Concept: Ace Hotel Shop has always been the place we activate our cultural and creative obsessions.
In 2017, we opened a hotel in Chicago, so the Midwest was fresh in our minds. In a subversion of classic, overly-sentimental holiday tropes in Black Friday/Cyber Monday marketing, we decided to make a series of playful, surreal and funny “holiday gifs” very subtly inspired by Home Alone — a Christmas movie set in Chicago and deeply rooted in every 80s and 90s kids’ collective unconscious. We loved the gifs of Ryan John Bush, and we found out his studio was right across the street from ours, so we decided to collaborate.
The gifs did not reference Home Alone dead-on, but rather hinted at some of the visual tropes of the film, conveying sentiments of both holiday mischief and cozy Chicago/midwest winter without wacking you over the head. The visual
moments lived on their own as fun, humorous and thoughtful holiday messaging. All in all, we made six gifs — five for Ace Shop's holiday campaign and e-mail newsletters and one for our holiday card.
1. Product: Atelier Ace x Vans Vault Old Skool.
Concept/Inspiration: We collaborated with Vans for a special limited-edition Vans Vault high top in classic Ace olive, inscribed with "The world is as you are." For the release, we made a gif that references the classic scene in Home Alone where Marv breaks in the window and steps on broken ornaments.
2. Product: Ace Hotel x Tinker Watch.
Concept/Inspiration: We were really excited about our new collaborative watch made by the master orologists at Tinker, featuring scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, Swiss Ronda movement and an Australian leather band. So, naturally, we painted a baby's fingernails red and strapped three to his wrist, near a pile of feathers and a fan. This references the "tar and feather" scene. The watch served a double purpose — we used it to refer to shipping cutoff dates in our email newsletter.
3. Product: wings + horns robe, Recycled polymer candlesticks by James Shaw for London Design Festival and Ace Hotel Bedding:
Concept/Inspiration: One of our favorite scenes in Home Alone is the Christmas macaroni and milk dinner, wherein Kevin Mcallister says grace: "Bless this highly nutritious microwaveable macaroni and cheese dinner and the people who sold it on sale. Amen" We re-appropriated this phrase for our Black Friday mailer, and re-created the iconic tableau on a bed, featuring Ace Hotel pillows, sheets and comforters, plus our famous wings + horns robe and artist-made polymer candlesticks, designed exclusively for Ace Hotel London during London Design Festival.
4. Product: Ace Makeup Towel and Ace Hotel pins
Concept/Inspiration: In Home Alone, Harry's gold tooth features prominently. In this gif, our most surreal, we ran with the gold tooth concept to build a Magritte-like floating tableau where our famous black Makeup Towel magically and alchemically turns teeth to gold. This is the place our Mom's blazer really got some play. Our Ace DTLA pins are on the sleeve.
5. Product: Traveler's Notebook, Cafe Nyleta incense burner, billykirk Change is Good tray, Box Salt and Pepper Grinders by Oscar Diaz for London Design Festival.
A take on the iconic "Rock Around the Clock" party scene from Home Alone, we created a tableau of products within a model train frame.
6. Holiday Card and Hotline
For our holiday card, we deviated from Home Alone and culled inspiration from Miss Cleo, 80s juicer infomercials and the delight of a dial up phone tree. These are all the ingredients necessary for a happy holiday. Give the hotline a spin, we dare you.
Copywriter: Emily Bernstein
Art Director: Allison Kerst
Film/Gif: Ryan John Bush
The challenge was to showcase our Ace Shop products in playful, surreal, visually-compelling ways that also indirectly referenced Home Alone and Chicago winters. We had a small budget, so, after weeks of concepting and mockups, we trolled Goodwills and local prop houses for vintage blenders and plastic lobsters. We made off-brand mac and cheese and enhanced its orange with food coloring. We wore our Mom's old blazer and asked our friend if we could borrow her baby for an hour. Our photographer/gif guy Ryan borrowed his Dad's train set, and we got to work.
After shooting, Ryan tinkered with the still footage and video footage to make the final gifs, which we sent out to our mailing list, one by one.
A visually cohesive holiday shop campaign, utilizing pop colors and Home Alone reference, plus the biggest selling month on Ace Shop in recent memory.
Please contact us directly for links to view our e-mail newsletters featuring our holiday gifs.
Seriously, try the hotline. Hint: there's someone whispering in French.