the SuperBowl, go big or go home. Standing out globally we’re lucky, as Australia has a unique take on Christmas. It’s hot here. We often eat prawns rather than sweating over a roast bird (my parents in England get a Cockrill, as its smaller than a Turkey.) But, weather, traditions and what my parents eat are just window dressing.

To stand out at Christmas requires the exact same things we need to stand out in any piece of communication no matter the month. What’s the insight about the brand, product or service that’ll mean something to people? And then how do we communicate that narrative in a time, place and way that makes people pay attention and care about what we’re saying.

M&C Saatchi

M&C Saatchi created the season’s very own superhero in the form of “Santa Hands”, a little boy with the merriest-ever Midas touch. Brendan Donnelly, creative director at the agency, told us the story behind the ad’s creation.

LBB> Where did the idea first come from?

Brendan> Our brief was two-part, to demonstrate that Christmas is an entire season and take the pressure off Christmas day and secondly deliver a film that brings some Christmas joy and magic to life after another year that has been somewhat tough on Aussie families. From this, the idea of Santa hands was born, a kid that brings the magic of Christmas to life every day of the year even if it becomes a bit of a burden at times. Santa Hands, AKA Noel, is just a regular kid except he has this gift that he can turn things ‘Christmassy’, so of course, everyone in town is always looking for that magic touch. The story is a simple reminder that we can all create a little magic for our family and loved ones at Christmas.

LBB> How did you make the piece stand out in a crowded field?

Brendan> There are so many great Christmas commercials each year some of which touch the heart while others are over-the-top comedy and celebration. So for BIG W we decided Christmas is a time for storytelling, it was important for us to deliver a fresh Christmas story with a good mix of charm and humour and then craft it with just the right amount of special effects, and importantly, make it feel Australian.

The creative team that brought this idea to life are Nicole Conway, Tim Batterman, and director Fiona McGee. CCO Cam Blackley and ECD Avish Gordhan.


Next up, this piece from Thinkerbell, which celebrates the founder of Dan Murphy’s. It’s a simple, classical piece of storytelling - the latest in a long line. We spoke to Thinkerbell’s founder (and chief thinker) Adam Ferrier about putting it together.

LBB> Where did the first idea for the piece come from?

Adam> This piece of work is the latest chapter in a series of ads celebrating the founder of Dan Murphy’s. He set the vision for the brand, and probably had a pretty pointed view on Christmas too, which is what we've tried to channel in this latest ad. 

LBB> How do you make sure a Christmas piece stands out in a crowded field?

Adam> As always, we focus on the brand, and ensure we are being true to the brand first.  If you're advertising something people want, then cut-through is much much easier.

Clemenger BBDO

The best slogan we heard all season was “Grab Christmas by the Baubels”. It was part of an extended campaign for Myer which also, earlier this year, encouraged Aussies to embrace the chaos of Christmas and ‘Let the Season be the Reason’.  We spoke to Jim Curtis, national chief creative officer at Clemenger BBDO about this unorthodox delight.

LBB> Where did the first idea for the piece come from?

Jim> Every year at Christmas time, the Salvation Army conducts a survey measuring the festive spirit of Australians. Between 2020 and 2021, their survey showed that our enthusiasm for the big event had taken a trampling.

When the Myer Christmas brief landed, we knew we were staring down the barrel of another tough year. Between major conflicts and climate catastrophes, 2022 was not off to a promising start. 

The Season is the Reason came from a desire to leverage the antidote that Christmas can be to whatever bad stuff is going on. It’s the best reason we have to bring energy and excitement into our hearts and lives. We wanted to help make this Christmas the one everyone deserved - encouraging them to go all out, let their hearts overrule their heads and get their festive spirit back.

LBB> How do you make sure a Christmas piece stands out in a crowded field?

Jim> There’s obviously no formula, but this year we opted for a combination of insight and irreverence. The Season is the Reason takes relatable Christmas truths and injects the unexpected and exaggerated into them. The campaign was all about encouraging people to go over-the-top in their festivities, so the campaign had to live by the same rules. Enormous billboards told people to “Grab Christmas by the baubles”, our film transformed a relatable Christmas Eve moment into something surprising and joyous, and our design system brought modernity and playfulness to traditional Christmas symbols and colours. 

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LBB Editorial, Wed, 21 Dec 2022 07:20:17 GMT