December to Remember: Team One & Lexus

We’ll continue to fully embrace the rapidly evolving digital landscape, but with a renewed focus on communication on a personal and emotional level.

Team One
Full Service
Los Angeles, United States
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Charlie Stephenson
Associate Creative Director Team One


Give us an overview of the campaign. What is it about and what was your role in the creation?

Since the beginning, the December to Remember campaign has always focused on the “driveway moment” when a person is being surprised with a new Lexus for the holidays. This year, we wanted to explore all the drama and hijinks that take place before the big surprise. Specifically, how a family might work together to try to keep that big red bow from being discovered by their lucky recipient. 

Was the brief for this holiday campaign any different than the usual? What challenges did that present?

Because this was the 20th anniversary of the campaign, we wanted to take an approach that hadn’t been done before. Plus, over the years, other automotive brands have started copying Lexus by placing big red bows onto their models. So, we wanted this campaign to remind viewers that the big red bow always has and still means Lexus.

What inspired you to approach the campaign this way? 

It all started with an observation that during the holidays, just hiding a small gift can sometimes be a challenge. Imagine if that gift is a Lexus with a bright red, four-foot bow. Where do you hide something so attention getting? Which led us to explore all the drama and daring a family might have to undergo in order to hide something so big and visible the days leading up that big driveway reveal. 

What’s a “behind the scenes” story that only you know about?

Well, the snow was fake! As is often the case when you shoot a holiday spot in August. But perhaps more interesting, the actress who played the older daughter in “The Bow Shuffle” – Gracyn Shenyei – plays Young Kate in the CW’s Batwoman series. 

Chris Graves
Chief Creative Officer Team One

Are there any holiday ad tropes that you think should be retired by now?

I’ve got nothing against a nice Holiday trope. In fact, some of the greatest Holiday ads of all time are simply fresh takes on tired tropes. So they may not need to be retired, but they do need to be reborn. Since most of us are neck-deep in the Holiday “spirit” by Thanksgiving, if you’re going to use a trope, make sure to give it a fresh twist. But since you’re asking, I’d be ok if I never saw another elf-on-a-shelf.

What is your favorite holiday campaign of all time?

It’s probably on a lot of people’s lists, but the John Lewis work from the UK always seems to strike the right emotional chord this time of year. Their work is a master class in storytelling and craft - all the qualities you look forward to in a holiday film or campaign. People are incredibly sensitive to advertisers intruding on their Holiday vibes and content that plays to sentimentality can easily come off as sappy - John Lewis walks that line beautifully. 

What can we expect from your agency in 2020?

Optimism. We’ll continue to fully embrace the rapidly evolving digital landscape, but with a renewed focus on communication on a personal and emotional level.

What do you think the advertising industry's New Year’s resolution should be?

Spend less time talking about technology, and more time talking about people. Oh, and try to work out more often.