By nature, most Christmas adverts are a tad sentimental. Full of glossy festive cheer, Christmas ads offer us a brief insight into the kind of Christmas Day that only really exists in…well, Christmas adverts.
Harmonious families tuck into bronzed turkey, songs are sung around old pianos, and post-prandial games of charades are played with gay abandon. It is Christmas as an idea, as a fantasy, as a mirage. Perhaps that’s why we seem to like them so much. After all, there’s far less chance of a Brexit-related row followed by six months of inter-familial silence in a John Lewis-inspired fantasy.
Either way, the latest seasonal spot to hit screens takes a different tack. Agency adam&eveDDB has decided to subvert the usual norms of the festive period with a campaign to raise awareness of the International Committee of the Red Cross’ (ICRC) work to reunite missing people with their families across the world.
The two-minute advert, entitled The one gift Santa can’t deliver, aims to highlight the work the ICRC does with children who’ve been separated from wider family units through to conflict, migration or natural disaster. In a statement accompanying the announcement of the advert, the ICRC estimates that it is “currently looking for more than 100,000 people who have been parted from their families by armed conflict or violence.”
Set in a conflict zone, the ad sees a rather haunted looking Father Christmas avoiding the kind of harrowing situations that, for many of us, are beyond comprehension, but for those who the ICRC works with, is just another day on earth.