Give us an overview of the campaign, what is it about and what was your role in the creation?
New Santa is a classic transformation story with a twist. Instead of the nerdy high school kid or the underdog boxer going through the transformation, we casted Santa Claus. He gets inspired by the new Audi RS 5 Sportback and over the course of a year reinvents himself through hard work and the help of those around him.
As creative director, my role was to guide the story to be as human and relatable as possible. People are used to seeing Santa as a fantastical being, but we wanted him to be relatable, to have sore knees, and to stumble every now and then.
Was the brief for this holiday campaign any different that than the usual? What challenges did that present?
The brief started with a question. “What happens when people get selfish around the holidays?” The goal was to look at giving and receiving from a fresh perspective and try to win the holidays by coming at it differently.
What inspired you to approach the campaign this way?
The reality of the holiday season is that joy and tradition are woven together between bouts of self-reflection. Each and every person will have a moment where he/she looks back at the year and compares it with the year he/she wanted. Sometimes this happens while sitting with your family during Christmas or Hanukah, sometimes while alone at the office. But each of us uses the holidays as a yard stick to our own progress. The fact that Santa would have some of these same moments just felt right.
What’s a “behind the scenes” story that only you know about?All the outdoor running scenes that happen at the ice lake were actually shot on a farmers field about 20 miles from the center of Prague. The morning we showed up to start blowing snow, we discovered that the farmer was burning all his molding hay bales just off camera. Imagine a massive pyramid of dense dark grass with flames and smoke so high we could see it from miles away. That was a fun discovery.
Are there any holiday ad tropes that you think should be retired by now?
Kill the car bow. How many times do we have to see a car with a big red bow on top before we stop trying to replicate that image?
What is your favorite holiday campaign of all time?
I think it may be a tie between the John Lewis #BustertheBoxer spot and the Curry PC holiday spot “Jigsaw” starring Jeff Goldblum. There are plenty of good ideas that have come to life for the holidays, but I still watch these two with envy.
What can we expect from your agency in 2019?
Content, not ads. Short, long, still, text-only, interactive, whatever it ends up being, we are making stories people actually choose to be a part of.
What do you think the advertising industry's New Year’s resolution should be?
Be open to our own transformation. From internal agencies to changing platforms, the space we fill morphs every day. We need to stop waiting for it to change us and get ahead of the curve.