Coca-Cola has been persuaded to give Santa a back seat in its Christmas ad this year, and the creative people at DentsuMB in London are telling the story of a young boy, inspired by Santa, who builds a cardboard chimney in his chimney-less apartment block.
As he sets about his task, loads of the residents get on board and we see them all busy as Santa’s elves. The plot twist is that the chimney delivers not presents (or even bottles of Coca-Cola) but an invite to gather for a Christmas feast.
Set to the sound of ‘Chim chim cher-ee’ from Mary Poppins, it ends with the line, “Christmas is magic when you share it.” The very polished ad will run in 90 markets and is directed by Rogue’s Sam Brown.
Santa isn’t sidelined entirely. He will be making personalised video messages in a partnership with Cameo, which organises celebrity greetings.
Manolo Arroyo, global chief marketing officer at The Coca-Cola Company, said: “This is our first Christmas campaign under the new Real Magic brand philosophy for Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola has always believed in the magic of Christmas, and this year our campaign celebrates the real magic of him and connections. With a simple and uplifting message of unity, inclusion and positivity at its heart it aims to remind us that all we need for a magical Christmas is shared moments with community and the ones we love.”
Simon Lloyd, chief creative officer at DenstuMB UK, said: “Magic is all around us, but most of the time we don’t even notice. This story is set in an apartment block in the USA, but it could be anywhere. For most people in the world, living stacked up on top of one another is a reality; so close yet still strangers. But then global pandemic also brought neighbours together like never before. With Christmas cancelled for many last year, this humble holiday story focuses on what matters: community and generosity that connects us in an imperfect world.”
WPP, which won the bulk of the Coca-Cola work this week and set up a new operation, OpenX, to handle it, may well be very worried by the accomplishment of this ad by DentsuMB, which was named only a “complementary” media partner but has created a show-stopping ad for Christmas