Amazon Prime Video's holiday ad stars a smiling (snarling) hyena as a man's best friend

Chris Balmond directs brand's first Christmas campaign in Europe created by Spanish agency CYW

Published On
Nov 23, 2021

Editor's Pick

As Amazon Prime Video is busy rolling out its new brand campaign in the U.S., in Europe it has launched a Christmas commercial for the first time. 

It's a heartwarming story of a grumpy zookeeper who bonds with an equally morose hyena, thanks to their mutual love of TV.

See more of  2021's big holiday ads here.

The hyena breaks into a smile after watching a clip from the popular U.K. TV show "Clarkson's Farm." However, it gets laughed at by the other hyenas, so the zookeeper smuggles it home. There, the unlikely pair enjoy the festive season together, visiting the pub, buying a Christmas tree and even going to see Santa—and drawing glares from fearful onlookers wherever they go. It ends with the line "Every smile tells a story" as the pair sit on the sofa together enjoying Amazon Originals film "Coming 2 America."

The spot, which was created by Spanish agency Carmelo Y Willy (CYW), was directed by Chris Balmond of Outsider (who also helmed Guinness' excellent "Welcome Back" spot this year). The Mill was behind the VFX that brought the CGI hyena to life. You can see more about how it was done in the behind-the-scenes film, below.

Set to a cover version of Nat King Cole's "Smile" performed by Joy Crookes, it's an original idea that manages to be both humorous and touching. There's also a nice purpose element; as part of the campaign, Prime Video will donate £100,000 to Pets As Therapy, a U.K. charity that works with volunteers and their therapy pets.