Disney's holiday sequel is a tearjerker about a stepdad

Follow-up to last year's spot is set to original track performed by Gregory Porter

Published On
Nov 04, 2021

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Disney's global holiday ad this year is an emotive tearjerker about a stepdad trying to fit in with his new family, a sequel to last year's viral hit about a Filipino 'lola'. 

According to Disney, last year's spot was a success, with more than 106 million views. In the new film, the granddaughter from last year's ad, Nicole, is all grown up. She now has two children, Max and Ella, and new stepdad Mike has moved into their family home. The ad focuses on a storybook filled with Disney and Pixar characters, which was given to Max by his birth father. 

As Mike tries to bond with the two children over the holiday season (including with a near-disastrous gingerbread house episode), he's eventually able to bring all those stories to life, in the real world. Disney movies including "Moana," "Toy Story," "Spider-Man," "Black Panther," "Star Wars" and "Frozen" are all made reference to in the film.

Once again, the spot is set to a heart-tugging soundtrack, this time an original called by "Love Runs Deeper," performed by Gregory Porter and written by L.A.-based songwriters Parkwild. The track is available for download with 100% of the proceeds between now and the end of the year going to Disney's Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The ad was produced by Disney EMEA’s in-house creative team, led by Angela Affinita, director of brand marketing and creative, who also conceived and oversaw last year's holiday ad. She and her team worked with New Zealand's Flux Animation Studios and story consultants POCC. The film is running across TV and digital plus​ Disney’s own channels in 45 countries across Europe, North America, South America and Asia. Fans will also be able to purchase a Skating Minnie Mouse soft toy and journal inspired by the ad, exclusively from Disney.

“We’re delighted to once again support our long term charity partner Make-A-Wish through our holiday campaign," said Tasia Filippatos, SVP at Disney EMEA, in a statement. "Reading together can be a truly magical experience and our advert celebrates this age-old tradition and the wonder and imagination it inspires. We hope the story will resonate with anyone who has seen the magic ‘lift off the pages’ of a book through the eyes of a child.”