Holiday Campaign Interview: Share the Spirit of Christmas

"Much of Christmas doesn’t change for customers from year to year, so the advertising has to."

 

Tom McFarlane
Creative Partner M&C Saatchi
 

In a few words, tell us about your role in the creation of "Share The Spirit of Christmas"

 

It’s Christmas all year round in our world, and as you can imagine, developing a campaign as large as this one requires the support of many people. Realistically, our role at M&C Saatchi/Greenhouse was to identify the strategic territory and then develop a creative articulation that inspires everyone at Woolworths including the in-store team members - as well as our customers of course!
What was the original brief for this campaign?
Christmas is the most important trading period of the year for WW. And with 96% of people celebrating Christmas in some way, it is arguably one of the most important times of year for Australians as well. Our task this year was to make Woolworths the retailer that Australians pick over and over again this festive season because they understand and want to contribute to the spirit of Christmas (and the role that food plays).
What inspired you to approach the campaign this way?
Given so much has been said and written about diversity in Australia, and indeed around the world in 2017, it seemed like an opportune time to remind people about the sheer joy of sharing – which has always been the very essence of the Christmas spirit.
How difficult was it to sell the idea to Woolworths?
This concept was one of several presented to Woolworths. In some, the idea was more singular, that it's all about the food. Others were more people focussed. This concept was chosen for its balance and its understanding of Australians – 18 million of whom visit Woolworths every week.
What was the biggest challenge you faced during the process?
Everyone gets excited by Christmas and the temptation is to create as much material as we can. But this year we made a conscious effort to streamline and to focus on doing fewer, bigger and better things.
What did you learn from the experience?
Much of Christmas doesn’t change for customers from year to year, so the advertising has to. It was important to give it freshness and to focus on positioning Woolworths in a unique and inspiring way that’s true to the brand.
What’s a “behind the scenes” story that only you know about?
We cast 21 actors for the Greek family scene – none of whom knew each other when they arrived at the location for the shoot. By the end of the day they’d all exchanged phone numbers and some are even sharing their real Christmas Day together!
What do you think the advertising industry's New Year’s resolution should be?
Get back to the basics. It’s all about ideas and it always will be. How we disseminate the message, or how we present them in this new (and welcome) world of diversity is important - but connecting people with an idea… by making them laugh, cry or feel something should remain the Holy Grail.
What is your favorite holiday campaign of all time?
An Australian campaign for Aldi which ran about 7 or 8 years ago. Called Surfing Santa, it was a charmingly Australian take on our Southern Hemisphere Christmas – ironically authored by a Spanish creative team!

 


Tom McFarlane
Creative Partner M&C Saatchi