Chick-fil-A takes a longer-form approach in its latest animated holiday film centered around Sam, an imaginative and inquisitive girl in the fictional town of Evergreen Hills.
Sam, viewers learn, has the special power of “time sight.” Each scene she sees in a special snow globe leads her to help others, including a woman down the street, her parents and, later, a curmudgeonly old man (cue the tissues).
The prior three films were each two minutes. This year’s “The Snow Globe” runs 7 minutes and 15 seconds. The longer format allows people to “get more invested in the story and in the adventures of the characters,” said Dustin Britt, senior director of entertainment at Chick-fil-A. “By extending the film this year, we are aiming to build affinity and equity with the Stories of Evergreen Hills property and prompt an annual holiday tradition that our guests anticipate and enjoy viewing together each holiday season.”
In the first film, 2019’s “Time Shop,” viewers were introduced to the special clock shop and shopkeeper Sam returns to in this year’s campaign. In 2020, Sam’s hope helped bring electricity and a holiday glow back to her town. Last year, Sam and a friend headed to “The Whoopsery” after a special ornament broke while they were trimming the tree.
This year’s media mix has more emphasis on a digital launch and still includes YouTube, linear, social and cinema, Britt said. (Chick-fil-A posts on Twitter but hasn’t been a paid advertiser on the platform since 2019.) The full film will run primarily on YouTube and in cinema, while 30-second and 15-second trailers were made for linear and social, respectively. The 30-second trailer will debut during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC, including a QR code that sends viewers to watch the full film on Chick-fil-A’s EvergreenHills.com site. A Snapchat lens that goes live on Nov. 21 “prompts people just to smile, and upon doing so a simple act of kindness will be generated to do something small, yet impactful, for a friend,” said Britt.
New this year, restaurant cups and carry-out bags promote the site. Kids’ meal packaging and books will again tie into the film, with Spanish translations available in Puerto Rico for this year’s two books.
Next up, Chick-fil-A plans to create holiday specials and an episodic series to further connect with customers “in an emotional and meaningful way, outside our restaurants,” Britt shared.
Viewers who have followed the series will recognize a slightly older Sam, cats Tick and Tock, Sam’s friend CeCe, her video game-playing brother Zack, her parents and the owner of The Time Shop. As in the chain’s prior films, the story is centered around kindness and isn’t a call to action to head to Chick-fil-A. Even the dinner Sam prepares in one helpful moment isn’t chicken sandwiches, it’s pancakes.
Each year, though, there are tiny details that the brand’s superfans can search for, like a plush cow and an IceDream cone (for the latter, look at the pins on Sam’s backpack in this film). And someone always says “My Pleasure,” the reply Chick-fil-A employees give at the restaurants. Loyalty program members will get messages about such Easter eggs in December, and they will appear in a social media game.
Chick-fil-A handled creative development and distribution extensions for this year’s film, while McCann supported creative testing and research with story concepts. Once again, Psyop did animation production. Others that worked on the project included Robert Miller, original music composition and arrangement; Decibel, mixing and sound design; AKQA, digital experience, design and development; Collective, media strategy and investment; and Jackson Spalding, PR.
Meanwhile, Chick-fil-A isn't the only brand whose holiday campaign centers on a snow globe this year: Amazon's global holiday commercial also revolves around the idea, with a father creating a snow globe experience for his daughter.