French supermarket Intermarche pays tribute to healthcare workers in its holiday ad this year, and although the story isn't about COVID-19, the pandemic clearly underlines the role they have played this year.
The three minute spot, from agency Romance and director Katia Lewkowicz, centers on the family of a stroke patient who spends a long time in hospital, and a dedicated nurse involved in his care. It emphasizes the stress and trauma of the family as they wait for news, including the role of the teenage son who helps his mother through the experience, and the relief all round when the patient recovers. At the end, the medical team is rewarded with a Christmas feast from the family. The spot is set to the song “Jusqu’à mon dernier souffle” ("Until my last breath") by Terrenoire.
According to the creative team, including copywriter Philippe Pinel and art director Julien Rézette, the agency "didn't want to pretend that nothing had happened this year," but with the choice of a stroke patient, it intended to pay homage to the health workers not only for what they are doing this year but for what they always do.
"We wanted to pay tribute to all those who, during these difficult times, have taken care of others this year and still continue to do so," they added in an email to Ad Age. "This includes the health workers, obviously, but also all those who have tried their best to help people who needed it. To us, the character of Enzo (the teenager who takes care of his mother) kind of embodies the acts of solidarity that a lot of people did for each other during this crisis. Furthermore, if sick people were all over the news this year, we’ve noticed that their families (who worry a lot without even being allowed to visit their relatives because of the contagion) have been a little bit forgotten."
The spot is the latest long-form collaboration between Romance and Lewkowicz for Intermarche; other efforts have included a 2017 ad in which kids help Santa to slim down.