Behind the Idea: Santa has a message for the nation

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If there's one view we got used to pretty quickly here in the UK, it is a certain PM stepping up to the lectern to give us an important announcement. So naturally it was quite interesting to see none other than Santa take his place for a bit.

With Christmas shopping about to start last month, it was imperative for the British Retail Consortium to protect retail workers and make the experience as little stressful as possible for shoppers – especially in this Covid climate. With that in mind, creative agency Five by Five put Santa himself to deliver an important message to the nation, urging everyone to shop early this Christmas.

The quirky campaign made it in print and on radio, and has a lovely tongue-in-cheek tone that made us love it at first sight. For this Behind the Idea, we asked a bunch of questions to Ravi & Andy, creative directors at Five by Five, to learn more about what brought the campaign to life.


What was the brief?

We all know Christmas falls on the same day each year, but us Brits always leave it to the last minute to do our Christmas shopping. Not only does it mean there’s a massive rush and a strain on all those in retail but it also makes for a stressful experience for ourselves and our fellow shoppers. This is only made worse due to Covid-19. So, the British Retail Consortium asked us to create a campaign to encourage Christmas shoppers to shop early!

How did the initial pitch/brainstorming phase go? 

The theme of Christmas is extremely rich visually, and we landed on a few great ways in pretty fast. All putting a nice ‘Shop Early’ twist on the iconic tradition.

Tell us more about the concept. Why was it the right choice? 

Ultimately we wanted to create a clear, simple campaign that avoided both overly comedic or alarmist sentiments - really cutting through to the key message. At the same time the nation has become familiar with Boris stepping up to the lectern and delivering an important message to the nation. 

What was the production process like? What was the biggest challenge?

We wanted this to look perfect, so it was super important we nail two things. One, a believable, trustworthy and iconic Santa. And two, a venue / space that would look and resemble those government briefings. We reached out to Gary Salter (the photographer) and Horton Stephens, and they loved the idea. Andy and myself had a clear vision of what we wanted it to look like and they did a great job of delivering all those elements to make it as good as it could be.

How long did it take from inception to delivery?

Approx 3 weeks!

What do you hope it achieves for the brand?

We’ve had some fantastic feedback from friends, colleagues and industry peeps who have seen the campaign and said they like it. That’s always great. To stand out and have impact is always hard. I guess if anyone sees it and consciously decides to change their shopping behavior and ‘Shop early’, that’s the best compliment for everyone involved. 


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