Pringles pops open the festive season with footie mashup | #BehindTheIdea

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This year Pringle launched a campaign which combined two things that are set to be on many people’s minds this December – Christmas and football.

Created by Grey London, the TVC is set to a Pringles take of ‘Carol of the Bells’ and celebrates a collision of football and festivities – from a snowman’s head hitting the back of the net, to football baubles and Santa holding an air horn.

Pringles has also announced that its popular Christmas can designs have returned. This is the first time the brand has released its limited-edition cans with its new-look Mr P.

The limited-edition cans feature snowmen, penguins, Santa and elves, are in stores now, but Pringles fans better be quick, as there is only a limited amount per design hitting the shelves. 

To learn more about the campaign and the story behind the TV spot, we spoke to Christopher Lapham & Aaron McGurk, Global Creative Directors at Grey.

What was the brief?

The brief was to create an advert that put Pringles at the heart of celebrations this Christmas. Oh, and do something that stands out from all the other clutter.

How did the initial pitch/brainstorming phase go?

It took a few rounds of ideas until we landed on this one. We saw a lot of great ideas get hacked down and disappear down the tunnel on stretchers. But this one rose up and got us the goal, like a desperate, leaping, Harry Maguire.

Originally this idea was to rename Christmas ‘Footchristballmas’ and try to promote this new name, but that got lost along the way due to translation issues. But the mash-up of football and Christmas stayed. We also knew that whatever we did we were going to do something fun and attention grabbing, as is the way of Pringles and as far away from all the other ‘Make you cry at xmas’ brands as possible.

What was the process behind ideating the concept?


The process was the usual. Once the team had come up with the concept of ‘celebration overload’, the client bought in to it, and then we went to town on creating as many mad mash ups as possible to get to the best ones. However, the success of the idea was in the execution and the craft and it was when we eventually handed it over to the director Noah Harris that it began to really take shape.

Noah had the idea of styling the scenes like vintage xmas cards to then disrupt them with a load of contemporary football madness. Noah gathered illustrators, puppet makers, knitters and animators from all corners of his contact book. This mix of talent brought the whole thing to life.  

What was the production process like?

It was like Christmas had come early for us creatives, apart from the fact that we were working on it during the summer. Because we had the chance to work with a range of different artists that do completely different things from each other.

At one stage we’re developing a cute snowman character that will have its head volleyed into a net. Next, we’re working with knitters knitting jumpers that will animate when rotated and used as a zoetrope. At every turn of the process there was something creatively different to get us excited.

For something so chaotic as this ad, the process was very smooth, starting with mood boards for every scene to discuss and agree with. Then we moved on to the crafting of them. Beautiful xmas scenes and santa’s wearing football tops were painted by artists in traditional methods.

Movie character designers illustrated different snowmen for us to work out the best. And Hollywood puppet makers made us tests of a skeleton puppet coming out of someone’s back. Watercolour, ink, acrylic, wood, string, wool… all were used in the process to make everything you see. It was an art department’s fantasy come true.

Then came the shoot. Two days of football and xmas craziness, with footballers knee sliding, shimmying, volleying and celebrating (all choreographed by one the industries top football trick specialists) combined with snow machines, a dancing puppet and Mexican waving woolly jumpers.

Now that we had everything made and shot it was over to our marvellous editor to try and fit this whole thing into twenty seconds. Unfortunately, some things got cut during this part of the process, but the edit came through relatively unscathed. A Christmas miracle.

The team then inspired another great part of this process: the sound. They came up with the idea of rewriting the ‘Carol of The Bells’ song to be a mash up. They then got a choir to sing the piece which worked perfectly with our visual feast.

It was the cranberry sauce to compliment Noah’s prize turkey… er, maybe ‘turkey’ is the wrong metaphor here. Anyway, the whole process was a stocking full of creative delights that kept giving, without one boring satsuma.

What was the biggest challenge during production? How did you overcome it?


The zoetrope jumpers were probably the trickiest bit to do. But Noah relishes challenges like this and he worked them all out so that after many tests, they worked perfectly. Also, squeezing everything into the tight 20 second spot was like squeezing a rotund hairy man down a chimney. More heave-ho than ho ho. 

What kit/tools/software were used to create the project?

Brains, pencils, paintbrushes, iMac, MacBook, Adobe, After Effects, C4D, Sony Venice, Avid, Houdini, Procreate, iPad, Adobe illustrator, Photoshop, Premiere… and vape. To mention but a few.

What is one funny or notable thing that happened during production?

After making such a glorious Christmas football advert, we discovered that Noah hates football. And isn’t massively into Christmas either.

What’s the main message of this project and why does it matter?

The main message of this film is to embrace the chaos of this unique Christmas and all the different celebrations that will be going on, with a can of Pringles. Because Pringles are a snack made for celebrations.

How long did it take from inception to delivery?

Longer than Ronaldo’s stay at United. It has taken a year and a half.

What do you hope it achieves for the brand?


Mega success and world domination. If not that, then maybe just the takeaway is that Pringles are a fun brand that try to be different from everyone else.


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