High Five: December

December 5, 2013 / High Five

By Alex Reeves

It’s baubles-to-the-wall festive antics for most of these brands.

You know that crazy whirlwind of excitement around advertising that America has around the Super Bowl? We reckon Britain is finally building its own version in the bleak midwinter. Christmas is not only the season for goodwill to all men, it’s now also the season of brands making you all emotional with the lovingly-crafted pieces of film that everyone in the business wants to be making.

Brand: Harvey Nichols
Title: Sorry, I Spent it on Myself
Production Company: Outsider
Director: James Rouse
Production Company Producer: Benjamin Howell
Director of Photography: Alex Melman
Ad Agency: adam&eveDDB
Creatives: Richard Brim, Daniel Fisher
Agency Producer: Victoria Keenan
Editing Company: Work
Editor: Bill Smedley
Music Company: Siren
Sound Company: Factory
Post Production Company: MPC

Harvey Nichols – Sorry, I Spent it on Myself

This idea isn’t in the spirit of Christmas, really. Call us old-fashioned, but we still think ‘tis the season for giving. That doesn’t stop this from being an absolutely bloody brilliant ad though. The perfect antidote to all the usual schmaltz, it confirms two things we already knew to be true – that James Rouse is the reigning king of the comedy commercial and that adam&eveDDB don’t half know how to do yuletide joy.


Brand: John Lewis
Title: The Bear & the Hare
Production Company: Blinkink
Director: Elliot Dear
Production Company Producers: Kev Harwood, Bart Yates, James Stevenson Bretton, Josephine Gallagher
Director of Photography: Toby Howell
Ad Agency: adam&eveDDB
Creative Directors:  Aidan McClure, Laurent Simon
Agency Producer: Anthony Falco
Editing Company: Speade
Editor: Sam Sneade
Sound Company: Factory
Post Production Company: MPC

John Lewis – The Bear & the Hare

If the John Lewis Christmas ad failed to make it into this list, we’d be asking some serious questions. Thankfully, it didn’t disappoint. You’ve almost certainly heard enough commentary on this Disney-esque fable. It even made it onto Newsnight. Of course, the craft is beautiful. People love that it’s hand-animated, even if they don’t know it; it gives the film a nostalgic flavour that works so well this time of year. It’s sure to warm hearts in living rooms across the country.


Brand: mothers2mothers
Title: A World Apart
Production Company: Academy Films
Director: Martin De Thurah
Production Company Producer: Dom Thomas
Director of Photography: Lasse Frank
Ad Agency: BBH
Creative Director: Sir John Hegarty
Creatives: Shelley Smoler, Raphael Basckin
Agency Producer: Michelle Kendrick
Editing Company: Rock Paper Scissors
Editor: Mikkel E. G. Nielsen
Sound Company: GCRS
Post Production Company: The Mill

mothers2mothers – A World Apart

OK, this one’s a bit of a downer for the Christmas party season, but we won’t apologise for going all Bob Geldof on you. The days of impoverished Africans with flies in their eyes are over for the charity ad and this is a brutally effective new approach. Transplanting the issue of access to HIV treatment into a familiar setting hits us like a brick. And rightly so because each day 700 children are still infected with HIV. 90% of these children live in sub-Saharan Africa, and most acquire HIV from their mothers.

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Brand: Sainsbury’s
Title: Christmas in a Day
Production Company: RSA Films
Director: Kevin MacDonald (represented by Rogue Films)
Production Company Producer: Debbie Garvey
Ad Agency: AMV BBDO
Creative Directors: Tony Strong, Michael Durban
Art Director: Colin Jones
Copywriters: Phil Martin, Mike Hannett
Agency Producer: Suzy MacGregor
Editing Company: tenthree
Editor: Billy Mead
Sound Company: Wave
Post Production Company: The Lab

Sainsbury’s – Christmas in a Day

Here’s something new for a brand like Sainsbury’s. Following from Kevin MacDonald’s excellent feature documentary Life in a Day, Christmas in a Day was edited together from the home-video footage of normal people’s Christmases across the UK. It’s thoroughly British, capturing the frustrations and stresses of Christmas as well as the happiness. And, other than the titles at each end, there’s not a mention of the supermarket. The trailers work perfectly as warm, fuzzy Christmas ads, but there’s much more – a quality piece of long-form content that you can watch online for free.


Brand: Tesco
Title: A Family Christmas
Production Company: Tomboy Films
Director: John Crowley
Production Company Producer: Barnaby Spurrier
Director of Photography: Rob Hardy
Ad Agency: Wieden + Kennedy
Creative Directors: Ray Shaughnessy, Dan Norris
Art Director: Dagmar Hoogland
Copywriter: Sophie Bodoh
Agency Producer: James Guy
Editing Company: Final Cut
Editor: Struan Clay
Sound Company: Wave
Post Production Company: MPC

Tesco – A Family Christmas

The guys at Wieden + Kennedy realised that when it comes to Christmas simple is best. So no clever-clogs idea for Tesco – just one family’s Christmas through the years in home videos, artificially aged in post. It will certainly stand out from the rest of the ad break. It has to be said that it’s a pretty similar idea to Sainsbury’s. But they both have their merits. As a commercial, this one brings a lot more film craft.

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