This Bittersweet Ad Addresses Divorce and Co-Parenting During the Holidays

Supermarket Plus and JWT Amsterdam Were Advised by a Divorce Charity

Published On
Dec 06, 2017

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The past year has seen several advertisers--including Ikea--trade the traditional, 2.4 child happy family beloved of commercials for something that looks more like realistic family life in 2017. Dutch supermarket Plus is the latest to do so in its holiday ad, which features a young girl shuttling between her divorced parents' homes in the run-up to Christmas. As she zips up her bag and travels to her father's apartment, then back to her mom and her new partner's to decorate the tree, you get the idea that this is an arrangement that all are still getting used to.

The story revolves around the very Dutch tradition of "gourmetting," sharing food on one large hotplate, with each guest getting a separate pan for their own portion. The girl celebrates Christmas at her mother's house and shares the "gourmet" meal with her extended family. However, she has left a little gift for her dad back at in his apartment, a little pan of his own. This pan acts as his symbolic invitation to join the meal, and next thing he's ringing at the doorbell of mom's house, to the mother's surprise and to the daughter's obvious delight.

Agency J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam worked on the ad with advice from charitable foundation Villa Pinedo, which specialises in matters of divorce and separation, especially as seen through a child's eye. Directors Ishmael and Basha co-directed the film via Pink Rabbit.

The ad is the first specifically Christmas campaign by a Netherlands supermarket. Bas Korsten, creative partner, J. Walter Thompson Amsterdam, explains in a statement: "In the Netherlands we don't have quite the same canon of Christmas advertising as for example the U.K. or the U.S., but it's on the rise here. With this campaign we wanted to pay homage to the craft you see in the great Christmas ads, by being very careful with our cinematography, choice of music, casting and of course our sensitivity to the emotional subject matter. But then with a slightly different twist by not shying away from some of the more bittersweet feelings at this time of year."