The loneliness and isolation of older people in retirement homes has been a particular hardship this year in the pandemic, with many not allowing visitors to their vulnerable residents. That's something we haven't yet seen depicted in Christmas ads, but this one, from Austria's Erste Bank, addresses the issue in a tearjerking story of an older man and his caregiver.
For the past two years, the brand has created adorable animal animations for the holidays-- a bumblebee learning to fly, a lonely hedgehog finding love -- but this year, agency Jung von Matt/Donau and Passion Animation Studios duo Kyra & Constantin opted for a human story. It centers on Edgar, an old man struggling with his hearing loss when he arrives at a care home. He can't bond with the other residents and sits alone most of the time, but his caregiver has an idea after finding a photograph of his younger days as a pianist. By the time he's transported back to his past, you'll most likely be sobbing.
"Loneliness and isolation have been the defining themes of this pandemic year," said Martin Radjaby-Rasset, head of group brand management at Erste Group, in a statement. "Unfortunately, that is likely to remain true for most people also during the Christmas season, when we would usually get a chance to be close to our family and friends. We wanted to show what’s possible when people are there for each other and when they believe in themselves and others, especially in these times."
“For our third time producing these very special Christmas films, one of our biggest challenges of the pandemic year was turned into a benefit," added Debbie Crosscup, executive producer at Passion. "We’ve all been working remotely but this has freed us to team up with artists from across the globe who we’ve wanted to work with for years. We built a unique team, with members from Canada to Europe, who have come together to tell this incredible story."
The spot will be broadcast in eleven markets in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as aiming to reach a global audience through social media. Judging by the brand's previous two Christmas films, which have been viewed more than 180 million times, that seems likely.