An Post, Ireland’s national postal service, launched a magical new creative campaign this year to demonstrates the importance of sending love to your nearest and dearest this Christmas.
Taking inspiration from ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’, the campaign features the iconic Tin Man character, who as the age-old story goes, is in need of some love – he is without a heart and goes in search of one.
Developed by creative agency Folk Wunderman Thompson, the spot sees the Tin Man unable to get into the Christmas spirit.
The campaign highlights the joy and connection that can be delivered by sending from the heart and posting a card or parcel this Christmas. To learn more, we spoke to Karl Waters, Creative Partner at Folk Wunderman Thompson
What was the brief?
The brief was simple. It was to encourage people to send love at Christmas, either through letters or parcels. It means more at Christmas when you reach out to a loved one, we needed to communicate this in a memorable way to the public.
How did the initial pitch/brainstorming phase go?
We knew we wanted to create something unique. Christmas campaigns can often take on a similar tone, we couldn’t risk our campaign blending into the rest as this is a crucial time of year for An Post and their business.
We had initial concepts that were more on the humorous side. We all quickly realised that our brief was too emotional to take this tone. We decided we needed to go after emotion. However, we stayed dedicated to creating something unique.
What was the process behind ideating the concept?
We were trying to think of way in to represent love. Was there a way of packaging it up? Was there a suitable metaphor? How could we tell the story in a different way? Conor and Hannah, two of our creatives, came back with the initial script featuring the Tin Man from the old The Wonderful Wizard of Oz book.
The Tin Man doesn’t have a heart, could sending him love change all of that? Our story was built from there. We all agreed we’d found a great metaphor for the idea. And we believed if we developed it in the right way we had an opportunity to create something unique.
What was the production process like?
We worked with director Jesper Erikstam and his production company Social Club in Stockholm. We decided we needed to shoot in Dublin as we had street and pub scenes and it’s pretty tough to replicate Ireland when it comes to those locations. We had an ambitious client team, an ambitious agency team and a relentlessly ambitious director and production team.
A lot of the initial collaboration took place remotely between the various teams. We went through the regular pre-production phase with the added element of creating a specific character that was to play the central role.
What was the biggest challenge during production? How did you overcome it?
We wanted to create our version of Tin Man that was unique, while paying homage to the original book. It was also important that we humanised him somewhat, as we needed to be sure the public emotionally connected with the character.
Our creative director Keith hooked up the project with a studio called Odyssey in his hometown of Limerick. They collaborated with the team to make sure we achieved this. This was crucial, because if the craft wasn’t right, then the ad wasn’t right either.
What is one funny or notable thing that happened during production?
It’s not every day you see a Tin Man walking around the streets of Dublin. So, we were slightly concerned that someone would snap him and share the photo on social media. This would give the game away.
Not that this would have been the end of the world, but we wanted a surprise launch. I did see one popular tweet where the tweeter said there was an An Post Christmas ad shot on her street. She shared a photo of the street scene, but luckily didn’t give the concept away. Our surprise launch was intact.
What’s the main message of this project and why does it matter?
‘Send love from the heart this Christmas’. This message is about encouraging people to reach out to their loved ones at Christmas. To connect with them by writing them a card, sending them a letter or parcel – doing this comes from the heart and means more.
This matters every Christmas – it’s the time of the year to connect with loved ones. The gesture of sending a card is the perfect way to do this.
How long did it take from inception to delivery?
We landed on the script in August and we delivered the spot the first weekend in November. Wider parts of the campaign are still going live right up until Christmas week.
What do you hope it achieves for the brand
I really hope it stops people in their tracks and encourages them to reach out to their loved ones this Christmas. An Post as a brand and organisation are there at Christmas to help people connect with loved ones. It would be brilliant if the public were inspired to do so this through this work.
Credit list for the work?
Agency: Folk Wunderman Thompson
Creative Partner: Karl Waters
Creative Director: Keith Lawlor
Senior Art Director: Conor Swanton
Copywriter: Stephen Kelly/Hannah Brady
Strategic Planning Director: Tara Finnegan
Senior Strategic Planner: Derwin Myers
Business Director: Conor Thompson
Account Manager: Emily Hull
Broadcast Director: Michael Cullen
Social and Content Director: Vivian Huynh
Managing Director: Enda Kelly
Client: An Post
Commercial Marketing Director: Julie Gill
Marketing Communications Lead: Richard Miley
Marketing Communications & Content Lead: Joanne Farnon
Marketing Specialists: Ruth Gill & Amy Kavanagh
Marketing Executive: Brian McCarthy
Director: Jesper Ericstam
Production company: Social Club