Wake The Town
Gear Seven/Arc Studios/Shift
Contemplative Reptile
  • International Edition
  • USA Edition
  • UK Edition
  • Australian Edition
  • Canadian Edition
  • Irish Edition
  • German Edition
  • French Edition
  • Singapore Edition
  • Spanish edition
  • Polish edition
  • Indian Edition
  • Middle East edition
  • South African Edition

High Five: Paul Mosley's Christmas Celebrations



Rascal’s head of studio gets his 'ho ho ho' on to unwrap the best holiday ads that survive the saccharine and still deliver on storytelling and festive feels

High Five: Paul Mosley's Christmas Celebrations

I had intended being very 'discipline and craft'-focused in my choices and pushing the points I care about in advertising - the right music can be the most powerful thing, craft is a narrative tool, representation still matters - then I started watching old Christmas adverts and got all excited about Quality Street and the Simon Electronic Game. So here’s a (hopefully) enjoyably jumbled selection box of festive hits that I think are Top of the Christmas Pops...

Woolworths - 'Spectacular Christmas'

Agency: Allen, Brady & Marsh (ABM)

In the late '70s / early '80s, Woolworths ran ‘event’ Christmas ads with light entertainment celebrities of the day dressed as elves and circus clowns joyfully singing the festive praises of must-have gift ideas like blank cassettes and car polish. They do the rounds now on Twitter for everyone to have a little laugh at because they are indeed naff and naive etc but - bear with me - they hit the spot for nostalgia. Christmas is all about nostalgia after all: brand awareness, spectacle and memorability. Although there are loads so (certainly in my memory) they do tend to merge into one. I’ve chosen the one with Joe Brown in because I met him once and he was great.

Sainsbury’s x The Royal British Legion - '1914'

Agency: AMV BBDO
Production: Rattling Stick
Director: Ringan Ledwidge
Post: The Mill
Sound: Woodwork Music

I’m not doing a John Lewis ad because you all know them, but this was similarly an ‘event’ campaign informed by that era. Considering how easily it could have been tone-deaf, I think it actually hits all the right emotional notes. Our ECD Andrew ‘Barnsley’ Wood did the VFX work and there's a terrific balance of the epic and the intimate. The visual craft and story telling are unquestionably superb - as you would expect from a Ringan project - and they resonate all the better because the brand also put their money where their mouth is raising thousands of pounds for The Royal British Legion.

Irn Bru - 'A Phenomenal Christmas'

Agency: The Leith Agency
Production & Post: Sherbet Animation x Snowman Enterprises

OK, so a little bit of cynicism is funny at Christmas. This is a terrific parody with no sneering and full respect shown to the source material. The level of skill on display, no corners cut, really makes it. You can easily imagine the cheap, smart arse, unfunny version of this set up so it's especially great they got the original team back and did it justice.

LIDL - 'The Story of Lidl Bear'

Agency: Accenture Song
Production: Hungry Man
Director: David Kerr
Post: Rascal
Sound: Major Tom

It's Christmas, so indulge me, please. Yes, I am totally including this one because it's a Rascal job, but it will now always mean a lot to me. Until this year, I was so immersed in the brand partnerships side that I'd not seen the production ‘front line’ close up for a while. Coming to a start up, where everyone is the front line, it was brilliant and challenging and exciting and fun to suddenly be right back in those conversations about how we can make this the best it can be. It's great efficient story telling, a likeable riff on what could have been an advertising in joke and it looks stunning, sweet and smart without being cynical, a proper Christmas campaign.

Posten - 'When Harry Met Santa'

Agency: POL Oslo
Production: B-Reel Films
Director: Sacarias Kiusalaas
Post: HaymakerFX
Sound: Stockholm Music Gymnasium

This is the reason I decided to do a Christmas themed High Five. Representation matters. I’m an ‘older gay man’ myself these days and I hadn’t properly thought about the ‘who on screen represents me?’ question, perhaps because so many people we see could represent me. This film quietly and tenderly shows believable romantic behaviour in a fantastical setting, with protagonists who are very definitely gay without tokenism. It struck a massive chord, and made me realise what I am used to not seeing. I just blubbed again re-watching it for this, I love everything about it. Merry Christmas High Five and LBB, may Gay Santa bless everyone!

view more - High Five
Sign up to our newsletters and stay up to date with the best work and breaking ad news from around the world.
Rascal, Wed, 21 Dec 2022 12:30:05 GMT