5 holiday brand films share the spirit of the season

Gifts become meaningful in ads from Apple, Pernod Ricard, John Lewis, and more

Apple, Share Your Gifts

Gift-giving takes a creative spin in a delightful three-minute animated tale from Apple about a young girl too insecure to share her passions with the world. She keeps the work she creates locked away in a keepsake box in her room. Then one day, her dog pushes her window open and the wind sends the papers floating out to pedestrians below. Initially horrified to see strangers pick up her work, her fear turns to surprise and joy when she sees they like it. Set to a music track written and performed by a 16-year-old girl, “Come Out and Play” by Billie Eilish, the film beautifully encourages tortured artists to share their gifts. The spot was created by TBWAMedia Arts Lab and Buck animation studio.


Elkjop, To Give More

A common interest in flying connects a young girl with a distant older relative over the holidays in this cinematic, four-minute film from Nordic retailer Elkjop. The ad, created by DDB Nord in Stockholm and directed by Rune Milton, is a touching story of a young girl who gets much more than electronics on Christmas morning. She bonds with a relative she admits she had once been a little afraid of until her discovery of his old plane hidden in a barn leads him to tell her the story of his life as a pilot. He tells her of his days of adventure, war and love, and joy and despair. The film, illustrating the brand message “give more,” is a poignant reminder the season is about more than material gifts.


John Lewis, The Boy and the Piano

British retail chain John Lewis, known for its heartwarming holiday ads, artfully tells the story of the illustrious career of legendary musician Elton John in reverse. The two-and-a-half-minute film, created by adam&eveDDB, opens with the music icon at the piano, playing a note from “Your Song.” The spot then flashes back to scenes throughout his life, from playing stadium concerts to pub gigs and a school recital, all the way to him unwrapping the gift of a lifetime as a boy, a piano. The message? “Some gifts are more than just a gift.”


Erste Group, What Would Christmas be Without Love?

German bank Erste Group tells the story of a lonely hedgehog that finds love on Christmas. In the 90-second animated film from Jung von Matt/Donau, a hedgehog’s spikes literally get in the way of his relationships, keeping him alienated from his community of woodland creatures until his friends come up with a clever solution. They give him a gift of Styrofoam peanuts to cushion his spikes and surround him in a hug. The uplifting film ends with the messages, “believe in love” and “believe in Christmas.”



Ruavieja, We Have to Spend More Time Together

Holiday liquor ads are usually about togetherness, showing a lot of happy people celebrating with lots of shots of clinking glasses and toasts of bubbly. Pernod Ricard’s Ruavieja focuses on togetherness with a sobering look at how much quality time people actually spend with the people they love. A four-and-a-half-minute film created by Leo Burnett in Madrid stresses, We Have to Spend More Time Together. The documentary-style piece interviews friends who don’t see each other very often and predicts how many days and hours they will actually spend together the rest of their life, shockingly little time compared to the years they’ll have spent binging their favorite TV shows or staring at their phones.